Due sluggish sales and a new model on the horizon, General Motors plans to end production of the Chevrolet Volt extended range EV at its plant in Detroit in May.
The car is being replaced by a newer 2016 model later this year and the maker needs to clear out the inventory of the current iteration sitting on dealer lots.
“Halting Chevrolet Volt production in anticipation of the all-new 2016 model year is a smart move for GM, and allows for less inventory and incentives on the outgoing model,” said Akshay Anand, analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “Hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle sales have been declining for some time now, with gas prices well below the summer prices of 2014.
“Sales of the Volt are down nearly 50% for the first quarter this year, as consumers are already anticipating the new 2016 Volt, which has more aggressive styling, more premium interior, and seating for five.”
This is a continuation of a trend that saw the car’s sales fall 18.6% in 2014.
According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, sales of plug-ins (hybrids and pure battery electrics) had been up slightly through the first two months of 2015 compared with year ago figures: 13,114 v. 12,950.
However, the good news ended when March hit. Battery electric sales rose on a year-over-year basis, but plug-in hybrids fell pushing the total number of plug-ins sold through the first quarter to 21,849 compared with 22,122 in 2014. When non-plug-in hybrids are lumped into the equation, the numbers dip significantly on a year-over-year basis to 107,854 units through March this year compared with 123,558 for the same period last year.
(Cadillac to introduce CT6 hybrid at Shanghai show. For more, Click Here.)
The first two months of the year are typically the slowest selling months for EVs and hybrids, but when the long-term cut in the price of gas is figured in, it’s not a surprise Volts haven’t been quick sellers.
(Click Here for details about the new 48 mpg Chevy Malibu hybrid.)
In fact, in the car’s largest market – California – there is a 100-day supply of Volts, which is well above the industry-desired average of 60 days or less.
(To see how automakers are on track to meet the 2025 federal standard, Click Here.)
The fact that the 2016 model, which was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show in January, is a bit more appealing design-wise, plus it’s quicker and goes further on a charge only complicates the proposition for GM.