• Jul 19, 2011
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors has, once again, fired up the production lines for the 2012 Chevrolet Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly facility. GM spokesman Rob Peterson told the Detroit News that, after nearly a month-long shutdown, the folks at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly are back in action and producing Volts at three times the previous rate.

With production ramped up, GM may have a shot at regaining the lead in plug-in vehicle sales in the U.S. for 2011. As of the end of June, Nissan sold 3,875 Leaf, compared to the Volt's 2011 tally of 2,745 units. In Nissan's 2012 Leaf pricing announcement, the automaker stated that sales of the electric hatchback in the U.S. surpassed 4,000. Meanwhile, the Detroit News reports that 4,400 units sold is the actual mark. With more Volts coming soon and the Leaf about to cost more, will the sales trends soon reverse?



Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Detroit News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      I believe the Volt was only sold in a few select markets (California and a couple other progressive states), which is no longer the case. Considering they stay on lots only 16 days, I am pretty confident they can sell more.
      Ziv
      • 3 Years Ago
      Having way too much time on my hands, I have tracked the highest VIN on Chevy.com for Volts in 5 regions since March. They may have sold 2745 Volts, but it really looks like they built nearly 4,000, with the difference going where, exactly? Wrecked a dozen maybe, teathered test fleet of 60 or 80, there are still around a thousand Volts out there that weren't sold. Or do the VIN's get assigned non-sequentially? Anyway, VIN 3957 was in the wild, up for sale, on May 26th. Nearly 2 months later, the highest VIN in the 5 regions was 3974. So between December 2010 and June of 2011, they sold 2745 and built nearly 4,000, with a monthly sales rate of just 392 units. During this time frame, the Volt had the second highest sales speed rate, (time the average car sat on the lot) of just 16 days in May. Second only to the Prius 14 days. So the Volts sales figure, much like the Leaf, were limited by supply not by demand, at this time. So if they triple the production rate, that is just 1,200 a month or 14,400 per year. The last production quotes out of GM were a bit more optimistic, i.e. the 60,000 built and 45,000 sold in the US quote from several months ago. And then there was the wildly optimistic, heck, lets build 120,000 of them a year... GM's engineers built a great car, it is too bad that the MBA's didn't do as good a job pricing and producing them. But of course they did get the MSRP down $1,000 to just below $40,000! Unfortunately, they did THAT by decontenting the Volt by $2000 worth of product... http://gm-volt.com/2011/01/24/gm-reportedly-planning-to-double-2012-chevy-volt-production-to-120000-units/
        Naturenut99
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Are you taking into account the cars that are on dealers lots that are for test drives only?
          Ziv
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Naturenut99
          NN, I am just looking at the VIN's on Chevy.com and some of the demo cars are definitely on Chevy.com, but I have no way of knowing if all of them are. Some of the VIN's have been there so long I recognize them. But it does look like my playing with numbers agrees with what GM is saying except for the fact that they seem not to be selling as many cars as they are making VIN's. It could be that they are testing (or putting into a tethered fleet,) a thousand cars, but I just don't know. The main point I was trying to make is that I really thought that the price of the Volt would come down due to the economies of scale on electric intent parts, due to the fact that GM was negotiating contracts for dozens of parts per month a little over a year ago and now they have contracts for a thousand, or more, per month.
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Naturenut99
          Your absolutely correct in that GM should have reduced the price below $40k.. without "decontenting" Definitely not a customer friendly way of doing things. Decontenting could be fine if they dropped the price to say 35~36k? and while dropping the top price too...It should probably top out at $40~41k with all features. But I do think the majority of that 1000 Volts are the mandated test drive cars for dealerships that are going to sell them. Last I knew, they had to have at least one on the lot that was for test drives only if they were going to sell them.
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      According to my #PlugIn2011 twitter feed, Brian Carolin of Nissan stated they have over 4400 US sales and have topped 10,000 worldwide. With the US price hike, exchange rates and vehicle supply needed to launch the LEAF in other countries, I have a feeling Nissan will have a higher portion of 2012 MY global sales mix overseas untill the TN plant comes online next year for the 2013 model. Globally, the LEAF should easily continue to be the sales leader. However with fleet contracts to companies like GE and various governmental agencies, I could see the Volt close some of the US sales gap this year... When 2013 MY comes around and they start US production, I would expect a price drop and higher volumes on the LEAF in the US.
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bellow 10K unit difference, they are basically selling the same numbers. Plus, things could change dramatically once the Ford Focus EV is out. It will take a couple of years for the dust to settle, but it's clear electric cars are here to stay. I personally hope GM can never catch up to demand. This will encourage them to produce more Volts and give them the confidence to go full-electric someday.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick From Montreal
        How might things "change dramatically"? Another 12,000 EVs by late 2012 is great news, but not so dramatic. Back in October 2010 here's what Ford said, I can't find anything more recent. “This week has brought good news in the fact volumes will be fairly robust, somewhere between Chevrolet’s 10,000 units for the Volt, and Nissan’s 25,000 units for the LEAF, specifically Ms. Cischke would not say, but indicated it would be between the two. We had always said 2011, which we’ll still do, but I think you’ll see more of the concentrated volume in 2012. Right now, we’re getting ready to provide a little bit slower entry.” When asked for comment on the volume for 2011, the Ford VP would only say, “some.” She did go on to say that if the car was met favorable, Ford is quite prepared to boost production, “Certainly, if it was very popular, we’d be able to get more batteries and do what we need to do.”
          Nick From Montreal
          • 3 Years Ago
          @skierpage
          @skierpage, you are right that Ford's volume are not impressive. However, I think that the Ford Focus EV may upstage the Chevrolet Volt for those who: 1) Want to buy from an American car company. (yes, even if the LEAF will be made in the US soon) 2) Want a more "upscale" styling than the Volt. That Aston-Martin-styled front end looks awesome. Hopefully, they will all succeed and other car makers will see EVs as a way to boost sales.
          Ziv
          • 3 Years Ago
          @skierpage
          Nick, I wonder about which car maker Ford will compete with. I thought originally that it would take sales from the Leaf almost exclusively due to the fact that they are so similar in pack size and intent, i.e. all electric BEV with 80 mile real world range as opposed to the slightly more expensive PHEV type EREV like the Volt with 37 mile real world AER and ICE backup. But you raise a good point about the perception thing, some people will want to buy 'local' and that will help both GM and Ford. Unfortunately, I don't think many of the 'Buy USA' purchasers are looking for BEV's so far. And given the fact that both the Leaf and the Focus electric are in effect town cars, the lack of decent boot space in the Focus won't be too much of a deal killer. When it evetually shows up, if the Focus Electric is priced below $36k, I think it will cut into the Leaf sales more than it will into the Volts. But I can't see Ford suddenly producing 30,000 FFE's in 2012, it just isn't going to happen, as much as I wish that they would.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm surprised Leaf sales are that low actually. I see 2-3 a day now.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        I know a dealership here in the Portland metro area that is moving 20-30 of them per month. That's actually impressive considering how depressed the area is.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tripling your output from nearly nothing doesn't amount to much. But they probably should keep production limited since I wonder how much demand there is for the $40K car. It is a nice start but I hope future models can get the price down and improve the specs a bit.
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