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Chevrolet Volt transmission

Okay, let's preface this post by stating what should be obvious by now: our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that crippled Japan. The toll on human life, which is of the utmost concern in this disaster, remains unknown. However, the impact that the quake has had on automakers across the globe is now becoming evident.

The nuclear crisis in Japan, triggered by the quake and tsunami, might disrupt supply of the Japanese-built transmissions for the Chevrolet Volt. This is according to Mark Reuss president of General Motors. Reuss' words run counter to those of GM spokesman Rob Peterson, who told Inside Line that:
Volt production is currently not impacted by the crisis in Japan. We continue to monitor the situation closely as we do for all GM products.
For the record, the window sticker on the Volt indicates that the car's "electric drive unit" is sourced from Japan and unconfirmed reports indicate that the factory responsible for pumping out this vital part of the Volt's drivetrain apparently shut down sometime after the quake hit.

Click here to donate to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan.

[Source: Inside Line]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 2 Months Ago
      Nobody buys the Volt outside of CA so nobody will notice that the transmissions are in short supply. They sold 280 some Volts in Feb? They aren't exactly selling like hot cakes. There might be enough inventory at the dealerships to last for several months even if no transmissions are delivered from Japan.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Define "nobody". I just check my gas & electric bill, and I have a zip code 070xx. I am pretty sure that's not Cali. In the last month, I've seen 4 different Volts in my neighborhood. Okay, I assume there are 4 different Volts around here, because I've seen 4 different colors, but you never know.
        • 2 Months Ago
        I saw one on the road a few weeks ago in the DC region where I live.

        Based upon other info I've read on this website, the sales are tallied when the vehicles are delivered. The sales figures apparently ignore the waiting list. It appears to be production-limited, but they are selling every one that rolls off the line, from what I can tell.
        ss1591
        • 2 Months Ago
        The Volt's are selling like hot cakes but no one cares to do the math. GM has said for the zillionth time that they are only going to make 10k at most the first year and they are not even producing the 833 per month that is needed to hit that mark. Dealers are trying to sell them for $5k over list so that means they can and are getting it. Most dealer's are keeping a few cars on hand for demos and since there are just not that many in the first place no one except for bloggers are doing the complaining. I have also not seen a single owner report that they are not happy or not getting what GM promised in range and MPG. I have also seen that at $4.00 per gallon for gas and 16k per year an owner can pay about the same as a $22k car at the end of 5 years and at 8 years be $4k a head then they typical car owner.
      • 2 Months Ago
      "American parts, Russian parts, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!!"

      Sorry couldn't help it.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Well they are building so few of them that I'm not sure we could tell the difference.
        • 2 Months Ago
        They are only projecting 10,000 per year. That shows some reluctance, I think. They can blame the consumer all they want, but they are grossly underestimating their market.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Volt like every new product, attracts speculation.

        GM, and Volt seems to have attracted the attention of conspiracy theorists and the 'WKTEC' fan's.

        GM planned Volt with a great deal of caution, as a world model car. GM has announced several variants to be built in different regions.

        Being relatively new technology, GM is slowly and carefully creating a market for the Volt through a reputation for quality and reliability.

        GM's PR, must be working, because a lot of critics are under the impression that GM is somehow morally or philosophically obliged to make vehicles to save the world!

        GM is not out to save anyone but GM! GM exists to make a profit! GM, like the rest of the auto industry is aware that the oil powered ICE is coming to the end of it's profitable life. Unlike idealistic Tesla, major automakers must balance introducing new models at a loss, against future gains.

        Volt is a long term project, and GM are basing it's marketing on the successful marketing concepts pursued by Toyota's luxury Hybrid division.

        Being a huge multi-national corporation, GM sources components from all over the world for complex reasons, not all of which are technical. This is not unusual with multi-nationals and the reasons are usually misunderstood or ignored by critic's who maintain a simplistic view of modern automotive production.

        GM's strategy may be right or wrong, only time will tell. But GM are very committed to the long term future of the Volt format.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Well, the VIN's are up over 2200 now, so GM has built around 1800 that aren't wrecked or testers in 4 months. It is still early days, but they seem to be ramping up production. They need to get the price down but they seem to be doing the right things now.
      • 2 Months Ago
      The engine comes from Austria.

      The battery comes from Korea.

      A fair amount of the engineering came from Korea.

      And now, we learn the tranny comes from Japan.

      Whose flag are we supposed to be waving?
        • 2 Months Ago
        LS2LS7,

        For which "that" would you like a source?

        ////

        Related:

        GM Halts 'Nonessential' Spending Globally Due to Japan Crisis
        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704021504576210642173414776.html
        • 2 Months Ago
        I wonder who's making the Volt's transmission. I suspect its Aisin, part of the Toyota keiretsu who also makes the Ford Powersplit (aka "exactly the same as Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive) e-CVT for Ford's hybrids. The similarity between Toyota's system and GM's planetary gear set and two motors is striking, though GM's system differs more than Ford's.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Time to Think and Carcus:
        A pack assembled in the US with cells from overseas is the same thing GM lists for the Volt. This doesn't protect you from problems overseas.

        The entire subassembly comes from Magna, but that says nothing about the domestic part content.

        Where is your info that the Focus EV has more domestic parts than the Volt?
        • 2 Months Ago
        Carcus:
        Got a source for that?
        • 2 Months Ago
        According to Ford, they moved their Li-ion battery R&D and fabrication to Michigan. However, they still list a battery supplier: LG Chem. The electric motors come from Magna Corporation, a large US supplier. I do not know where Magna makes the motor.

        http://www.thefordstory.com/our-articles/cars/focussedan/details-on-the-new-ford-focus-electric/

        In fact, all North-American-bound models of the 2012 Focus, whether EV or gas, will be made in the US. The gas engine is being made in one of their engine plants (I forget which one, maybe Cleveland). The frame and body is made and assembled domestically, as well.
        • 2 Months Ago
        The Holland MI. plant (Compact Power/LG chem) will first assemble packs and later build the cells for the Focus EV in Michigan.
        http://electric-vehicles-cars-bikes.blogspot.com/2010/07/ford-selects-compact-power-to-supply.html

        From a conversation I had with one of the leads on the Focus project: Magna (a big part of the project) will be building their end in Michigan as well. He characterized the Focus EV as "all Michigan made" or something to that effect.

        There's been a lot written on Ford bringing hybrid and electric production/design "in house".

        http://www.designnews.com/article/443768-Ford_to_Bring_Electric_Vehicle_Battery_Design_In_House.php

        • 2 Months Ago
        In contrast,

        The Ford Focus EV is supposed to have a very high "U.S. content" rating.

        Still waiting to see the price on that one.
      ss1591
      • 2 Months Ago
      I wish that GM and the other auto makers would build high tech parts where the body is also built! If after shipping and Japans high labor costs we can't build it here then we have more problems then they are telling us.
        ss1591
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591

        LS2LS7,

        I may not have been clear on my post on the Volt parts, If they build the body of the car here then they should also plan on making the parts for the car here from day one. With computerized plants you can build just about any engine you want in any country you want to with advance notice. I am also sure that we have enough talented companies here that can build the Volts transmission if it was done from the start. I am in the aftermarket automotive paint business and can tell you that shipping and labor from Japan must cost 25 to 30 percent of the cost these parts are not light and do require someone with brains to make them. If we want more American jobs we must put pressure on companies to use American companies, this is why so many costly car parts are made in Japan and Germany if that is where the companies come from it allows them to send money home to the folks.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        Switching production of something that complex to a new location on a few weeks' notice would just lead to making low quality parts.

        It takes time to tool up and learn to make the parts correctly, even when you already did it in another location.

        And besides, it's not like the Japanese supplier is going to help GM cut them out of the loop, so GM would have to learn to make it all over again with none of the previous learning from the Japanese supplier.
        ss1591
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        LS2LS7,

        I am not sure what you are reading but IT IS NOT WHAT I AM WRITING! All I have said is they should plan on building important parts for cars where they build the bodies! I will bet that there are a 100 good reasons that GM did what they did but I am just saying that in the future out sourcing important parts leads to loss of good jobs and a mess when shipping is an issue. I have not said that they should even change production at this point so your ship has sailed comment makes no sense at all. I am not sure what you do for a living or where you live but I wish you would comment on what is written and not just state your point that is clearly outside of what I wrote. I also believe that GM tells suppliers how to build the parts and supplies all of the fixtures and other required items that the own.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        Steve:
        They didn't plan on this. That ship has sailed, you can't change that. Now would require moving production rapidly and that's not a good idea. I don't know where you learned your principles of production, but you can't just load a CAM file into a machine and produce a complex subassembly with the same quality in a new location instantly. There's no advance notice here, if they planned to source transmissions from Japan, then they can't just change that in a week.

        As I mentioned, it is likely the Japanese supplier is not willing to give up their information on how to make the parts here, no matter how much time they are given to transition. No one wants to be cut out of the loop.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        LS2LS7, "Switching production of something that complex to a new location on a few weeks' notice would just lead to making low quality parts." Didn't GM announce the Volt back in 2007? They've had more than a few weeks to tool up and learn how to manufacture the transmission.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        nottoosmart:
        They didn't plan to make the transmission here, so they haven't started learning to build it here. People are saying GM should move production right now due to the problems in Japan. This would require moving production very rapidly and is not a good idea, quality-wise.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @ss1591
        LS2LS7,
        No one in the comments, with the exception of you, has said GM should transfer production of the transmission after the earthquake in Japan. Please give it a rest. You are such a GM apologist, it is quite sickening.

        Steve,
        I believe the reason the electric drive unit, including the transmission, is sourced from Japan is because of Toyota's patents. Either GM couldn't get licensing to produce it directly or it would have been too costly for the limited numbers produced. I did a search, but couldn't find any reference to which company is supplying GM. I would guess that Aisin Seiki, who manufactures the EVT for Ford, does so for GM. According to Wikipedia "Aisin is the only supplier of hybrid transmissions to other manufacturers."
      harlanx6
      • 2 Months Ago
      That's OK. They wan't to brag about them, but apparently they don't really want to sell them anyway.
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