Whether it's 'Monica Missiles' or 'Economic Stimulus Packages' the political misdirection is a tried and true method of shifting the media's attention from something undesirable and toward another issue that's easier to deal with. General Motors is reported to be considering just such an action in the unveiling of its Volt plug-in hybrid car, hoping to draw attention from its layoffs, plant closures and faltering SUV and pickup truck sales.

A report earlier today - later refuted by General Motors - that the company is considering cutting brands other than Hummer from its corporate lineup indicates that whatever the reality of General Motors' situation, the perception of it is not good. Releasing a winning product with a flashy new design and lots of high-tech features could be exactly the right thing for the company, turning the attention of the moment into a feeding frenzy of free press.

On the other hand, rushing the Volt to production-ready status in order to steer public opinion away from its troubled Hummer brand and plummeting profit and production figures could backfire. Like Microsoft demonstrated with its debut of the Vista operating system, just because something is new doesn't mean people will like it - it must also be good, or at least better than what it replaces. Nearly two years and a service pack down the road, Vista has received the embrace of the industry, but General Motors doesn't have the luxury of a monopoly or indefinitely deep pockets to weather the storm that would follow release of an unfinished product.

Nevertheless, GM is believed to be pushing ahead with development, a completed production version expected by early August and its public debut in September to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary, reports Automotive News. GM refused to comment on the timeline, however, only saying that a production version is "getting very close."