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GM Temporarily Suspends Volt Production, Yet Reports Record Sales

Chevrolet Volt

GM has announced plans to temporarily stop production of the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle for a second time this year for 5 weeks between September 17th and October 12th at its primary production facility in Hamtramck, Michigan. This announcement, according to the Wall Street Journal, was made by GM because lower than expected demand had caused inventory levels to rise to an unacceptable level. GM plans to use this downtime to prepare for the commencement of production on the updated 2014 Chevy Impala. The Hamtramck plant also produces the very popular Chevy Malibu line.  

According to GM sources, approximately 1,300 workers at the Hamtramck plant will be idled during this five week period. But this gloomy news is superseded by a recent announcement made by GM that is much better.


GM Announces Record Sales of Chevy Volt in August

According to a recent story in CNNMoney, sales for the Chevy Volt hit a record in the month of August. According to General Motors spokesman Jim Cain, sales are expected to tally more than 2,500 units for the month of August. This is an all-time high for the Volt since it launch in December of 2010, according to the story, forgetting that the Volt was previously marketed more than a decade ago when the technology for all-electric vehicles was too immature and sales floundered, causing GM to put a halt to production and sales very quickly.

The sales figure of more than 2,500 units, according to Mr. Cain would mark a substantial 35% increase over reported sales in July, and a whopping 700% increase from reported sales a year ago. This bodes fairly well for the future of the Volt. 


Volt Outgrowing Growing Pains

 As a forerunner in electric vehicles, the Volt has had some growing pains. Sales were disappointing in 2011. There were some concerns about fires that were experienced during crash-tests. Some Republican Party members have used the Volt as a political football and attacked the Volt as being a mandate of President Obama.

 However, those days may be in the past, as the rising sales figures suggest. Drivers in California seem to especially like the car, with a strong 30% of total sales coming from this state alone. And, the state of California, giving a nod to the car’s sustainability, started allowing Volt drivers to use the carpool lane on the highway when driving alone in February of this year. This approval spurred the second-best sales month ever for the Volt, with 2.289 units rolling off showroom floors in March of this year.


Dealer Incentives Driving Volt Sales?

Spokesman Cain says that the company feels that the main reason for the recent sales growth is that more consumers are accepting the car and the technology, which is allowing it to become more established in the marketplace.

In addition, Chintan Talati of car sales tracker TrueCar notes that Chevrolet is giving some incredible incentives to dealers. These incentives are allowing the price of a two-year lease to be as low as $169 a month at some dealerships. This is a $110 a month reduction below the standard lease price of $279 a month. Talati says that he would have expected GM’s dealer incentives to provide an even greater boost to sales of the Volt, considering that its $31,500 price tag (after the $7,500 federal tax credit) is pretty pricey for a compact car.

According to GM numbers, the Volt’s battery system is good for about 40 miles, while a gas engine allows the vehicle to travel much farther than that. And the gas engine also provides a charge for the batteries while it is running.