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Chevy Volt Sets Sales Record – But Misses Sales Goal

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by on Jan.03, 2013

Gaining access to the carpool lanes has helped drive up Chevrolet Volt sales in California.

Sales of the Chevrolet Volt are expected to post a whopping gain when final figures for 2012 are released today – but despite setting a new sales record for plug-in hybrid technology the Volt still fell short of General Motors’ initial expectations.

Volt sales were up 239% through November to 20,858 and Chevrolet dealers are expected to have delivered at least 1,500 more of the extended-range electric vehicle in December, raising total sales for the year to more than 23,000 in the U.S. That doesn’t include variations of the Volt delivered in Europe or China.

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Despite the gain, Volt sales remain substantially below GM’s expectations. The Detroit maker initially had hoped to sell more than 40,000 Volts in the U.S. alone in 2012 but backed off that estimate several months ago after twice temporarily idling the Chevy plug-in’s assembly line.

In 2011 GM, sold 7,671 Volts undershooting its target of 10,000 units.


GM Temporarily Halting Production of Chevy Volt

But maker insists sales of the plug-in are increasing rapidly.

by on Aug.28, 2012

A Chevrolet Volt moves down the assembly line at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center.

For the second time this year, General Motors will halt production of the Chevrolet Volt for several weeks — but company sources insist the move does not signal problems with the plug-in hybrid which got off to a slow start after its introduction in December 2010.

In fact, GM expects to report that demand has surged to a record for the Volt this month, more than doubling year ago levels. Depending on what happens the rest of this week, August sales could near 2,500, has learned.

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“The sky is not falling,” insisted a well-placed GM source involved in the Volt program. In fact, Dealers across the country have less Volt inventory in stock than that of some other mainstream Chevrolet models.


Chevy Volt Gets Green Light for CA Carpool Lanes

What would sell better: a carpool sticker or a gun rack?

by on Feb.24, 2012

The first carpool-ready Chevy Volts are now rolling into California showrooms.

It’s often the little things that matter – like the little sticker that buyers will now be able to attach to the bumper of the Chevrolet Volt that qualifies the plug-in hybrid to drive in the carpool lane on California highways even when there’s only one person in the vehicle.

Actually, that’s not such a small advantage for a motorist who can shave precious minutes off the daily commute. It’s one reason why the Toyota Prius long did so well in the traffic-choked Golden State – buyers sometimes paying as much as $5,000 more for a used hybrid with one of the limited stickers attached.

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Unfortunately, the first Volts off the assembly line didn’t fall into the so-called P-ZEV – or “partial-zero-emissions vehicle” – category required to get the carpool sticker even though they could drive up to 30 miles or so entirely on battery power. Now, General Motors has corrected that problem and the updated Chevy Volt will not only get to drive solo in the carpool lane – saving an estimated 36 minutes a day in Southern California – but also earn a $1,500 state rebate.


GM Isn’t Giving Up on Volt

But maker unsure of demand.

by on Jan.12, 2012

GM hopes it has quelled concerns about with modifications to be made to the vehicle and its battery cooling system.

General Motors isn’t about to give up on the Chevrolet Volt, top company officials insisted this week, despite the battery-electric vehicle getting off to a slow start.

And they said they do not believe the plug-in hybrid suffered serious long-term damage after reports surfaced of fires following government crash tests of the Volt.

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Only a “handful or two” of Volts were turned in by customers after GM offered to take them back when the flap over the electric car’s safety surfaced last month, following a crash test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to Mary Barra, GM’s vice president of global product development.


GM May Buy Back Chevy Volts from Worried Owners

But despite fire investigation demand for plug-in hybrid rose again in November.

by on Dec.01, 2011

GM CEO Dan Akerson with the Chevy Volt at an early preview. He may have less to celebrate now.

General Motors will buy back a Chevrolet Volt from any owner worried about recent reports of fires following federal crash tests of the plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Nonetheless, demand for the Volt rose again during November, reaching 1,139 for the month and handily outselling its primary rival, the Nissan Leaf. But there appears to be no way that GM will be able to meet its original objective of selling 10,000 Volts this year.

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GM will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of the Chevy battery car, said CEO Dan Akerson during an interview published by the Associated Press, even if that means replacing the current lithium-ion battery pack.  There have been three separate incidents involving the Volt batteries since one caught fire following a May crash test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


GM CEO Insists Chevy Volt is on Target

But plug-in hybrid likely to miss 2011 sales goal.

by on Nov.03, 2011

The Chevy Volt is "hitting its pace," says GM CEO Dan Akerson during a CNBC appearance.

After an agonizingly slow start Chevrolet’s plug-in hybrid, the Volt, is finally showing signs of powering up – October sales jumping 50% over the previous month, though the battery car appears all but certain to miss its ambitious target for 2011.

Despite that shortfall – and the fact that is lagging well behind its primary competitor, the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson contends he is pleased with the progress of the Chevy Volt and insists it is on target for its even more ambitious 2012 sales goal.

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The U.S. giant plans to produce 60,000 Chevrolet Volts next year, with 15,000 of them planned for export and the rest aimed at the U.S. market.

“Everything we’ve seen is this thing has been a home run,” Akerson said during an appearance on the cable network CNBC today, the former telecomm exec adding that GM is already “ramping up production” even though it will struggle to meet its 2011 sales target.


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.


Is Chevy Volt Running Out of Juice?

Study finds potential buyers losing interest in Chevy plug-in.

by on Aug.15, 2011

Is the Chevy Volt driving off into the sunset?

Is the Chevrolet Volt running out of juice?  Even as the maker begins its long-promised production ramp-up, a new study suggests that potential buyers are rapidly losing interest in the plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Introduced last December, Volt is one of the first new vehicles to test the potential market for electric propulsion.  It has been going head-to-head with Nissan’s pure battery-electric Leaf.  Sales of the two vehicles have been marginal, at best, though the makers insist that has more to do with limited supply than buyer demand.

Through the end of July, Chevy has sold about 3,200 of the plug-in hybrids compared to 4,500 Nissan Leafs.  But both makers have begun ramping up production, General Motors forecasting sales of around 16,000 for the year as a whole – including a small number of Volt clone Opel Amperas targeted at markets abroad.

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But a new study by CNW marketing raises a red flag, finding that the potential buyers GM is most counting on are rapidly losing interest in the Volt.  In March, 21% of so-called Early Adapters said they were “very likely” to consider buying a Volt, while 38.1% said they were “likely” to do the same.  That slipped to 14.6% saying “very likely” in July, and 31.1% “likely.”  Among EV Enthusiasts, reports the CNW study, the number of those likely or very likely to consider Volt fell from a combined 71% to 51% during the same four-month period.

“It’s way too early to tell, but the signs aren’t encouraging,” said CNW’s chief analyst Art Spinella.


Chevy Begins Taking Orders for Volt in All 50 States

Price for 2012 model dropped to $39,995.

by on Jun.10, 2011

Chevy begins nationwide sales of the Volt - while also cutting the MSRP of the plug-in by $1,005.

Buyers waiting in places like Georgia and Illinois will now be able to place their orders for a Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid – and get rewarded for their wait with a $1,005 price cut.

After initially introducing the Volt in just eight so-called “launch markets,” General Motors is rolling out its high-tech halo car nationwide, reflecting both its confidence in the technology and the imminent increase in Volt production.

Introduced last December as a 2011 model, early adopters had to shell out $41,000 for the Volt, which Chevy prefers to call an extended-range electric vehicle, or E-REV.  (The distinction reflects the fact that Volt’s small inline-four gas engine is designed to primarily serve as a generator, once the batteries run down.  It only occasionally provides direct torque to help turn the wheels.)

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The new, $39,995 price tag – which includes destination charges – “is possible in part because of a wider range of options and configurations that come with the expansion of Volt production for sale nationally,” according to a GM release.

A source indicates the maker has also been able to drive down the price it is paying for Volt’s 16 kilowatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries, the single most costly part of the vehicle.


Initial Chevy Volt Production to Triple in 2012

Maker reveals dealer plans, other details for upcoming debut.

by on Jul.01, 2010

Not quite coast-to-coast. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt launch will kick off with a 1,766-mile drive from Austin to Detroit, while seven states will now be part of the E-REV's launch.

General Motors expects to produce only about 10,000 of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids by the end of 2011, as it ramps up operations, expands distribution and trains dealers and service technicians, but the maker says it will triple output to 30,000 of the so-called Extended-Range Electric Vehicles, or E-REVs, in 2012.

General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre returned to his home state of Texas, today, to kick off the start of the Volt “Freedom Drive,” a 1,766-mile demonstration trip that will take a Chevy Volt from Austin to New York City.  Those two cities anchor two other regions of the country that GM has decided to add to its list of launch sites when Volt makes its formal entrance into the retail market in November.

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In all, the automaker plans to start with sales in six states – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Michigan and Texas – and Washington, D.C.  Confirming an earlier report in, GM officials also confirmed that a full roll-out of the Volt to all 50 states and Canada could take a little longer than originally planned.

The current goal is to complete that process “within 12 to 18 months,” which could push the end date back into 2012, acknowledged Doug Wernert, the Chevrolet VoltAge Community Manager.