DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., after a two-month federal safety investigation cleared its Chevrolet Volt plug-in vehicle of danger, is beginning a marketing effort to tout the car as safe and innovative.
CEO Dan Akerson said in a full-page newspaper advertisement that the company "couldn't be prouder" of the Volt ahead of his testimony at a U.S. hearing today.
The automaker also will start running a television spot that will first appear on News Corp.'s Fox News channel. The Volt is "the most significant step in GM's history to give customers a choice beyond oil" and "a technological 'moon shot,'" Akerson wrote in the advertisement, which ran in 19 daily newspapers today including the New York Times and USA Today.
"The world is learning from Detroit again. And we couldn't be prouder."
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report today calling President Barack Obama's relationship with GM "unnatural" and a possible explanation for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's delay in disclosing a potential safety defect in the Volt.
The panel is probing the response to a June 6 fire in a Volt three weeks after the car was crash-tested.
"I do think there has been collateral damage" to the Volt's image, Akerson told the panel. The television advertisement, which eventually will be shown on outlets other than Fox News, features actor and comedian Tim Allen speaking about the importance of innovation in America as workers assemble Volts on the production line at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck factory, said Rob Peterson, a spokesman.
"It's a message that gets lost in these recent discussions," Peterson said in a phone interview. "What made our country great is innovation, and we believe Volt represents exactly that."
Akerson, 63, testified today at the hearing stemming from the fire and follow-up testing by GM and NHTSA that found battery coolant can leak and catch fire in a simulated rollover crash that punctures the battery compartment. GM, 32 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, and NHTSA disclosed the fire after Bloomberg News reported it in November.
The agency opened a formal investigation later that month and closed it last week, saying electric cars posed no more of a fire risk than gasoline-powered models, after GM announced a fix for current and future Volts, avoiding a formal recall.