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Are Volt Sales Unplugged?

Maker needs to charge up demand to meet target.

by on Oct.04, 2011

The Chevy Volt was named North American Car of the Year last January, beating out the Nissan Leaf - and setting in motion a distinct rivalry.

With only one quarter left, sales of the much-balleyhooed Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid are running well short of expectations and lagging the battery cars chief rival, the Nissan Leaf, by a margin that widens every month.

Has the Volt come unplugged or will Chevy be able to make up lost ground with a massive build-up of momentum in the final three months of the year – as company officials insist?

With less than 4,000 sold so far this year and a goal of moving 10,000 Volts for all of 2011, General Motors will need to nearly triple September sales if it’s to hit that target.

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“It’s a little surprising” how low the numbers have been, according to Joe Phillippi, automotive analyst with AutoTrends Consulting, especially in line with the steady growth in demand for the Leaf – which is itself going to need a big bump to hit its own 20,000-unit goal for 2011.

Through the end of September, Nissan sold 7,199 of its pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, with sales last month of 1,031.  Volt sales totaled just 723 in September, with year-to-date volume at 3,895.