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Sell-Out or Failure? With Chevy Volt it Depends on How You Count

The real test could come in the months ahead.

by on Aug.03, 2011

A Chevrolet Volt and its most direct competitor, the Nissan Leaf.

This story has been revised to show production and sales forecasts for the Volt and Opel Ampera.

Roughly eight months in from its much-ballyhooed launch, analysts are debating whether the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is a success or failure.  The answer likely depends on how you count the numbers.

The figures certainly weren’t good for July, Chevy selling just 125 of the compact battery cars.  For the year-to-date, that means sales have fallen just short of 3,200.  By comparison, Nissan has so far sold almost 4,500 copies of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, which launched about the same time as Volt.

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Either of those figures, it should be noted, are barely equal to the number of F-Series pickups produced at a single plant in a typical week.  But both Nissan and Chevrolet have warned that demand will take time to build for the new technology.  And both makers sharply constrained production in the early months after launch.