General Motors today said that thanks to “strong public interest” in the Chevrolet Volt, it will increase production capacity of the four-seat series hybrid car from 30,000 units to 45,000 units in 2012.
The announcement came as U.S. President Barack Obama toured the Detroit-Hamtramck facility, where the Volt is being produced now for sale later this year.
“We are very proud to host the President of the United States at this plant, where the future of the American automobile industry is being built today by the men and women of General Motors,” said Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., the GM Chairman and CEO, who was approved by the Administration and took over as the failed company was emerging from bankruptcy.
U.S. taxpayers invested more than $60 billion in GM to allow it to survive and now own a majority stake in the privately held firm. It is a matter of much debate as to whether taxpayers will get all of their money back, but recent developments, including GM’s return to profitability, means some of the more than $50 billion spent will be returned if a public stock offering is successful.
Earlier this week, Chevrolet dealers began taking customer orders for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, following the release of retail and lease pricing. (See Chevy Volt Electric Vehicle Starts at $41,000, Gulp, about $8,000 More than the Nissan Leaf)
Taxpayers are providing massive subsidies to help overcome the objections of potential buyers for what are now and for the foreseeable future high cost, limited range electric vehicles, including tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle to purchasers, as well a variety of subsidized infrastructure changes. (See Taxpayers to Subsidize EVs and Charging Stations)