General Motors is fattening up on thinner cars.

GM said today that it sold at least 100,000 vehicles last month that have a highway fuel economy rating of at least 30 miles per gallon, marking a monthly record for sales of fuel-sipping cars.

About 40 percent of GM vehicles sold in the U.S. get at least 30 mpg highway, up from 16 percent three years ago, GM North America President Mark Reuss said in a statement. Such a jump is a result of more investment in four-cylinder cars, turbocharged engines and electric-drive vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid.

GM, which will put out its official March sale numbers tomorrow, is looking to boost sales through fewer gas guzzlers as fuel prices continue to rise. In addition to the Volt, both the Chevrolet Sonic and Chevrolet Cruze include variants that get at least 40 miles per gallon highway. Meanwhile, regular gas prices are up about 60 cents a gallon this year and are nearing the $4 mark, according to AAA.

Late last month, former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, in an interview with electric-drive advocate group Plug In America, predicted that March would be "a record month" for sales of the Volt, which missed its 10,000-unit sales target for 2011 by about 2,400 vehicles. GM temporarily halted Volt production last month to thin out inventory and NPR is reporting that the two-week summer shutdown that is scheduled for July will be extended to three weeks this year. This extra week might be cancelled if strong sales continue.
Show full PR text
GM Sees Record 100,000 Sales of 30 mpg or Better Vehicles
2012-04-02

DETROIT – Combined U.S. sales of the 12 General Motors (NYSE: GM) vehicles that get an EPA estimated 30 mpg or better on the highway are expected to reach 100,000 units or more in March, the highest total in company history. GM will release its total March sales on April 3.

"GM's strategic investments in four-cylinder and turbocharged engines, advanced transmissions and vehicle electrification have been very well timed," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. "Three years ago, about 16 percent of the vehicles GM sold achieved at least 30 mpg on the highway. Today, that number is about 40 percent, and we have more new fuel-economy leaders on the way, including the Chevrolet Spark, Cadillac ATS and the Buick Encore."

GM Fuel Economy Leaders on Sale Today

Vehicle

Powertrain

EPA Est. Highway Fuel Economy

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

1.8-liter I-4
1.4-liter I-4 turbo

35 mpg
40 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Cruze

1.8-liter I-4
1.4-liter I-4 turbo

up to 36 mpg
up to 42 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Volt

1.4-liter I-4 with electric drive unit

93 mpg-e

2012 Chevrolet Malibu

2.4-liter I-4

33 mpg

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

eAssist

37 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Camaro

3.6-liter V-6

30 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Impala

3.6-liter V-6

30 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Equinox

2.4-liter I-4 FWD

32 mpg

2012 Buick Verano

2.4-liter I-4

32 mpg

2012 Buick Regal

eAssist

36 mpg

2012 Buick LaCrosse

eAssist

36 mpg

2012 GMC Terrain

2.4-liter I-4 FWD

32 mpg


By the end of 2012, GM will have all-new or significantly freshened Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars and crossovers in segments that represent 60 percent of the U.S. light vehicle industry. This includes the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbo I-4s, the all-new Chevrolet Spark and the four-cylinder 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, all of which are expected to achieve EPA estimates of 30 mpg highway or better when the ratings are released later this year.

General Motors Co . (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      mapoftazifosho
      • 2 Years Ago
      How in god's name did this happen? Someone at GM PR should be fired for playing up another shut down instead of the positive news that Chevrolet sold over 2000 Volts in March, that's a record!
      Anne
      • 2 Years Ago
      Norway is a cold country. Cold weather performance is one of the weaker points of the Nissan LEAF. The resistive heater consumes a lot of electricity. So a little surprising that sales are so strong in Norway. OTOH, they use engine block heaters in winter, so plugging in their cars is something they are accustomed to. @Spec, Interesting is that they are developing a floating wind turbine, since the sea along their coast is too deep.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ spec Meth is some bad sh*t.
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      And yet again, GM has taken the moment when it is about to announce something really positive about the Volt to release a bit of news that the haters will use to bash the Volt. GM is about to announce a record sales month for the Volt. Great moment to keep everything positive, right? But no, GM decides that this is a great time to announce another shutdown/slowdown, and this slowdown won't even happen for months! So why announce it now, when the Volt is about to take a victory lap? Is GM really this stupid? They simply keep doing stupid stuff month after month. Every time the Volt gets momentum, GM does something that gives ammunition to the Volt haters. I really like the Volt, but I think GM is completely clueless.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        It just really takes the biscuit.
        theflew
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        GM shuts down their plants yearly for model year changeovers - nothing new is here. They did it last year at the same time.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Well said, Zim. Why are they even considering a shutdown when they have 7000 pre-orders waiting for the Ampera in Europe? Get to work I say, people are waiting. Take advantage of the momentum created by the recent gas run in Britain and winning "European Car of the Year."
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          "GM could probably build all 7000 Ampera's on pre-order in one month if they wanted too" GM has demonstrated capability to build 1000 Volt / Ampera per week, so a month an a half would be more correct.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          Yeah, I don't get that at all. Why are they not cranking out Amperas if they have orders? Does it still need to finish up some paperwork before shipping in Europe or something?
          theflew
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          GM could probably build all 7000 Ampera's on pre-order in one month if they wanted too. Unlike the Leaf the Volt is built in a factory that is capable of building 200k+ cars a year. The battery contract was for something like 50k packs this year. Given these are probably fleet orders for Europe they might as well spread them. Also the 2013 Volt is suppose to have a price drop, so they probably want to limit production prior to it's arrival just like they did between 2011/2012.
          Rick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          Both the Ampera & Volt will be sold in Europe strangely the Volt will be $3,500 cheaper to buy here. Nearly all the sales are to the company fleet markets. Hard to say if it will do well once the initial pre-order sales dry up in Europe. Once the private buyer see's he can buy a BMW Efficient Dynamic Diesel 3 Series 320D that will return 80.7 MPG or a prestigious BMW 520 series diesel that returns 72 MPG, and still walk away with cash in their back pocket in savings because they did not buy the Ampera/Volt their priorities soon change. Despite GM getting in first, using all the electrical terminology naming of its cars l think if they had made them as a Astra, Corsa or Cruze EREV's they would be a name car most Europeans would have bought and wanted, even big vehicles like the Chevy trucks, van & SUV's eREVs being built by VIA Motors at the moment would be hard to resist and a massive hit with companies and private buyers. GM just seem to be bring the wrong vehicles to the market place, when they have great vehicles they should be bringing to Europe like those at VIA motors are left at home, what a waste when they could be getting established early with vehicles folk WANT.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      I got to check out a Volt today because of some promotion. It was very nice. Unfortunately, it was out of battery power so I only saw it running on gas (except at very slow speeds). Very nice handling! Under the good is jam packed . . . how can one possible work on that car? I'd think it requires a lift and that would be a turn off for people who like to do their own car work. I don't like the fact that it is premium only. I think I'll go pure electric and keep a gas car for long trips.
        theflew
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I think given 2 year oil changes, lifetime coolant, etc... I doubt you would get many chances to work on it.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm happy to see that the car buying population is learning and is now buying higher MPG cars. It is disappointing that they are not buying higher MPG cars but 30+ MPG is a nice step up from the previous generation.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        GM went from 16% to 40% buying 30+ mpgh vehicles. That is a *huge* change for an OEM as large and as broad as GM. And ultimately, it's a good change for US fuel consumption.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Yeah, I saw that story. Very impressive. Now they need to get a conventional hybrid out there and move the number up to 40+MPG vehicles. :-) Ever onward!
        cwerdna
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        It's deceptive. Not everyone lives on a highway. Many people who drive on the highway are stuck in stop and go traffic, which doesn't at all resemble the EPA highway cycle. It ought to be illegal to mention only the highest mileage number in advertising and press releases. If they're going to only mention 1 number, it should be mandated that they ONLY can give combined mileage. What's the combined mileage of the '12 1.8L Cruze w/automatic? 27 mpg. What's the combined mileage of the '12 4 cylinder Malibu w/automatic? 26 mpg. What's the combined mileage of the Prius liftback and Prius c? 50 mpg.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey, it must be Danny King again. Just can't 'effing resist taking the 10,000 unit jab at GM in EVERY SINGLE Volt post. Heck, if you want to keep cut and pasting that same bull again and again in every Volt blog, I'll just have to do the same. Seriously? Is this going to be ABG's mantra in every single Volt blog? It is like Eric Loveday never left. It's like ABG can't do any better than the "loony right" that Bob Lutz has to continually rip a new one every month. Back on June 17, 2008 Bob Lutz announced the Volt production number of 10,000 units in the first year. Since that day, the entire global economy crashed, GM has gone through bankruptcy, Bob has left GM, the total new car sales numbers at one point dropped by more than a quarter, and GM has been forced to lay off and close multiple employees and plants. Now, 46 months later, GM turned out to be about 2 and a half months late on hitting their goal of 10,000 units. Because with the new April sales numbers, it is clear that they are now well over 10,000 units sold. TWO and a HALF FRICKIN` MONTHS!! So GM/Bob Lutz was off on their target plan by around 5%, after all the utter hell that GM has been through since June 17th 2008, and people are going to keep humping this point into the ground as if it was a FAILURE?!?!?! Any reasonable person would look at this as one hell of a come-back story, not a failure. GM could be dead and gone right now, and instead they are delivering a revolutionary car with massively high owner satisfaction. The only people who don't see that only being behind by 2 and a half months after all GM has been through, as the utterly miraculous come-from-behind Cinderella Story of the Decade are "loony", just like Bob says. But heck, if you can't think for yourself, let an internet meme think for you. Right Danny King?
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PR
        Danny may be 'Sebastian Lite.' Not nearly as blatant as Sebastian on trying to instigate us into screaming, but a bit more subtle. But, forgive me if I missed something, but weren't they anticipating record sales for the volt? Like, yesterday?
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Yeah, it sounds like tomorrow will be the day GM announces its first sales month that is over 2000 Volts in one month. Great opportunity to go positive, but not for GM.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PR
        PR, Well said! Especially about their goal being 5% later than they thought it would. What's 5%? Not the bloody murder it has been portrayed by some.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PR
        Yup, I basically made this note about ABG as well.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Update on the Volt chargers: I looked today the long charge cable has 3 16AWG conductors and 2 18AWG conductors. The 16AWG conductors would certainly be the AC lines 1 & 2 (assuming split phase) and the ground. The 18AWG conductors carry only proximity detection and control pilot (very low current). So much for the "it's 18AWG" haters on here.
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Hi Rotation In case you were considering a change of scenery check this out:) http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/unions-query-plan-to-import-us-workers-20120402-1w8sk.html 16AWG or 1.5mm2 is good enough for the job (as I think you are saying) and it is clear to me that anyone who says otherwise has other agendas. But it will get warm at 12A? and I would have gone for 14AWG or 2.5mm2 due to me being skilled at spending my customers money:)
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          While more is usually better for wire cross-section, in this case the charger has to be luggable and the cord wraps up. So making it thicker would make burden the user. Perhaps using 16AWG is the right tradeoff. Also, due to the short input cord to the wrap, the coiled cord and coiler typically end up handing from the wall socket, so making it heavier might cause issues on that end. I do think the idea of changing the cord wrap has merit. One thing would be to move the GFCI circuit into the input plug, like a hair dryer. Since the input cord is short right now because they don't want to put more cord before the GFCI they could then lengthen the input cord, so the cord wrap doesn't have to hang from the wall, which causes many of the problems people experience.
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Thanks for the info. I'm off to to some calculations. For the benefit of people in the USA, AWG is American wire guage and not the universal way to measure cable size the world over.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          They listed the wire conductor cross sections on the cable actually (mm2), but I didn't bother with those because AWG is expressive enough and they are probably just the conversions from AWG anyway. SoI remembered the easier AWG numbers.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Highway fuel economy numbers are a joke, for two reasons: 1) Most people don't drive on the highway. 2) When on the "highway" most people are in traffic. So, most people get "highway" mileage only on weekends, sometimes. Highway mileage advertising is FRAUD, Auto Industry FRAUD.
        A_Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Depends on the car too. I get over the highway estimate in my CR-Z. I regularly achieve between 36-38 on a whole tank.
          A_Guy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A_Guy
          I should note I have the 6MT which is rated at 37 highway.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Agreed, this should change now! The primary number advertised should be the combined number and this should be mandated.
          cwerdna
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          Yep! GM pulled this same type of crap before: http://www.leftlanenews.com/general-motors-claims-most-30-mpg-vehicles.html and http://www.aboutthatcar.com/gm-models-get-more-than-30-mpg/.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        It depends on where you live. Those in sparsely populate areas do drive a lot of highway miles. But given this car is most useful in places where people drive less than 15 miles each way to work, I think using the highway mileage to sell this car isn't really appropriate.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Most people don't drive on the highway? This is based on what exactly? Most people on the highway are in traffic? Again based on what? Living in LA? I know it's hard to believe but there is vast amount of country east of California and west of Pennsylvania.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          I live in SoCal. My commute is counter-flow. I regularly drive at highway speeds during large portions of my commute.
          cwerdna
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Besides LA, try driving in the direction of traffic on highways and city streets in Northern California orthe Seattle area during morning and afternoon rush hour. It's mostly stop and go and tons of idling. Traffic is bad in many other major areas of the US. See http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/bottom_line/2012/03/boston-8th-worst-traffic-city.html.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        I get my highway mileage on my Fusion, but then I am a hell of a guy.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        I wholeheartedly disagree Ford Future. My average fuel economy for an entire tank is greater than my car's highway mileage rating, and all I do is maximize coasting, keep the revs low, and use cracked windows instead of AC, and don't usually go faster than 70 on the freeway. I'm also not the only person I know who does this, nor am I the only person I know who gets the same results. YOU ARE THE FRAUD!!!!!!!!! :D jk.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sirvixisvexed
          Can you imagine hypermiling with a Volt? I would have the google maps out anytime I was getting close to 40 miles, and an extension cord in the back at all times. 'dude, let me just plug in for but....noooooooo, doesn't cost you anything.'
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sirvixisvexed
          I don't make a huge effort to hypermile - although when i had an Escape Hybrid I did. The joy with those (or any full-on hybrid) is getting it to go as far as possible in electric. Even heading down the ramp - hit the brakes just the right way so the regenerative braking works to the highest efficiency.
          sirvixisvexed
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sirvixisvexed
          EZEE, I haven't had the experience yet but it will be the same way with me; a fun game to see how far you can get in EV. I know i'll always be in max regen mode and make a game out of trying not to use the friction brakes.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would appear that Chevy dealers have become very astute at using the Volt as a credible high-mileage prop to get people talking about mileage and fuel economy, in order to sell something far more affordable, yet still bowtie-badged, versus having those sales going to Hyundai or some other OEM. I wonder if these knock-on sales have paid for the Volt development costs.
        PR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        Good post. Good to see that somebody actually understands the concept of what a Halo Car is for.... I hear a lot of people talk about a Caddy branded Volt would have been better than a Chevy branded Volt. But that would have completely ruined the Halo value. Although I am looking forward to the day when the Volt can transition from Halo car to just a mass-production car. Oh, and the Volt development costs? All those costs prior to spring of 2009 went with Motors Liquidation Company (Old GM) and were no longer costs that New GM had to recoup. So we're talking about only around a year and a half to two years of dev costs needing to be recouped with sales. Not so bad, really.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          I like a caddy volt simply due to having people more willing to shell out cash for oak leaves than a bowtie. This could also promote higher sales for the platform, more profit... Remember going to see the Ford GT when it came out. One dealer had 6 of them. The place was packed. Halo indeed.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          The Halo car part is a good point but there is no reason they can't have both a Chevy and Caddy Voltec car.
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          I wonder about the "sales" people as well. Walk into a Honda dealership and they go out of their way to try to convince you NOT to buy the Hybrid Insight, which costs More then the Fit they're pushing.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        I hope GM can develop a conventional hybrid line. The Volt is nice but it is a step too far for many people. However, the conventional gas cars are not providing sufficient mileage these days. GM needs to get into the conventional hybrid market. I know they wanted to leap-frog the Prius . . . and they did. But they leaped past the mass market. They need to fill in that hybrid hole in their product line.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Yeah, people down vote for weird reasons. But the one that annoys me the most is when I just post a fact and it gets downvoted. Reality! . . . booooo!
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          we got downvoted for liking hybrids?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Word up homie.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        Hopefully those same salespeople are becoming adept at selling the Volt as well as the low end ICE. It does take a little work to generate the interest when the up front money is higher but if they point out the potential cost savings over the life of the vehicle to the right customer. The salesperson needs to ask pertinent questions like "What is your everyday commute?" Under 40 miles daily (which is a significant number of people) should be shown the advantages the Volt has to offer over a traditional ICE. If it ends up that the customer's needs are more suited to a Cruze or a Sonic then those are excellent high mileage alternatives. My point is that salespeople are the front line troops of the electric/EREV revolution and their knowledge and ability to sell the future to the people is as important as the cars themselves.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Norway also has big incentives for EVs and gasoline prices that are near $10/gallon. But I gotta say, these policies are brilliant. They are like a smart drug dealer that never does drugs. They sell oil to everyone else and try to use electricity at home. They've got lots of electricity from hydroelectric plants and they are working on offshore wind.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      More to do with the sales success of the Cruze, than the big sales failure of the Volt. GM slipped up they should have launched the Volt as a popular Cruze. Only 603 Volts were sold in January, and 1,023 in February, for a total of 1,626. With such low demand, cars are being produced much faster than dealers can sell them. GM has an inventory of 6,300 Volts, a five-month supply at the current sales rates. A two-month supply is considered normal.http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/gm-temporarily-unplugs-chevy-volt-factories-amid-slow-sales/
        Boyd
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        2289 Volts in March. inventory went from 6300 - 2289 (sales) + 1000 (production) is approx 5100. now there are about 2 months inventory.
        theflew
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        Yet it's the second best selling hybrid next to the Prius. Apparently Honda, Ford, Lexus should stop selling hybrids as well? Launching the Volt as a Cruze would have made it harder to sell since you would have to explain to everyone walking thru the door why the prices are so different. Only a Cadillac would have made more sense, but GM wanted to car to seem accessible to all buyers. As far as supply/demand it's hard to gauge with a vehicle like the Volt. Sure a Cruze with a 5 month supply is huge because you're talking about 100k cars. The Volt with a five month supply could be gone is less than a month with 6300 vehicles. You can't use traditional supply models on a niche ca
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        I'm not negative on the Volt, but I do agree with you in a way. If GM knew the Cruze would be as popular as it has been, I expect they would have emphasized the shared heritage and made the Volt more of an "EREV Cruze".
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