A sub-$30,000 Chevrolet Volt? General Motors CEO Dan Akerson says that could be in the making within a year, Car and Driver reports.

Akerson, speaking recently at a green-technology conference in California, said the company may be able to shave as much as $10,000 off the sticker price of the next-generation version of the extended-range plug-in. He also said the car, which loses GM money each time one is sold, could be profitable at that price.

At just shy of $30,000, the newer Volt would be in the price range of the Nissan Leaf and plug-in Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max models. Akerson said GM was getting better at pulling weight out of the Volt but didn't give much as far as additional specifics. This isn't the first time we've heard the next-generation PHEV will be a better deal. In January, GM North America President Mark Reuss said the company would cut "thousands of dollars" off the Volt's sticker price for the model's next generation, citing improvements in the model's electric motor and battery pack.

Through April, Volt sales were up 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 5,550 units after selling almost 23,500 vehicles in 2012. Sales of the Leaf, which underwent its own price cut for 2013, have more than doubled from a year earlier to 5,476 units.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      MK2
      • 1 Year Ago
      At that price, I'll be pulling the trigger and getting one. I'm on the verge of getting one at current price, but at 30k, I'll buy instead of lease.
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      This sounds so familiar. Who was that guy who kept saying they could be profitable at much lower price? Oh that's right, that was me : ) And let's see a show of hands who agreed with me. Oh that's right, none of you :)
        John Hansen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Huh, because I remember the way this going was that you kept saying "it will fail it's heavy it will fail it's expensive it will fail the sky is falling!" and everyone else telling you "be patient, the price will come down". It's funny how your memory can be selective like that. :)
          Spec
          • 1 Day Ago
          @John Hansen
          The Volt is not a crap car. It has shelf of industry awards proving otherwise. That and two back-to-back years of the highest consumer approval of the car. As usual, you are all bluster and no humility.
          Giza Plateau
          • 1 Day Ago
          @John Hansen
          I doubt I said the Volt would 'fail'. What does that even mean? but it most certainly is too heavy and it most certainly failed to provide a revolution of sales which it could have. And I was entirely right about that. The car is very poorly done and absolutely ridiculously priced. Priced by oil people. And spec, your excuse is entirely invalid. Good engineers don't have to build a crap car before they know aerodynamics and low weight is important. And because they were that incompetent the first time around they will fail again with the second version. I expect it will be similarly heavy and with poor aerodynamics. The problem is that the poor minds that built all the other crap GM vehicles were tasked with doing the Volt. That's like tasking republicans to be reasonable and tell the truth. Why would you expect excellence from mindlessness. You need the same mindset that authored the EV1. People who understand the importance of aero and weight and are generally competent engineers. Not status quo sheep. People from aerovironment did the EV1, not GM. It's a revolution of minds and GM is unwilling. Just putting electric drive in a stupid car wont work. Even Tesla Motors is not of the right mindset. They understand electric drive and performance and elegance but they don't understand aerodynamics and weight and it's weighing them down. Barely staying afloat. Tiniest margin despite 98k$ average price
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Actually, I did agree with you and others did too, except when you trail off into a semicoherent discussion of aliens, it's difficult to want to be considered amongst your concurers. If your trying to be funny it is not well presented and if not then one wonders about their own opinions when they coincide with yours. It's clear, that the Volt could be priced lower. GM told us this when they did the Reuters interview. The cost of materials to build a Volt was said to be $24K (this is known to be going down constantly in particular because the batteries are going down in price). The development costs were $1.2B. At $39K and assuming no other overhead (okay, maybe not correct) that means that GM would have to sell 75,000 to recover their development costs. and at that point they would be profitable. Now, the Volt is not selling well, because the price is too high. If GM lowered the price to $32,500, consumers would be able to get the vehicle for $25K or less depending on what state incentives are available to them, which is an excellent value. GM would have to sell about 250K units to recover their development costs at that price, but that in fact is a more reasonable number for such a new product. Like I said, they may have other overhead costs, but then too, their development cost likely can be spread over several vehicles that will use the same platform.
          Giza Plateau
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          brotherkenny, for one who agrees with me you sure disagree a lot. That they used 1.2bn$ doing a bad car is not an excuse for doing a bad car. we spent a lot of money doing a really poor car so you should be happy paying a ridiculously high price for that bad car. That logic doesn't fly with anyone intelligent, like me. Nor should it fly with you. Light and aero. I've said it a billion times
          raktmn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          A large amount of that $1.2B in costs followed the old GM Liquidation into bankruptcy. So New GM does not have to recoup those costs in sales. The actual math is beyond complicated, and absolutely impossible to determine without having access into both Old GM's books, and New GM's books. But it is significantly less than $1.2 B.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        He is talking about a next model. That will be about 5 years after the previous one. That doesn't mean they could be profitable at a lower price on the current model when it was being created. Technology gets better over time. This is not attributable to you.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        But don't you understand how these things work? You first design your initial model and learn while building it. You do the best you can to build something decent. And then you build and sell it. While doing so, you learn the weaknesses of your design. You learn which parts you don't really need, which parts you can combine, which parts you can replace with a cheaper material, etc. Then using this knowledge you accumulated from the first version, you then design the second version with lots of improvements.
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      at that price I will be interested to buy. I hope they increase the mpg in gasoline operation.
      PeterScott
      • 1 Year Ago
      That doesn't seem like a smart thing to let out of the bag early. Has he never heard of the Osborne effect?
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        I sort of agree with you, but I also keep in mind that everyone paying attention has known that the price of EVs would fall dramatically over time. The companies themselves have been repeatedly saying so since day one. It's just one of those things you have to live with as an early adopter.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      @AM: ABG also resolutely ignore what is happening outside the US, in particular the great reception the Renault Zoe is getting. Here is a link where new owners are asked how they are getting on with their new cars, in French unfortunately: http://renault-zoe.forumpro.fr/t1566-lenthousiasme-perdure-apres-les-premieres-experiences Basically, the owners are thrilled and are NOT going back to combustion engine cars.
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yea spec, gosh!
      Peter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think there is a misquote somewhere. At the same meeting he is quoted as saying that GM is loosing money on every Volt sold. Hard to reconcile the two statements.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Peter
        Not really. The *existing* model is losing money. He's stating the *next* model Volt, redesigned, could make money.
          brotherkenny4
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Your using false logic for a new product. You have no idea how the development costs will spread over the numbers sold and other vehicles using the same or similar platform technology. The cost lof labor and parts to build a Volt is $24K, and they sell them for $39K. How and why is that unprofitable? By your logic no new product can ever again be developed because at first it will be unprofitable. The truth is that when GM accumulates sales of 75K units for the Volt and Ampera, they will have reached the profitable point.
        John Hansen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Peter
        You don't read very carefully. Or write. Loosing <> Losing
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where is the Voltec Equinox? Get on with it already.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Dammit...
        John Doe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        There are three major buyers of EV's: People who want newest tech, people who want reduce their carbon footprint and people who are interested in the economic benefits of an EV. These are not your typical SUV buyers. This is my personal observations but people who drive SUV's aren't trend setters and often purchase their automobiles as a result of fear of perception--e.g. "I bought an SUV because: I don't want to seem like a soccer mom. I don't want people to know I have children etc." These people will be the last to purchase new technology that requires a little bit more of an effort and will wait until the public tide has turned. An Equinox type vehicle would not be a pragmatic to any of the three major buyers I have outlined up top.
          Spiffster
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Doe
          Wow, I had not realized the Outlander PHEV was selling so well. Wow... Good for Mitsubishi! I totally agree with you about electrifying the vehicles with typically the most environmental impact.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Doe
          Well that's one theory, but the Outlander PHEV is outselling all other Mitsubishi models. That one model alone is now responsible for 1/3 of all Mitsubishi sales. They are selling out everywhere and recently had to double production and delay introduction into new markets. The entire Netherlands market is sold out and it's not even available there yet. I think there is a lot more demand for a PHEV than you think. I don't know any SUV driver that likes having bad gas mileage. The greatest MPG gains will come from electrifying gas guzzlers, not compact cars which are already efficient anyway. In any case, with the greatest gains to be made by electrifying gas guzzlers, PHEV SUVs will massively help manufacturers meet increasing CAFE standards. I don't see any other way around it.
        Kei Jidosha
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Chevy’s MPV5 seems permanently MIA. Advantage goes to Mitsubishi with Outlander PHEV.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Kei Jidosha
          Spiffster, Terrible comparison. 1) EVs and PHEVs are for different people and purposes. 2) The second gen RAV4 EV is a California-only model priced at $50k and limited in production to 2600. The first gen was a lease-only California-only model. 3) The Outlander is a real production car that is intended for the entire world market (USA in 2014), priced below $40k, and have a 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
          Spiffster
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Kei Jidosha
          RAV4 EV! True 100 mile range, less than 40K, not a Mitsubishi.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yay! this would be rad. I think the car would sell well. I knew there was fluff in this car and that the price could come down.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      While producing the Volt, GM has learned a great deal about the capabilities and dynamics of producing EREV's. Improving design and simplifying the Volt will lead to price reductions, especially once Volt becomes part of a 'family' of models sharing common components and technology, and amortising R&D. Volt's unprofitably was, in part, created by unreliable suppliers, confused, overly hesitant production runs, over-engineering, safety fears, and a general attitude by many at GM that Volt was little more than an experimental fad. Had GM been less cautious, and copied Toyota's determination with the Prius/ Lexus hybrid program, Voltec technology would be far more established. GM isn't altogether to blame, the Volt has been attacked by the crazy right for inexplicable political reasons, and EV purists alike ! Hopefully, GM will invest more into it's Voltec program. Creating the ELR, a Buick version, maybe a station wagon, and encouraging GM subsidiaries to produce locally designed variations, would see sales start to rival the global success of Prius/Lexus. Part of the problem has been that many GM executives, and dealers, see Volt as competing with existing GM models. GM CEO Dan Akerson, hasn't supported the Volt in the way Carlos Ghosn has supported Leaf. Renault/Nissan has devoted serious resources to supporting the massive capital investment in it's electrification program. In contrast, GM has always regarded Volt as a hedged bet ! Yet, with Volt, GM has finally, after years in the wilderness, found itself with an technically advanced, brilliantly engineered, winner! . Dan Akerson should learn a lesson from Elon Musk, stop fiddling around, and commit more resources into the EREV market segment ! This is the one market where GM's technical advantage can make GM the leader. It takes risk, passion, commitment and real determination to generate the sort of excitement necessary to create a market leader. (and deep pockets). The US auto-industry nearly collapsed due to a lack innovation, and complacency. Dan Akerson doesn't just need to make Volt gen 2 cheaper, he needs to start throwing all GM's huge resources into creating a passion for Voltec technology. EREV's, attract buyers who need the range capacity and versatility of an ICE vehicle, but want something better than a hybrid. This is a very big market. Now is the time for the Detroit manufacturer to seize the day ! It will be too late once the Japanese, German and French and PRC owned Swedes have caught up, and are offering similar technology ! GM should not be ashamed to have the US people as a shareholder ! In fact, it should be a point of pride, put an 'Old Glory' badge on every Volt ! ( Renault's largest shareholder is the French Government). Elon Musk maybe a bit over the top at times, but no one could doubt his passion and commitment ? Who can't admire Carlos Ghosn's determination ? It's time for GM to find someone to fight for Volt in the same way.
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Yes, in fact many components of the Volt are used in the Spark. GM's Voltec R&D can be used for both BEV and PHEV vehicles.
          Spec
          • 1 Day Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          Yep . . . and they need to have both BEV and PHEV vehicles. Actually, they need a whole spectrum . . . plain ICE, hybrid, PHEV, and BEV.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Government ownership of GM shares causes a direct conflict of interest when the government wants to award a contract for fleet cars or write a law that affects the automotive industry.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          @ Actionable Mango This is a view that seems to be exclusively American ! Every other government in the world is involved in national industries of economic importance. The French government actively supports Renault's electrification programme, while remaining a 15% shareholder. People understand that loans require equity capital. The US government and and State agencies tender systems, are quite capable of being open and fair without any conflict. The US, like all governments, owns thousands of assets, directly or indirectly invests in thousands of US enterprises. When the government invests, it does so as a 'trustee' of the taxpayers. The government agency is bound by the same rules and regulation as any other taxpayer. The government agency must openly declare any conflict of interest, but this is easily accommodated for by the independence and integrity of the public service from government political policy. The Governments first, and overriding interest is obeying the will of the American people, not ensuring an easy ride for foreign competition ! Only in America is it shocking to some extreme right-wing advocates, for the US taxpayer to invest in national industries. (Investment, not ownership).
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ranger, you're probably right. I'm using the translated numbers being bounced around, but those are based on Japanese and European test cycles which are ridiculously generous.
      Spiffster
      • 1 Year Ago
      I say, make it happen! I could care less what it does to the value of my Volt! Im gonna keep it until the wheels fall off anyway. Why not let other people join in the EV fun!
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