September 9th, 2008 by Steve Cypher

Talk about spoiling a surprise. Rumor has it that the recently leaked images of Chevy’s upcoming plug-in hybrid were supposed to be part of General Motors 100th anniversary celebration.

It’s their party and I’ll spy if I want to

I can remember, not that long ago, eagerly anticipating the latest issue of Car and Driver or Motor Trend, hoping to be the first person among my friends to see the spy shots of upcoming cars – any cars. Many of the images were grainy while the cars, themselves, were covered in camouflage. Below the picture was an artist’s “sketch” of how the upcoming model probably looked underneath all the taped-on nylon panels and front and rear body bras. It was all secret-spy stuff that seemed vaguely illegal.

Today, with the advent of digital media, images can be enhanced and the digital “sketches” of new models are every bit as good as the renderings coming from the manufacturers, themselves. Since everything is stored digitally, it’s much easier to transfer information and the transfer can be done almost instantaneously. And while the images are much cleaner and more professional, this process also makes it much easier to share and also harder to keep track of. This is what happened to General Motors yesterday afternoon.

Chevrolet Volt

Somehow, someone, either inside or outside GM, was able to obtain embargoed images of what appears to be the production version of the new Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, complete with members of GM’s brass posing, GQ-like, next to the vehicle.

Chevy Volt

Not surprisingly, the folks at GM, especially the marketing people, are upset about the premature unveiling, since it appears these pictures were (or are) to be part of the General’s big 100th anniversary celebration next week. According to Chevrolet spokesman Terry Rhadigan, it isn’t clear if the photos were released accidentally, or if someone hacked into a GM computer. Said Rhadigan, “we’re investigating.”

 Chevy Volt

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