Chevrolet dealers in some U.S. markets are turning away Chevrolet Volts that General Motors is allocating to them, indicating that consumers remain concerned that the extended-range plug-in vehicles pose an additional safety risk relative to convention cars, are too expensive or are otherwise not as desired as GM thinks, Automotive News (subs. req.) reported.

New York City-area Chevy dealerships took just 31 of the 104 Volts allocated to them last month, while one Northern California dealer turned away all six Volts offered to him, according to the publication. Another East Coast dealer reported a "huge dropoff" in Volt interest. Overall, dealer orders for Volts have declined, Automotive News said, citing GM spokesman Rob Peterson.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said late last week that it finished its two-month investigation into the crash test that resulted in a fire three weeks after the fact last summer, and concluded that neither the Volt nor other electric vehicles pose more of a fire risk than conventional vehicles.

Earlier this month, USA Today reported that GM has prepared an advertising campaign that would be launched in the event of more negative reports about Chevrolet Volt or a negative outcome of the Congressional hearing that takes place tomorrow. Last month, GM sold 1,529 Volts, a record high, and sold 7,671 Volts for all of 2011. GM had previously set a goal of 10,000 Volt sales for 2011.


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  • 97 Comments
      brotherkenny4
      • 3 Years Ago
      The base model chevy cobalt sells for about 15K. The Volt initially for about 42K. Initially the battery was said to cost about $1000/KWhr, and was 16KW so 16K. Thus everything else in the Volt costs 26K. Now we know the battery prices have come down to near $500 per KWhr and the Volt price reduced to 39K. A lot of talk has been put into how the batteries are so expensive , but it looks to me like that is not true. If I were to add the battery and electric drive system to the cobalt would that make it cost 39K? You might be able to argue that the Volt as special as it is, is a totally different design that is not cheap, and maybe that's true. Maybe the low production number keep the cost of the initial engineering high per unit. But do car companies do this with every new model? That is make the initial cost high to recover the engineering cost and then lower the price later. Or, do they assume a volume that would make the engineering cost per unit reasonable and make the price lower, thus taking a risk but typically recovering the cost and turning a profit eventually, and if so, why not with the Volt. And, isn't the battery prices going to go down even more with larger volumes? I have run the calculations for my typical commute and for the Volt to be a zero loss car for me (that is I would save enough in fuel over the life of the vehicle that the added initial cost would be offset) I would have to be able to get it at 25K (some assumptions are that I would spend typically 14K for a four banger five speed, and gas is $3.25). Obviously the price of gas will go up, but then I don't know by how much and when, and the oil companies do own our governments. So tax payers may continue to subsidize oil in the form of security, R&D money, and tax breaks. Which I will have to pay regardless of whether I have a Volt. So I guess what I am saying is If we had a capitalist economy the price of oil would be higher and the Volt would be a better choice for me (although maybe not for you).
        carney373
        • 1 Month Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        IIt's not about a Scrooge like insistence that we wring the most miles per penny of total cost of ownership out of our cars. It's about giving a damn about the devastating damage oil does our environment, our economy, and our national security. Our parents and grandparents cheerfully supported outright bans of civilian auto production and pleasure driving, plus gasoline rationing, to help win World War 2. Are we worthy of their legacy? Buying a Volt is not exactly Valley Forge style sacrifice.
          Ford Future
          • 1 Month Ago
          @carney373
          I stand with Carney on this. As I've been saying Liberals are MORE Right Wing then Limbaugh, when they buy the American Made Volt. We help get the Oil industry under control, and save this planet for our grandkids, no, global warming is so bad now, we're saving the planet for ourselves. And then there's the economy, that electricity is locally produced, even if you buy it from your neighborhood nuclear plant. And if we had an energy policy that Exxon wasn't blocking, we'd be spending Billions in Solar Research, to guarantee the US Controls the Future Solar Energy Market. We'd be spending the Billions the Chinese are Spending Today. Thank you Carney for YOUR Patriotism.
          PR
          • 1 Month Ago
          @carney373
          seawolf -- Agreed, getting more low mpg vehicles off the road and replacing them with high mpg vehicles is the most important step. That's why the Model X and the Toyota RAV4 EV are going to be very important vehicles. But if you already own a Prius, and your specific driving habits favor a Volt, you can sell your Prius when you are ready to buy a new car anyways, and your used Prius can get sold to someone who currently owns a gas guzzler. Now two people are getting better mpg.
          usbseawolf2000
          • 1 Month Ago
          @carney373
          Replacing a truck or SUV with Prius v (wagon) would save more gas than downsizing from Prius -> Volt. If your goal is to reduce foreign oil, get those unnecessary SUVs and trucks off the road. Substituting gasoline with electricity from the super efficient hybrids diminish in return.
          PeterScott
          • 1 Month Ago
          @carney373
          If your market is people taking an ideological stand against the Petrol Industry, then small sales are self explanatory. Most people don't buy cars as an ideological stand. Also even if you did, a Leaf would be a better car to make that point, since it never uses petrol.
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Continue to postpone any car expenditures except the volt. This is a small political putch from the petrol resellers, don't worry they are bad. Many old faschion car dealership owners and employees had a big living selling gasoline technology and they don't want the volt to succeed, especially because it can be recharged by free non-polluting solar panels, this will cut their jobs and the jobs of their big oil friends in their view. Also i noticed that gm is not involved in any adapted solar panels for the volt and they didn't included any solar panels put on the roof and hood and trunk or the house or the apartment of their customers, this is an omission for big oil friends. Go to gm dealerships and ask for a volt with solar panels to put on the car and your house, if they say that they don't have some leave this dealership right away and don't buy anything and tell the customers to do the same. This compagny work for big oil and the goverment, they already destroyed many electric cars some years ago and selled their technology to chevron which sue everybody after for patent infringments. Money is made in astronomous quantity with petrol imports where the money end-up in swiss banking system, just some parts of it is invested in wars and political programmation done by associates like political parties and presidents and news agencies story about how hard petrol extraction and commercialisation is. Also the volt is still a weak and costly product done by them to show that it is harder to do a green car then a gasoline car. They probably decided that it will not succeed and that the tax payers will pay for all of that anyway and they will just increase the price of gas very soon. Some blogguers already ask for an increase of the price of gas on a daily basis to put some more cash into their pockets and deposited it into swiss banks accounts free of taxation. I never saw another website where poeples ask for an increase of the price of gasoline, usually this is done directly by politic folks hired by big oil like steven harper from canada. I warned you when they decided to sale the volt. I said that the gasoline electric recharger was way too big, look at what is happening now, high cost and lack of demand and sup-par mpg in gasoline operation.
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let me think here, I have $40k to spend on a new car.... I could have a Volt, or a BMW 3 for about the same price. Naaaaaw, I think I'll buy a Fusion and keep the $15K difference.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I did not know that the Ford Fusion and BMWs were plug-in electrics, please fill me in with more details ;)
        MTN RANGER
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        If consumers only bought cars based on "rational" economics we'd all be driving Versas or Yaris's. Sales of Mercedes, BMWs, and other luxury cars would be nonexistent. There are lots of choices, the Volt works for some, Leaf for others, Prius for still others. Then again, some may need a pickup or want an M5.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          Yep. And that is the thing . . . the number of people willing to pay a premium price for a Volt is limited . . . treehuggers, national security mavens, techno-gadget fans, etc. For EVs to become mainstream, they need to show an economic value. However, they will eventually do that. The might be able to do it by becoming cheaper . . . but they will most likely do it simply by existing in a market with ever-rising gasoline prices. Hopefully, they will be able to at least get price down a little bit more.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        If you have $40K to buy a car and you pick the BMW 3, you are screwing yourself over. The Volt would have come with $7500 tax-credit. And as you own the BMW 3, you'll end up pouring thousands of dollars of gasoline into it every year (with each successive year costing more than the previous year) whereas the Volt will only take a few hundred dollars of electricity and go up very slowly.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        The Ford Fusion hybrid is $28,700 for the base model, compared to $31,645 after rebate for a base Volt. http://bp3.ford.com/2012-Ford-Fusion/?branding=1&lang=en#/Models/Style[BodyStyle:_136A660DED4F011EFD7A5B8800000000] http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car/ That $3,055 dollar difference in price is meaningless for typical drivers when gas use and resale value are factored in.
          PR
          • 1 Month Ago
          @PR
          throwback -- yes, I agree that the biggest price problem for the Volt and all EV's is that the customer must carry the tax credit for 2-16 months. The proposed legislation to make it an instant credit at time of purchase would help quite a bit. The actual transaction price on Volt's are now more in line with gas cars too, with more dealers being willing to discount off of MSRP in some areas. At some point the Chevy dealerships will have to discount their share of Volt profits the same amount as they currently discount their share of other GM products. (Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the cost to build the Volt, because Volt production profits are 100% on the invoice side of the MSRP equation. Dealers cutting into their profits have no relationship to production costs. GM factory incentives and price cuts just like they have on the rest of their models will likely come this summer too. Most new cars get factory discounts as fall approaches. This is a completely different issue than dealers discounting their profits.) The Fusion is bigger. I didn't choose the comparison. Yes, sales to apartment dwellers is limited to just folks who have reserved parking with a plug handy. That's fairly low to find a rental like that, but the advantage of renting is that you can move to an apartment or house that might offer this option. But for most of the country if you rent and you are buying ANY brand new car for any price, you aren't very typical. Renters tend to buy used. You can charge outside. You don't need a garage. A GFI circuit is a good idea, just like it is a good idea to use a GFI circuit for Christmas lights. Plugging in a Volt outdoors is a lot safer than some of the x-mas displays I've seen....
          throwback
          • 1 Month Ago
          @PR
          You still have to finance the full price of the Volt up front. The Volt also only seats 4, and the back seat is small compared to a Fusion. The actual transaction price on a Fusion is less than the list price. Also, if you do not have a garage or if you live in an apartment, pluging in a car for 8 hours is not an option.
      marcopolo
      • 1 Month Ago
      @Micheal Yes, I understand that Buick is an old brand name int the US. But GM invented the concept of a brand for each market segment. Outside of the US Buick is still a historic brand. The Volt will be helped By the inclusion of Voltec drive trains in the Cadillac. However, rehabilitating the Buick (and Pontiac) brand names with distinctive identities,is exactly what the market is seeking! GM performs best when it competes against not only other brands, but itself! The Cadillac brand needs to return further up market upmarket. Ford's cost cutting of large vehicles has led to a drop in sales of the next car down. Old brands names become easier to rehabilitate as they get older, and the memory of failure fades and nostalgia for the great days returns. There are still Buick car clubs etc. It only takes one or two movies, etc to make the whole fashion recommence. Just my opinion.
      Nick
      • 1 Month Ago
      It should have been a Cadillac, not a Buick. And I agree that Buick is still a joke brand for many, including myself. A Caddy is high-tech modernity and sharpness on wheels...
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not terribly surprised. Much like any other specialty car, once you fulfill the pent-up demand, demand slackens. The same thing will happen to the LEAF, although it has a larger market to fill since anyone who really wants to declare their independence from oil won't buy an ER-EV, they'll buy an EV. The lower price helps too. Demand should pick back up in their big market of California once it can get a carpool lane sticker with the improvements in February.
      StevenG
      • 3 Years Ago
      For everyone who wants to whine about the cost - just be happy people like me are happy to be early adopters, otherwise the cheaper Volt 2.0 would never exist. My first DVD player was $450. My first CD burner was $600 and the discs were $5 each. My first DSLR was $3500. Who said the Volt was going to be the perfect, affordable solution for every American? Does any other vehicle get saddled with that expectation? I drive 25-35 miles a day, it fits me perfectly. Doesn't suit you? Move along. Do all these haters spend time bitching about how the new 911 can't pull a boat and the Ford Fusion doesn't have enough seating for their 9 home schooled kids?
        JeremyD
        • 1 Month Ago
        @StevenG
        Amen to that!
        Spec
        • 1 Month Ago
        @StevenG
        I salute all the EV early adopters. They are helping fund the R&D for the continued EV improvement.
        marcopolo
        • 1 Month Ago
        @StevenG
        @StevenG Once again, what can I say? Thank you for your positive, rational post. It's owners like you who sell EV's!
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      The way the $7.500 subsidy is structured in the US really seems to be causing problems. AFAIK everywhere in Europe it is not a tax credit anyway. but simply comes off the price of the vehicle and is paid to the manufacturer. We pay through the nose for our cars mind, compared to the US, hence in my view the poor take up of the Leaf in the UK to date, but the arrangements are a whole world simpler. I think this could impact sales of EV's in the US quite severely.
      EZEE
      • 1 Month Ago
      @ford The volt is selling all chevy's. People show up to see the volt, 'ooooooooo, wow' the leave with anything. Getting people into the dealer is big. When Ford had the GT people had to come see. Then they were prey to the salesmen. If I was a Chevy dealer I would make sure I always had a few. If nothing else, to have it behind the velvet rope....
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Spec -- Yup, it all comes down to how you drive it as to which will be better. If you drive 10 miles or less a day with mild acceleration and no highway speeds, the Prius PHEV will likely burn very very little gas. If you drive 30 miles or less a day, and you accelerate heavily and drive on the interstate for part of your drive, you will likely burn very little gas. If you drive on the interstate for 100+ miles on a regular basis, the Prius will get better range-extended MPG than the Volt. If you drive 50 miles or less on the interstate on a regular basis, the Volt will end up using less gas because it will be in range-extended mode for less time than the Prius and will use less gas. If you make 1,000 mile trips on a regular basis, and only drive a mile or two on a daily basis, you would be better off with the standard Prius that doesn't plug in. If you have a gas car that you drive over 10 miles a day, but never drive over 60 miles in a day, replace it with a Leaf. MPG and MPGe ratings are starting to mean less and less these days. It's all about figuring out what car fits your own personal driving habits and driving patterns. Gone are the days of blanket statements saying Car X gets better mileage than Car Y. Or Car Y wrecks Car X on fuel efficiency.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      There was a lot of interest around the Volt and other electric cars at this year's Detroit Auto Show. While the Volt isn't the perfect car for everyone, if they would make a Colorado with the Volt's drivetrain, there would be a lot more interest from the middle of the country. Market it to outdoorsy folk as a great truck to go camping with. Market it to construction and industrial sites as an efficient way to get to and from the job site. And give it up on the 10,000 Volts sold thing. Yes, they only got 80% of their goal. As the price comes down and supply goes up, they will sell more.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      "If you run errands around town and have 5 hours to charge your hybrid, the Prius is for you. If you mix city driving with long jaunts on the highway, or need a little more power at higher speeds, the Volt will make you much happier. Either way, you will save money on gas, no question of that." http://inhabitat.com/test-drive-the-chevy-volt-vs-the-plug-in-prius/2/ http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/volt-vs-prius
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