How's your math? If you have 240,000 "potential buyers" but only 10,000 vehicles to sell them in the first year, what can you do? If you're General Motos and the item in question is the Chevrolet Volt, then you look for ways to seriously increase the number of Volts you can build (and, of course, sell).
That's exactly what CEO Dan Akerson says his company is trying to do, looking to double or triple production rates of this very important car. The problem, according to GM North America President Mark Reuss, is the bottleneck created by the limited number of battery cells that vendor LG Chem can produce for GM. The current plan is to make around 10,000 in 2011 and 45,000 in 2012. That 2012 number has already been increased from 30,000.
Upping the production numbers is good for GM for another reason. According to Steven Rattner, who was President Obama's former auto bailout chief and worked intimately with GM, "At least in the early years, each Volt would cost around $40,000 to manufacture (development costs not included)." GM won't confirm this number, but increased production will get the company, presumably, better economies of scale and thus lower production costs.
[Sources: The New York Times, Automotive News – sub. req.]