By on March 1, 2012

General Motors sold 1023 Chevrolet Volts in February of 2012, but production figures totaled 2,347 units. Uh oh.

As we all know, GM originally targeted 45,000 units sold in the United States this year. GM only sold 603 in January and just restarted product a few days ago – the discrepancy between production and sales has long been documented at TTAC, and even my second-grader math skills can figure out that sales of the Volt are a long way off from their initial targets.

Hardcore skeptics may roll their eyes at the inevitable retort of “bbbuut…bbbbutt…gas prices are going up!”. Volt apologists are far from the only people worried about this – analysts at UBS, in their excellent February sales report, noted that dealers are very worried about how the cost of a gallon of gas will impact sales, with pickups likely to take a big hit. Nobody buying a Silverado is going to switch to a Volt, but since we all know that perfectly rational behavior is non-existent, and people do dumb things when gas prices go up, the Volt may be in for a bit of a sales spike, right as West Texas Intermediate starts to hit $110 a barrel.

As much as some of the B&B would like, this isn’t another nail in the Volt’s coffin. I for one, am curious to see how the HOV lane approved Volts sold in California will fare – and if demand keeps up once the supply of HOV lane stickers themselves run out.

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121 Comments on “Chevrolet Volt In February 2012: Half Of Production Actually Sold...”


  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “General Motors sold 1023 Chevrolet Volts in February of 2012, but production figures totaled 2,347 units. Uh oh.”

    How many of those Volts are scheduled to be shipped to Canada? There are people up there who have ordered them and are waiting. Some for over 6 months. Also is that 2347 Volts or are there Ampera’s in that mix?

    • 0 avatar

      No Amperas.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Does this oversupply mean that the price will be coming down, so that I can get one?

      P.S. I’ve never been interested in a GM vehicle before the Volt. My practical needs require a compact wagon with room for carseats and some towing capacity, but the new technology under the hood of the Volt is cool enough that such things might be negotiable. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        GM is above the market forces. Sounds like you need a Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @tallnikita: “Sounds like you need a Prius.”

        Got one already. Great car.

        I was hoping that the Volt would make it obsolete by being an even greater car. It hasn’t happened yet (price, gas-only MPG, lack of a middle-rear seat), but the Volt is still a fascinating machine.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      A bit interesting that DK makes no mention of Nissan Leaf sales when in the past, TTAC has regularly compared sales of the two.

      February 2012 sales

      Volt – 1,203

      Leaf – 478

      So, for this past month, the Volt outsold the Leaf by a greater than 2:1 ratio.

      This piece reeks of selective reporting.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    GE is shoving them at their people, that should help a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      GM says they had just 37 fleet sales this month, out of the 1023 they sold. So, GE doesn’t look to be who bought them.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Yes, I’m very lucky, where I work I get to drive any car that I want, they don’t shove no Volt on me.

      Of course I have to pay for it, insure it, feed it, repair it, register it…

      If my current employer “shoved” an ’85 Yugo on me and “forced” me to drive it and they’re picking up the tab – I’d drive it with a smile on my face.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Where do I sign up to be “forced” to drive the Volt as part of my job?

      The Volt is an American technological tour de force. GM has engineered their way around the limitations of electric cars AND put it on the market in a very nice package. It’s a bit overpriced, but it’s amazing how Conservatives can take a triumph of American engineering and make it somehow “bad” and unpatriotic. That’s just screwed up.

      I mean, seriously, the Volt is ENGINEERED in America. It’s MADE in America. It’s POWERED by American energy (most of the time). HOW ISN’T THIS THE MOST PATRIOTIC AMERICAN CAR ON THE ROAD?!?

      Oh, right, because Newt wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to put a gunrack in a hatchback. Sad.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddie

        Much of the Volt’s development took place in Germany (Opel) and South Korea (Chevywoo, the folks who designed the Cruze). In fact, it’s worth noting that the majority of GM employees are outside the US. So if you take the position that the GM bailout saved jobs, most of the jobs saved were not American jobs (yes, Canada kicked in something for the bailout, but I don’t think SK or Germany did).

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “technological tour de force…?”

        It’s a Prius with D cells instead of AAAs.

        The only reason Toyota doesn’t build their own Prius with D cells (they’re moving up to AAs) is because they know the end result would be outrageously expensive and wouldn’t sell.

        GM couldn’t figure that out? Well, actually, I guess they couldn’t… After El Lutzbo and Lauckner had engineered it on a paper napkin, El Lutzbo confidently announced it would be “nicely under $30K.” Bzzzt.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Yes, Volt is a technological tour de force, the most innovative vehicle on the planet. And, for those whose schedules allow all electric operation, is considerably less expensive to operate than any other car. Volt can travel 35 miles for about $1.50 worth of electricity. At $3.79/gallon, a Prius getting 50 MPG will cost $2.65 for gas. As fuel prices increase, Volt’s operating cost advantage will grow.
        As far as Volt development, It is a North American program, with the powertrain work done in Michigan.

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        With an engine built in Austria, a transmission from Japan, battery packs from Korea and Electric Motors sourced in Mexico.

        All for a tally of about 40% US content.

        Maybe the Cupholders say “Made in America”?

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>or those whose schedules allow all electric operation, is considerably less expensive to operate than any other car. Volt can travel 35 miles for about $1.50 worth of electricity. At $3.79/gallon, a Prius getting 50 MPG will cost $2.65 for gas. As fuel prices increase, Volt’s operating cost advantage will grow.<<

        Electric rates are expected to skyrocket, as much as 3x if new EPA mandates against coal plants are enacted. So much for the Volt’s alleged savings if that happens.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “the most innovative vehicle on the planet.”

        LMFAO! Talk about delusional. It’s more innovative than an X37B, a Terrafugia Transition – or even Ford’s Energi vehicles? Don’t forget there were companies modifying the Prius into PHEVs years before the Volt was conceived. Furthermore, the Volt’s EREV is an inferior implementation of PHEV technology which will become more apparent as competing products start rolling out over the next year.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @mcs: “LMFAO! Talk about delusional. It’s more innovative than an X37B, a Terrafugia Transition – or even Ford’s Energi vehicles?”

        Ford’s Energi vehicles are a great competitor to the Volt, and I will be driving one if/when I think about buying one.

        You’re missing the point. There are two slots in my driveway. One is occupied by a Prius, which is a wonderful piece of engineering and an excellent daily-driver. The other slot has been occupied by a Ranger and an Escape — it’s a beater vehicle that is suitable for heavier hauling. Also, we sometimes drive both cars, since the Prius can’t be in two places at once. Filling the heavy-hauling slot is easy — just about any used beater car will do.

        I’m a Prius owner, and a Prius fan. However, my fandom has more to do with the engineering that went in to the Prius, and its practical benefits, than loyalty to a nameplate. Small cars work best for my lifestyle, and I’d love to buy American, but American manufacturers have traditionally neglected my segment. And now GM builds the Volt, which is finally a credible attempt to leapfrog Prius, toe to toe, equation for equation, test for test. The Volt is far from perfect, and it’s hard for a $40k vehicle to compete with the paid-off and time-tested Prius in my driveway, but GM is FINALLY making a credible play for my business. And they got theirs to market before Ford or Nissan. I’d love for my Prius to be made obsolete by a better-engineered car — and the Volt is a credible attempt to do so.

        THAT is the point.

        And, yes, as pch101 pointed out, the Volt is building the Chevrolet brand again. My father drove and hotrodded 57 Chevys for years, but bought his last GM vehicle in 1986. He has been driving Hondas, an Infiniti J30, and Hyundai Sonata ever since — I learned to drive in my dad’s Honda Accord, and it pretty much defines what I think a normal car is. My dad has never looked back, and for good reason. Up until the last 5 years or so, GM didn’t make a serious effort to build and sell my idea of a “normal car”. The Volt has finally gotten the attention of everybody, and put up a giant banner indicating that GM wants to sell small efficient cars, too.

        THAT is also the point.

        All of those people who drive Civics and Corollas to white collar jobs in the city? Those are the people who are going to ask about the Volt and buy the Cruze. While I have yet to drive a Cruze, every indication is that it’s a serious competitor to the Civic, Corolla, and the new Euro-Fiesta. These are the people that GM has been ignoring, and that GM needs to win back.

        THAT is also the point.

        Geeky technology enthusiasts like me are going to test-drive the Volt/LEAF/Energi and start a savings account and while pine away for the day when we’ll be able to afford such a car — I won’t be buying a Cruze unless I can special order a diesel wagon variant. But other guys in my demographic who are older and a bit better off than I am (like the software engineer who built a gunrack for his Prius) are buying the Volt, and seem to be loving it. It’s like the rich geek’s Corvette.

        This isn’t really the point, but it does sell the car, so its important.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      You are correct

      GE “Forcing” Employees Into Chevy Volts

      “General Motors and General Electric are two companies that have been in the political crosshairs lately. GM stands accused of “crony capitalism,” while GE is under fire for paying no Federal income taxes in 2010. The two companies share more than that though, with GE placing an order for 12,000 Chevy Volts and other hybrid vehicles.

      A memo leaked to Green Car Reports lays out GE’s plans for their new fleet of Volts, and as expected, it has some people crying foul.

      The memo, sent to employees of GE Healthcare Americas team explains that all sedan, crossover, and minivan purchases in 2012 will be replaced by the Chevy Volt. Only field engineers are exempt from having to drive a company Volt.

      GE will offer estimates for installation Level 2 Charging Stations, though all-gas use will be allowed when there is no electric option. Any employees who opt out of the Volt program will not be compensated for their expenses. Those who do choose to drive the Volt will be reimbursed for public charging and home charging costs, in addition to gas uses….”

      Source: Gas 2.0 (http://s.tt/15LON)

      http://gas2.org/2012/02/20/ge-forcing-employees-into-chevy-volts/

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        So what? My employer chooses the bathroom fixtures at my office, too, and they’re not ones that my wife picked out.

        My employer’s motor pool is currently stocked with vehicles that I wouldn’t necessarily choose for my personal use either — Impalas, Tauruses, Windstars, Suburbans, Excursions. Maybe even a Panther or two.

        None of these vehicles belong in my driveway, but they suit the needs of my employer.

        GE thinks that the Volt will serve their needs — though I don’t doubt that symbolically building demand for electrical generation, as well as PR, were part of the decision. Fine. Whatever. We all know those are inputs into the way big organizations make decisions. As a geek, I’m just glad they’re subsidizing the mass-production for a fascinating, new, and badly needed, technology. And GM deserves a lot of credit for showing early and with a serious entry, for a change.

        P.S. Showing up with the Volt is much better than the way GM tried to tell us their 32MPG Malibu “Hybrid” was as good as my 50MPG Prius. LOL. The Volt pretty much erases that brand-damage, and the a lot of the brand-damage caused by the EV-1 car-crushing fiasco.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        When I worked for Dupont, we were “forced” to drive on company business company cars manufactured using Dupont materials.

        At another company, I worked for in UK the Ford Cortinas we drove were in company beige and chocolate brown.

        Help, help I’m being repressed!!

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>None of these vehicles belong in my driveway, but they suit the needs of my employer.<<

        As they do GE. GE needs no Volts. GE wants and gets guv favors. Buying Volts the market rejects is part of the process. While I'm sure you know that GE pays no US taxes you probably don't know that GE has been the LARGEST recipient of government loan guarantees, even though the programs were supposed to be limited to banks:
        "Loophole Helps GE Benefit From Bank Rescue Program
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/28/AR2009062802955.html

        If you read the article you will find that GE was given special permission to be backstopped by the guv. Buying half the Volt production is now more understandable.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Maybe I should go back to work for GE, I’d love to have a Volt shoved at me!….LOL

  • avatar
    philadlj

    600 sales in Jan, 1000 in Feb, for two-month average of 800. Let’s just say that’s the average for the year: 800. That means Chevy will sell 9,600 in 2012.

    Here’s where the bright side comes in: remember the 200K limit on the tax rebate? Well, at the rate of 9600 per year, Chevy won’t reach that 200K mark until…2033!

    In 2033, Malia Obama will be 35 and thus eligible to run for President…and we STILL WON’T HAVE FLYING CARS!

  • avatar
    jmo

    Historically GM has always been devastated by unanticipated oil shocks. Strategically, it makes sense to have a few good, fuel efficient cars in the wings when the next crisis hits.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      When gas prices goes up, people under economic duress will buy a Cruze, not a Volt.

      Volts are only for people whose taxes are high enough to utilize the entire $7500 tax credit in one year.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        That’s true, for now.

        But EV prices can’t come down until the economies of scale are built — and the people that are buying Volt’s now are paying extra to do that. That’s what being an “early adopter” means — you get the cool new toy before everyone else does, but you pay extra for a less refined machine. My father in law has spent most of his adult life doing this, for whatever reason.

        Seems like a decent way to incubate a new technology to me. I’m not rich enough to participate, so I drive a used Escape — but, if I could, I’d buy an overpriced Volt in order to pave the way for everyone else, too.

        The Prius has become a regular car over the last decade. Volt-like vehicles well become normal cars in time, too. But, for now, the Volt is mostly for rich early adopter types — and the rest of us will save money on things other than fuel.

      • 0 avatar
        dan1malk

        “…under economic duress will buy a Cruze, not a Volt.”

        Isn’t this what we all want anyway?(Including Chevrolet) The Volt is a low volume, low-profit halo vehicle that gets people in the showroom so the a salesman can sell them a more obtainable, and profitable model.

        The Cruze is that model, and therefor MUCH more important sales wise.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo2

        “When gas prices goes up, people under economic duress will buy a Cruze, not a Volt.”

        I’m not talking about those folks – I’m talking about folks who get annoyed with one too many $100 fill ups. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you want to waste your money on gas. And, many affluent people are early adopters, just the type of people who might be swayed into a Volt.

  • avatar
    galaxygreymx5

    Oh good grief. The plant didn’t even start producing cars until February 6th, so most of those produced are in transit. Volts are also sold under the Chevy brand in a couple other markets (Germany, Canada, for example) so a handful of them are headed there.

    At least in Los Angeles none of the major dealers have any left in stock and the HOV-lane capable Volts in transit are said to be spoken for. The GM site shows dealers stocked with high-VIN# cars but if you visit those individual dealers’ sites they’re shown as “in transit.”

    There’s some new incentives rolling out and inventory appears to be thin. I’d imagine 2,000 Volt sales for March shouldn’t be hard to come by.

    I guess “Volt sales up 264% year-over-year” is a less tantalizing headline.

    • 0 avatar
      overdrive

      I wonder if they have a anti-GM spin meeting at TTAC HQ every morning?

      • 0 avatar
        carlos.negros

        It’s kind of hard to argue that the GM bailout was a failure; so Obama critics have targeted the Volt as a proxy for their anger against the success of the bailout and the survival of the UAW.

        Perhaps the result of this attack on the Volt will be similar to the attack against the economic stimulus, which was starting to work, until the massive layoffs in the public sector.

        Or, it may be like the self-inflicted debt debacle that resulted in the U.S. credit rating being lowered.

        Personally, I think the Volt is very interesting but overpriced. Even after the rebate it costs $8000 more than a Prius. If it were the same price as the Prius, even a thousand more, I would rather have a Volt, just to support the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Where’s the article about falling Nissan Leaf sales?

        478 units sold at a time of high gas prices I would think requires some investigative reporting.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      With gas prices about to rise, how many of those volts have “adjusted market value” stickers on them.

      I went to look at Fiat 500s this weekend (wanted to see if they had any Abarths I could drive)

      No Abarths but AMV stickers of up to $2795 on all the Fiat 500 inventory.

      I walked!

      • 0 avatar
        galaxygreymx5

        When the OMG VOLTS BURST INTO FLAMES nonsense hit I jumped on a non-HOV Volt for $2500 under sticker, dealer had 11 of them and was running ads every week in the paper with discounts.

        Same dealer now has zero Volts in stock and the discounted Volt ads are conspicuously absent.

        High gas prices + end of fire B.S. + positive word-of-mouth + HOV access = increasing Volt sales. When some HOV cars actually hit the ground I presume the things will be gone within days of delivery.

        I’d imagine another price reduction (maybe including some decontenting) is coming for the 2013 model year as well.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        High gas prices will probably lead to an economic slowdown, so I’d think cars like the Sonic at the lower end would be the winners. Not the Volt. March will be interesting – it’s a longer month so even if they were to move 2k vehicles, they’d still have a serious lag in production vs. sales.

        For 2013, the Volt will be competing with a plug-in Accord and 2 plug-in Fords. A tiny market will suddenly be very crowded. If Cruze and Sonic production gets maxed out, GM is going to have to take a serious look at Hamtramcks capacity. How long do you keep producing a slow selling money losing vehicle at the expense of hot selling models.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ADM on a Fiat 500? You are joking, right? Around these parts, you can’t give away a 500…

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        This was in Kirkland WA, the $2795 was on a “Gucci” edition but every 500 I looked at had an AMV sticker. The Fiat dealership is alongside a Chrysler dealer. Few of the the Chryslers had AMV stickers.

        About 20 Fiats on the lot.

        I asked how much the AMV was going to be on the Abarth, didn’t get an answer on that one. Just a smirk from the salesman.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        There are plenty of dealers that will put an ADM on everything in inventory.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve heard the “in transit” line so many times as an excuse for the Volt’s weak sales, it’s lost all meaning to me. Remind me, why did production stop in the first place? Oh right, because there was a 233-day supply of the things as of Feb 1, and 109 days on Jan 1. Det-Ham started cranking out over 2k units per month in August, so the idea that there’s an aching demand for Volts that isn’t being filled just doesn’t wash. If the argument is that GM has done a poor job of allocating Volts, I’d probably agree with that… it seems (anecdotally) like every Chevy dealer either doesn’t want Volts or can’t keep them in stock. But that alone doesn’t come close explaining the Volt’s stubbornly slow sales. It’s the demand, stupid.

      There’s a fascinating comparison in those Feb 1 inventory numbers. On that day, there were 5,500 Corvettes on dealer lots and 5,600 Volts. That works out to a 210 day supply for the ‘vette and 233 day supply of Volts. Of course, these numbers predate the sales uptick in February, but then the Volt only outsold the ‘vette by 96 units (with over 1,000 more units produced than ‘vette). It’s going to take one hell of a gas price spike to make the Volt more than a niche product.

      But then, these aren’t real numbers. We just cooked them up in our daily Five Minutes Hate meeting, in which the assembled TTAC staff twirls its collective mustache, laughs maniacally and dreams up ways to destroy General Motors.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        GM makes money on those Corvette sales.

        They lose money on the Volt.

        Works for me (weak Volt sales) as long as they drive away in some GM product (likely a Cruze – not a Corvette)

      • 0 avatar
        galaxygreymx5

        I don’t think anyone here is under any illusion that the Volt in its current form will sell in CTS or Sonic numbers, let alone Prius quantities.

        That said the car has had a very rocky start for a variety of reasons:

        1. Phased rollout – the car wasn’t available everywhere for most of last year and a lot of inventory was mis-allocated.

        2. Bad press – the Volt had its best month ever just as the NHTSA nonsense got rolling; January and February sales were clearly clubbed over the head as a result.

        3. HOV lane waiting game – GM stuffed inventory in the wrong places prior to the HOV car’s launch. Dealers holding this inventory are dumping it so they can get their hands on the desirable new models resulting in a lot of dealers in the high-volume areas (SF, LA) having few cars to sell.

        Days of inventory and turn time is and will be very valuable information, not a hyperbole headline to get click-thrus.

        Regardless of whether you like the Volt or not (I do, many don’t), it’s just getting on its feet. The car is now available nationwide, the bad press is fading into the past, and the most desirable feature of the car for the highest-volume Volt sales state is about to hit dealer lots in the coming weeks.

        Whether or not that will translate into many sales is an unknown, but “in transit” is valid at the moment. I can only speak of my own experience and that is that many Volts in Los Angeles simply aren’t on the ground right now, the dealer discounts are drying up, and interest in the car seems to be building.

        I think it’s sinking in at GM that the Volt is equivalent to the 2001 Prius, not the 2012 Prius. If the car is a success the sales will build gently, organically, until the company strikes the right balance of price and performance through improvements and redesigns and public awareness and understanding are common. Sales seem to be doing just that if you look at 2012 cumulative vs. 2011. Up 170%.

        The above headline just makes it seem like TTAC is ready to declare “Volt sales 1/3 of initial target!” at the end of the year when GM moves 15,000 Volts instead of “Volt sales double!” It just comes across as needlessly negative and derogatory, and this is coming from someone who is no fan of GM and a huge fan of TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        EN,
        I think the problem is the comparison of number sold vs produced considering that at least some of these are going to Canada (obviously not 500 or a number that puts production close to actual sales). I think reporting days of inventory number would be much better reporting than simply total production and US sales numbers for a particular month. That way you get a better idea of what is happening with those extra units.

        Also, just curious, when this production started up, is that when the HOV Cali units were first made or were they made before this? I only ask to see when/if that will have an impact on sales.

      • 0 avatar
        lmike51b

        Re: Five Minutes of Hate meeting. Sounds like fun. Is food provided too?

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        “At the end [of the Hate], the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted readers chant “TTAC” over and over again, ritualistically.”

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        Are the mustaches of the TTAC staff waxed, and do they curl into spirals at the end?

  • avatar

    Ugly car, stupid price, flawed concept. Gas for electricity… electricity driven by coal for the most part in the US. Obama hates coal.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Agreed on all but the ‘ugly’ part; I like the Volt’s looks, although the interior is very cramped and busy.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      I agree it’s a butt ugly incoherent mess, and entirely overpriced. But the concept and the engineering remains solid. If they put the same drivetrain in a Cruze or Cruze stationwagon I would have bought one already.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      While “clean coal” is still dirty, it takes a good amount of electrical power to run those oil refineries.

      Even more electric power is used to “squeeze” out oil from oil sands.

  • avatar
    charly

    What about pre production for California.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    For what, nearly $40,000? At that price point the Volt is a niche item. Sales may go up as gas climbs, but nothing near what’s necessary to make the Volt a success. In any other political climate, it would be mercifully euthanized.

    Fact is, there are cheaper, better ways to save money on both your car and the gas you put in it. Any Civic, for example. See, if you’re not a rabid Greenie sucking down the kool-ade, you look at the overall cost. $20,000 for any other gas-sipper leaves you another 20 for gas. And that buys a LOT of gas.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Most of the Greenies don’t have much use for this car. It’s too expensive to make a difference.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Also, driving less is far more green than driving an efficient vehicle like the Prius.

        Green cars are for people who want to live a mainstream lifestyle while wasting a little less. A true hard-core environmentalist would ditch the car altogether.

        Lastly, the distance of your commute does more to determines your actual fuel usage much more than what you drive.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        PCH101: “That sort of process will take years, not just weeks.”

        Wouldn’t the idea of a halo car be to short-circuit this process and get some action now?

        If one’s going to take years to build the business, anyway, why not just do it by building superior cars that actually sell? The money spent on Volt development, which is now returning almost nothing in the way of revenue, could have been used in other ways, likely with better immediate ROI.

        “The Volt with which I am familiar appears to be more capable than the caricatured monstrosity that you are describing. I realize that you personally don’t like it, but you don’t provide the objective yardstick for measuring it.”

        I had said, “And if it’s going to be a halo car, shouldn’t it be a good halo car? The Volt has limited seats, uses premium gas, gets mediocre fuel economy, has a medicre CD and it’s very heavy. The Leaf can go about 4 miles/kwh, the Volt manages 2.2 miles/kwh.”

        I don’t think I was unduly harsh or unfair…

        Limited seats – 4. All the compacts I can think of seat 5.

        Is does require premium gas. Really? In an EV? The engine is akin to a lifeboat, it’s not a Formula 1 racer.

        Mediocre CD is not an unerasonable assessment. The CD of the Volt is .28. The regular Camry is .28. The Camry hybrid is .27, the Prius is .25 and the Sonata hybrid is .25. Lower CD means you can build a bigger car with similar drag or jsut get better fuel economy with the same size car. A lower CD isn’t necessarily a win but it helps to get a win.

        It IS heavy. It’s about 3780 lbs. The Prius PHV is 3165. The Volt has a 400 lb battery pack. The Prius has a 150 lb or so pack. Sans packs, the Volt nets about 350 lbs more than the Prius. That’s a 12% weight penalty for a car with less interior room.

        “GM is not in Toyota’s position, so the comparison is a bad one.”

        And why have those Toyota owners been avoiding GM cars? Is offering a halo car going to bring those people back?

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        Except that once the battery is out, the Prius gets 50mpg while the Volt gets 32 (on Premium fuel)

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      But that just bolsters this argument…

      Customer walks into Chevrolet dealer to look at Volt.

      Ends up driving off in a Cruze Eco. Win for GM

      Volt – sold at a loss

      Cruze Eco – sold for profit.

      GM could sell 100K Volts this year they won’t make a penny on a single one.

      If they sell even one Cruze Eco they’ve made more profit.

      As a halo vehicle, it’s a winner.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Ends up driving off in a Cruze Eco”

        What makes you think that ever happens? I walked in to look at the Volt just to see what all the fuss was about. The salesman was surprised to have anyone ask about it. I drove away in the same Toyota that got me there.

        The people that want an EV aren’t going to take a Cruze instead.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        And, while I’m thinking about it, what makes you think they sell the Cruze Eco at a profit?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The people that want an EV aren’t going to take a Cruze instead.”

        That isn’t the point of a halo. By definition, halo cars are used to sell non-halo cars.

        The halo car may have very little to do with the car that the consumer buys. The halo serves as a brand builder.

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        People who can seriously consider a $35K electric car are unlikely to downscale as far as a Cruze. Remember that utility is not (cannot be) the first consideration of a Volt buyer. There is also an ego factor which would suggest that (if for whatever reason they look at a Volt and reject it) they will end up with a Prius for eco-cred or something trendy (read foreign) for the status. Think “I looked at a Volt but ended up with a Mini Cooper – It gets great mileage and it’s sooo cute!” rather than I looked at a Volt but decided to get a Chevy”.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        PCH101,

        But it must have some intrinsic appeal. EVs (IMO) don’t. This one’s just an ugly little car with limited interior room.

        People DO want an EV but only when it’s competitive with the other options.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “People DO want an EV but only when it’s competitive with the other options.”

        This has nothing to do with whether or not the car is a halo.

        A halo is supposed to be an attention getter and a brand builder. If the car increases traffic into the showroom or raises the perception of the brand among some consumers, then it will have done its job, even if those additional buyers don’t purchase anything that even remotely resembles the halo car.

        An example of a successful halo car has been the most recent Z car. Very few of them are sold. However, they build brand awareness, which helps to sell more Altimas, etc. The Altima has virtually no connection with the Z, but it still benefits from having the Z in the lineup. The Z gives Nissan more credibility, and credibility helps to sell cars.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        PCH101,

        I’m not buying it. The only attention the Volt gets is from Faux news. What’s Honda’s halo car? The S2000? How many people even know it exists? Do they buy an Accord on account of it? Toyota doesn’t have a halo car at the moment, unless you count the Prius, which is fully capable of selling on its own merits. GM has the ‘Vette. People who buy Impalas actually care that the guy who engineered their car might park near the guy who engineered the ‘Vette? Does Toyota even race?

        And if it’s going to be a halo car, shouldn’t it be a good halo car? The Volt has limited seats, uses premium gas, gets mediocre fuel economy, has a medicre CD and it’s very heavy. The Leaf can go about 4 miles/kwh, the Volt manages 2.2 miles/kwh.

        The best you can say about it is that it leapfrogged Toyota. Right over a cliff.

        And the market is only warming up to this thing because of price cuts and lease deals. They will sell some in California because the California is going to do something unqiue… they will allow you to buy time with the Volt. The subsidies on this car a piling up massively. That gets attention.

        This is not a halo, it’s a millstone. Granted, they’re the same shape.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddie

        “Customer walks into Chevrolet dealer to look at Volt.

        Ends up driving off in a Cruze Eco. Win for GM”

        Actually that makes sense. The Cruze Eco is basically a Volt with a conventional powertrain. C&D did a comparison test; the obvious biggest bang for the buck choice was the Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Toyota doesn’t have a halo car at the moment”

        Toyota doesn’t need to rebuild a brand that was destroyed over the course of three or four decades. Toyota doesn’t need to prove to the market that it is capable of building a decent small car. Toyota doesn’t need to prove that it is competent with leading edge technology.

        GM is not in Toyota’s position, so the comparison is a bad one. Toyota is an exception, not the rule, while GM not only needs to compete against TMC, but also has to resurrect itself from an image of being a maker of low-tech gas guzzlers. GM must work harder and do better in order to get similar results.

        “And if it’s going to be a halo car, shouldn’t it be a good halo car?”

        The Volt with which I am familiar appears to be more capable than the caricatured monstrosity that you are describing. I realize that you personally don’t like it, but you don’t provide the objective yardstick for measuring it.

        “And the market is only warming up to this thing because of price cuts and lease deals.”

        The car isn’t exactly a bargain. A comparable conventional car costs far less money, even when the Volt tax credit is accounted for. The target group is necessarily small, and obviously doesn’t include you (or, for that matter, me.)

        I am personally skeptical of the Volt’s prospects, but you’re obviously enjoying the trash talk a bit too much. If GM is going to succeed with this, then they need to find some Luke42 types to lay down some cash for it and sing its praises long enough and loudly enough that the potential early majority buyers give the car a hard look.

        That sort of process will take years, not just weeks. It took Toyota decades to build itself such a strong US presence; it’s ironic to praise TMC for taking the long view, while criticizing its rival for not being an overnight sensation.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        PCH101: “That sort of process will take years, not just weeks.”

        Wouldn’t the idea of a halo car be to short-circuit this process and get some action now?

        If one’s going to take years to build the business, anyway, why not just do it by building superior cars that actually sell? The money spent on Volt development, which is now returning almost nothing in the way of revenue, could have been used in other ways, likely with better immediate ROI.

        “The Volt with which I am familiar appears to be more capable than the caricatured monstrosity that you are describing. I realize that you personally don’t like it, but you don’t provide the objective yardstick for measuring it.”

        I had said, “And if it’s going to be a halo car, shouldn’t it be a good halo car? The Volt has limited seats, uses premium gas, gets mediocre fuel economy, has a medicre CD and it’s very heavy. The Leaf can go about 4 miles/kwh, the Volt manages 2.2 miles/kwh.”

        I don’t think I was unduly harsh or unfair…

        Limited seats – 4. All the compacts I can think of seat 5.

        Is does require premium gas. Really? In an EV? The engine is akin to a lifeboat, it’s not a Formula 1 racer.

        Mediocre CD is not an unerasonable assessment. The CD of the Volt is .28. The regular Camry is .28. The Camry hybrid is .27, the Prius is .25 and the Sonata hybrid is .25. Lower CD means you can build a bigger car with similar drag or jsut get better fuel economy with the same size car. A lower CD isn’t necessarily a win but it helps to get a win.

        It IS heavy. It’s about 3780 lbs. The Prius PHV is 3165. The Volt has a 400 lb battery pack. The Prius has a 150 lb or so pack. Sans packs, the Volt nets about 350 lbs more than the Prius. That’s a 12% weight penalty for a car with less interior room.

        “GM is not in Toyota’s position, so the comparison is a bad one.”

        And why have those Toyota owners been avoiding GM cars? Is offering a halo car going to bring those people back?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Wouldn’t the idea of a halo car be to short-circuit this process and get some action now?”

        Do you think that the Prius became a halo overnight?

        Again, step back and check out your score on the irony meter. In the past, you would have been the first to gripe about GM’s die-by-the-quarter short-term thinking that came at the expense of the long term. Yet now, here you are demanding overnight miracles. Try to be intellectually consistent and honest, instead of criticizing GM for the sake of criticizing GM. (And I say that as one who is obviously not unwilling to critique GM when I think that it is warranted.)

        “I don’t think I was unduly harsh or unfair…”

        For the most part, you’re being petty. If your greatest complaints are the lack of a rear middle seat (in a country where most car trips are taken solo) and having a drag coefficient that is comparable to other compacts, then I’d say that you’re more interested in listening to yourself complain than in being objective. As far as complaints go, those are pretty lame.

      • 0 avatar
        dan1malk

        “Wouldn’t the idea of a halo car be to short-circuit this process and get some action now?”

        How’s the Cruze selling again? Seems to me LOTS of action is happening now.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Agreed. It needs to be sold at a Prius pricepoint to be competitive. As it is it’s too expensive by a good $10,000

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        Pch101 –
        You are correct that the Volt is a halo car, but you are wrong as to the intended audience. The halo car for traditional GM customers is the Camaro. The Volt is a halo car for the government, turned from show car into street car to show that GM wasn’t just a purveyor of fungible transportation-mobiles but a carmaker capable of, and aimed at, “Winning The Future!™”. The Volt provided justification to bail GM out because the electric car meme fit the current administration’s vision.

        This pitch is also the reason for the unrealistically high sales projections. To say that , “we’ll sell a few of ‘em but focus on pickup trucks” just wasn’t going to give the government justification to save “an evil corporate giant” (sic) hated by the Democratic left, or justification to save the UAW, hated by the Republican right.

        I can’t believe that a company in business as long as GM didn’t have analysts perfectly capable of accurately forecasting sales of an expensive car like this in an economy like this. However it suited no one’s interests to be accurate. Somewhere there in outer Siberia is an angry analyst tied to a
        chair and gagged.

        Still it saved the company, which arguably is a good thing so even if they never sold another one, the Volt has done its job.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @noxioux: “For what, nearly $40,000? At that price point the Volt is a niche item”.

      Yup — Volt 2.0 is supposed to be more cost-effective.

      The original Volt plan was to make a car under $30k on the first round. They stuck to the 40 mile electric range, and made compromises elsewhere. But, hey, at least they built the thing and are selling it, which is a lot more than GM normally does. They deserve a lot of credit for an engineering “moonshot” that mostly worked.

      But, for now, the Volt is a niche vehicles. There’s nothing wrong with niche vehicles. It costs about the same as the Corvette, and it’s probably shaking loose $40k from from the pockets of people who wouldn’t think of buying a corvette. Nothing wrong with offering a cool niche vehicle that will voluntarily separate a geek from his money, unless you’re a communist or something.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Obviously what was built in Feb is hitting dealer lots, but not everything made in Feb is going to be sold in Feb. The real stat should be dealer supply numbers (in days) for these cars. Track that stat so we don’t have the questions about cars going to Germany or Canada, which don’t show up in US sales but (definitely Canada, not sure how Ampera production shows up) shows up in US production.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “The real stat should be dealer supply numbers (in days) for these cars.”

      With sales volumes this low and a slow launch, that sort of statistic isn’t very useful.

      Suffice it to say, they aren’t making very many, and they aren’t selling very many. There is no way that current sales volumes are producing enough revenue to pay for the R&D. For this to work, it has to be a successful halo and/or GM has to take the long view by trying to incorporate aspects of this elsewhere in the lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Numbers that are produced in one country that are sold to multiple countries don’t show up in these numbers either. Number of days in supply with these numbers mean more. I know that they aren’t selling that many and that they are trying to adjust production accordingly. But looking how many are produced for global sales and only looking at US sales (granted, probably the majority are US sales) isn’t very accurate either.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Number of days in supply with these numbers mean more.”

        It really doesn’t. “Days of supply” is somewhat subjective for a low volume car like this, as it requires a reasonable demand number to provide the basis for that calculation.

        Days of supply is ultimately a demand measure, which indicates whether the car is being produced to excess. There are so few of these being built and sold that it tells you nothing.

        It’s not as if GM is going to crank up Volt production and start dumping the leftovers into rental. This is a low-volume, no-profit venture, not an Impala.

        The fact that they keep shutting down the line is a lot more meaningful. I have my doubts that GM is particularly serious about building a market for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        I still disagree, when you track days of supply, and look at that month to month, it is obvious to see what is going on with the models. Production and sales for a single month doesn’t mean much. Granted, I think we can all agree that the Volt isn’t selling like GM wanted it to. I think the production stoppages are VERY telling of what is going on with this as well. I also understand that there isn’t a lot of demand for this vehicle and that number that I think tracks more is a measure of demand, which I think adds value as well.

        If it was the other case where GM was producing more for other reasons (like selling in other markets not represented by the sales numbers), the numbers talked about in this article make even less sense.

        For instance (not saying it is the case here), but GM wanted to produce 45k Volts this year world wide. If 20k were going to Europe, China, and Canada, you wouldn’t see it in the sales numbers. That is why I am saying days of supply is a better metric. Granted, we aren’t in that situation.

        Slightly getting off topic, I know this plant is also where they make the Cruze. Is it cheaper to turn on and off Volt production or cheaper to keep it going at a slower run rate?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “when you track days of supply, and look at that month to month, it is obvious to see what is going on with the models.”

        To calculate “days of supply”, you must have a demand number.

        I’m not making that up — that’s what “days of supply” is measuring.

        Here, it’s not even clear what the demand is. Accordingly, “days of supply” is not useful, since it can’t be measured accurately.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        I am thinking that it would be inventory (on any given day) divided by a rolling average of sales per day (taken by the past few months).

        From the data listed, can you say what country the cars ended up in? Do we know how many Volts were sold in Canada? Are they selling or transporting Amperas to Europe yet?

        Honestly, I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I am thinking that it would be inventory (on any given day) divided by a rolling average of sales per day (taken by the past few months).”

        Except that it isn’t. Car sales are seasonal, so you should account for the last twelve months of sales.

        For days of inventory to be useful, sales and production need to have both been normalized for that period.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Do we know how many Volts were sold in Canada?”

        Canada is a small market compared to the US. GM has sold fewer than 300 Volts there. It will make no difference in this case.

        “Are they selling or transporting Amperas to Europe yet?”

        GM production figures separate the Ampera from the Volt. The Ampera is not relevant to this discussion.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Sales are only 30% of projected – so what. ;-)

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Aren’t gas prices high enough already? Seems people have gotten used to paying the already too-high cost for gas and as soon as the annual spring time threat of a price hike comes, irrational decisions follow. I say this as some posters refer to the coming prices as high. I thought they already were. Volt or no Volt.

  • avatar
    mzr

    So they’re using the Samsung version of the word ‘sales’?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    gslippy made a good point about likely Volt buyers — folks who pay more than $7500 a year in federal income tax. But if Volt buyers are folks who “do the math” (and I’m not sure the Volt has the green cred of the Prius), the only ones who will bite are those people who figure out that most of their daily car use is within the Volt’s electric-only range. Once the Volt powers up its gas engine, it is not an economical car. So, for example, people in Los Angeles who have a daily 50-mile round trip (25 miles each way) and no charging station at work would probably be money ahead with a Prius (not even accounting for the fact that the Prius is much cheaper to buy).

    Although I would never buy it (there is a long list of cars I would buy first, even if I had $33,000 to spend (the net price of the Volt after the tax credit), actually, I’m a person for whom the Volt would make economic sense, apart from the high acquisition cost of the car. My round trip commute is about 10 miles, and I drive about 100 miles a week. With the Volt, I could do all of that on electricity and still be able to take longer trips to visit my Dad in Annapolis or my youngest daughter in Philadelphia (unlike the case with the Leaf). Of course, for me, it is much smarter economically to buy a nice two or three year old car, still under warranty, which I can keep 8 or 9 years without many worries because of the small number of miles I drive. Fuel economy? When you’re driving less than 100 miles a week, who cares?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      You’ve described the conundrum facing the Volt.

      Commuters don’t drive enough miles to realize a payback in gas savings.

      Distance drivers don’t receive enough fuel economy to justify the price.

      Middle-class drivers won’t receive the full tax credit.

      High-income drivers don’t need the fuel savings, and can get a better car for the money.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You’ve described the conundrum facing the Volt.”

        If that was the conundrum, then the Prius would not exist today.

        You’re approaching this as a late adopter. Products like this are not designed to appeal to late adopters. Late adopters tend to be risk-adverse and focused on cost, not technology. They are not a suitable group of buyers to target for launches of new tech-oriented products.

        The Volt’s challenge is quite the opposite: It is probably not sexy enough to get much interest from technology evangelists, and it arrived on the market too late to attract much interest from ecology-oriented innovators.

        What the Volt could use is a rabid base of tech geeks and greens to spread the word. If those groups are large enough, then it may eventually be possible to appeal to the early adopters who like the idea of avoiding or reducing gasoline use for the sake of it, even if it doesn’t particularly save them any money.

        The laggards who are resistant to change and the late adopters who focus on low prices and guaranteed reductions in fuel costs aren’t worth the effort. Those types of consumers are followers, not leaders, and they won’t pay enough to warrant much marketing effort.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    GM< Obama close enough.

    All you guys unloaded on me,and that is fine, just to follow up

    I am not the only one that thinks Obama's birth certificate is forged.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/1/sheriff-arpaio-obama-birth-certificate-forgery

    RIP Andy.

    • 0 avatar
      WRohrl

      I really didn’t want to take the trollbait but it just cracks me up. If Obama made gas be free, got everybody a job and reduced taxes to zero while erasing the deficit by using magic, you and your buddies wouldn’t give a damn where he was “supposedly” born. Jeez, time to move on.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I suppose. If he wasn’t the worst President of our lifetimes his qualifications wouldn’t be called into question. Makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        CJ – many sitting presidents are considered the worst ever (depending on viewpoint). Often, a worse one is right around the corner. Of course this again depends on the point of view. Besides the obvious legal prerequisite, I just don’t get the birther argument. Or rather, the point of it. What would it solve even if found to be true?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        CJinSD,

        Right now, he’s two wars and an economic meltdown short of worst. Let’s see how he does in his second term.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Cheney, er W, has it hands down as the worst Presidency in recent US history.

        Going from huge budget surpluses to huge deficits with the nation seeing the WORST economic downfall since the Great Depression.

        2 wars, both unfunded (Bush kept them “off the books” so the deficit would look to be bigger than it was under his watch), and one of which was based on lies (the amount of Billions wasted on Iraq is mindboggling, just the amount spend on shoddy or uncompleted infrastructure projects in Iraq is mindboggling – thank you no-bid/cost plus govt. contracts!).

        Really, anyone who thinks Obama is the worst President is nothing but a FOOL.

        Longtime “old school” Republican and fiscal conservative – who just shakes his head at what the Republican Party offers these days?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I’m a proud member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, but the “birther” nonsense has to stop.

      Besides, it’s way off topic for a car blog.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      You do realize that John McCain really was born in Panama, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “I am not the only one that thinks Obama’s birth certificate is forged.”

      My office mate has a coffee mug with a copy of Obama’s birth certificate printed on it. It looks as genuine as mine!

      Controversy over. NEXT!

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        Not that I want to wade into a sharkpit, but what does it matter where he was born anyway? His mother is a citizen and being born to her would make him a citizen by default, no. Or are they trying to say she’s not a citizen either?

        Back on topic, I’ve seen 2 of these cars around the Twin Cities, MN. They look interesting (read: they don’t blend in as much as other cars) and seeing more of them on the road wouldn’t bother me, even if I couldn’t buy one myself.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It no longer matters if Obama is a natural-born US citizen or not. He is the sitting president and he will be the president for the next five years. He’s got his re-election sewed up.

      The GOP doesn’t have any contenders that a majority will vote for. Obama knows it, the GOP knows it and we better get used to four more years of Obama and a do-nothing Congress if Congress remains divided.

      For most of us Obama is indeed a worse president than Jimmy Carter was (if you’re old enough to remember that). But even that is a moot point since America got exactly what America deserved when we, the people, elected Obama, like we, the people, elected Carter.

      As Chief promoter for Government Motors Obama is exercising his bully pulpit to sell more Volts by telling the government fleet buyers to buy Volts and getting his cronies like GE to buy Volts as well.

      But most Americans have decidedly turned their backs on the Volt, choosing a Prius instead, with more than a million already on the roads, a goal Obama and the Volt strive to achieve but never will.

      So the bottom line remains that ANY Volt sold is a good thing but it will never be as earth-shaking an accomplishment as the Prius was in its early days.

      The Prius changed the industry. The Volt not so much. Worse yet, the Volt reminds us of the bail outs of failed companies. Bail outs most Americans were against.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>The GOP doesn’t have any contenders that a majority will vote for. Obama knows it, the GOP knows it and we better get used to four more years of Obama and a do-nothing Congress if Congress remains divided.<<

        I suggest you look at Gallup. Despite relentlessly negative media on the GOP race, the GOP frontrunner currently bests the prez. And that is among reg voters as opposed to likely voters. Dems usually poll much better among the former and GOP much better among the later.
        http://www.gallup.com/poll/152918/Romney-Santorum-Closely-Matched-Against-Obama-Nationally.aspx

        Of course things can change, but a real, solid majority in most polls think the prez does not deserve re-election. O knows that, hence the 24/7 campaigning.

        As for a do-nothing Congress, the Dem Senate has not passed a budget for the last three years – something that is at the core of its duties. Where is the media on that?

        btw, the detroit bailout is a loser for O even in the Midwest:
        http://www.gallup.com/poll/152936/Republicans-Democrats-Differ-Automaker-Bailout.aspx

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        Wow, another post of yours filled with shocking truths!

        Of course the Prius changed the industry. It was FIRST. The second or third or fourth or whatever to have a slight derivative of a major technological shift never has the same impact, it is not possible. In 2007 and before, when you owned GM shares, were you at the shareholder meeting asking about where their Prius-fighter was?

        Of course there are a million Prius’s on the road, they have been on the world market for over 10 years. The Volt has been available for how long? How many Priuses were sold in its first year? Of those, how many in the US? NONE! It was not available outside of Japan for the first year or two to deal with teething problems and figure out how to produce/sell them (kind of like GM is trying here). After that it became a very slow ramp-up over time, albeit helped tremendously in the US by increasing gas prices, and this was all BEFORE Obama took office. Gee, the high gas prices before 2008 ($1.82 on inauguration day was nowhere near the highest gas price that had ever occurred), were those Bush’s fault? If the current ones are Obama’s, then that must be the case.

        Of course Obama would like his buyers to purchase Volts, they are a very visible symbol of the new GM. The American government SHOULD buy cars that were engineered and assembled right here in the US. What would you have them buy instead? Fusions built in Mexico? Priuses? It’s fine with me, the government should promote new technologies, buying Volts is BY FAR less of a waste of taxpayer dollars than plenty of other programs. The municipality I used to live in in California had a few dozen Priuses and Civics. Municipalities my tax dollars supported. That’s crap. My tax dollars should be spent at home, here, supporting the workers that then pay those taxes back into the system. I don’t think Japanese towns/states buy foreign brands, European ones generally don’t. Why should we?

        As far as him pressuring his “Cronies” at GE, that’s just laughable. I see why GE is wanting to buy hybrid (electric) vehicles. The second part of their name is “Electric”, it sort of makes sense. They are an American company. They should buy American cars when possible and they might as well be electric or somewhat electric vehicles. But even if Obama did twist Immelt’s arm, so what? How is it even relevant to anything? GE is a company that is ultimately responsible to its shareholders, not the public at large. The next lightbulb you buy might be a penny more expensive to pay for the rep’s Volt. If you care, buy Sylvania or Philips instead.

        How does the Volt exactly remind one of a bailout? Sure it is a result of it as in it never would have happened if GM went down for the count. I would think that looking at the new car you bought your wife would remind you of the bailout of that other American car company every day even more than the Volts that you don’t see driving around…Obviously you were/are against the bailouts and against the companies that benefitted from them. But then you turned around and directly supported them by buying a Chrysler product. Can’t really have it both ways. Actions speak louder than words.

        You also appear to have a strong anti-american worker bias. I recall your post saying that as soon as Toyota started building cars in the US, their quality went down significantly. You cited “evidence” from “Friends that have Camry’s built in Kentucky” that said it was so. You said your made-in-Japan Highlander was great but when it came time to replace it you would not replace it with an American-made Highlander as they are not as well assembled. In the meantime you own a made-in-Texas Tundra, and now a Cherokee. And you proclaim them both to be excellent vehicles. How is this contradiction in terms even possible?

        You speak in circles… I’d recommend you print out your old posts and review them before commenting on new threads.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    “It’s a bit overpriced,” This has to be the understatement of the week. A bit overpriced! A bit! With its purchase price, how does anybody save money driving a Volt, or aren’t you suppose to save money?

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      You think saving money is the main reason for buying a Volt?

      If cost was paramount in the minds of car buyers you would see a lot more Nissan Versas on the street than you do.. Once you account for the various incentives the Volt is around the average transaction cost of the industry.. getting 1500mpg is just a bonus.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The volt is just too expensive for the average car shopper. The Prius C will be the low cost fuel efficient car of choice. As soon as GM or another manufacturer decides to ditch the ICE and mechanical drive linkage and instead go with electric motor only drive with a gas turbine generator for range extension, I’ll be interested.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      You’re thinking that will be cheaper?

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Yes, significantly so, it’s a simpler system built with off the shelf parts from honeywell/ge/whomever and all GM has to do is build and test the control system. It’s how the aerospace industry has been building for years. GM could have such a car to market in a very short time frame if they were serious about it, they already have the knowledge and package from the volt’s battery and regenerative systems.

        A GT engine has a peak efficiency around 40%, an electric motor around 90%, .4*.9=.396% peak efficiency to drive the car forward. Typical ICE peak efficiency around 20-25%. A GT engine’s drawbacks are that they are not as useful over a wide range of RPMs, that drawback is eliminated when combined with an electric motor.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      Volvo had a turbine electric hybrid concept car in the 1990′s the EEC. Based on the 850, it had a 0-60 time of approximately 20 seconds. With today’s batteries and motors, it could probably do quite a bit better. I’m surprised that no automaker has followed up on this path.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_ECC

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hey, GM, here I am! Please “force” ME to drive a Volt! It would be a great test on my 100-mile-a-day commute! I’ll even accept any color, but would prefer red…

    I do wonder if such a car would make sense for me, though. I know we here in the Cincinnati area have had a very mild-to-non-existant winter, however, my Impala has consistently averaged over 30 mpg, most recently 30.9 when I filled up on Monday.

    I’d gladly take a Volt for a week-long test drive!

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Zackman- Are you averaging 30 overall? That is very impressive!
      If you could plug in at work, you would get 70 all electric miles a day with a Volt. With your hypermiling in your Impala you would probably get even more!
      If you get 70 miles for $3.00 worth of electricity, then get 37mpg for the remaining 30 miles, you would spend about $6 a day. You might even get your employer togive you the buck and a half worth electricity!
      At 30 mpg and $3.79/gallon, your Impala would cost $12.60 a day, or $33 a week more than Volt in this example.

      If you could only get 35 pure EV miles a day, Volt would still save you about $4.50 a day in fuel costs. Take a look at this again when gas get to $5!

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I have no beef with the Volt. The problem for GM is that it has become a symbol of the bailout rather than a Halo car. It does not bring any significant technology to the table over the Prius (Yes, I know bigger batteries, but that is more of the same tech…not new). We’ll see if they stick with it. The first gen Prius sold in small numbers. History shows they won’t stick with it though (EV-1). I think if it were cheaper though it would be a winner. As it sits, still way cheaper to gas up my guzzling, paid for SUV.

  • avatar
    gmbuoy

    Neidemeyer in trans heard before. you are at best unaware of production logistics and sales logistics

    if there is no stock at dealers. true in at least my region or almost no stock. than x production for the month means average age of inventory is x/2. if frictional transit time is equal to 7 business days plus batch hold post production mandatory inspection period. then any professional in the distribution of mass manufactured cars can tell you that there is no way dealers can receive pdi, title, wash and get sold order customer into take delivery where sales equals greater than x/2. so stock orders ? add time for customer to find / decide/ and make decision / finance and clean out the trade . real world a little messy Ed ?
    i can read your slanted anti gm writing everyday, it means that i dont have anything worse to face today ttac

    a gm employee ( per our social media anonymous comment policy)

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      At the end of January, there were at least 3K of them out there already, maybe more, sitting on dealer lots, waiting for some lovin’. One dealer in my area has 10. Each one has been on his lot for an average of two months.

      Ed brought up other points that you ignore…

      GM abused the allocation process, again, with this car. If, as PCH101 suggests, dAays of inventory is a useless stat for a car like this, then it’s likely GM’s allocation process is similarly useless. For the Leaf and Prius and now Prius PHV, Nissan and Toyota took orders and routed cars to the people that wanted them. Why can’t GM figure out to do the same thing?

      And why the long shutdown? The plant was down for about 6 weeks. Were any other plants down that length of time?

  • avatar
    Juniper

    I’ll bet you $10,000 they sell more than 9600 in 2012.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @gmbuoy…..What a breath of fresh air you are. Somebody that actually knows what thier talking about.

    Retired GM Canada hourly.

  • avatar
    D.Smithee

    I think this sales data mainly comes down to pricing and the current economy.

  • avatar
    musiccitymafia

    Funny thing happened today. While waiting in our public school parking lot for my kid to get off the field a 6.3L AMG550 wagon drove in. Nice $120k 550hp ride … wasted on a wagon IMHO. Some people just have too much money. Then a brand new 6.3 AMG coupe came in and parked. These things sure have wide tires. The wagon circled and left. Then a third 6.3 AMG pulled in. This one had dealer plates on it. For whatever it means I couldn’t help but notice that all three were black. I’d never seen them in the lot before.

    While contemplating these beautiful and slick machines, a relatively plain looking silver car pulled out from the other side of the minivan next to me. As I watched the most expensive car in the lot drove away. Yup … it was a Volt. Public investment versus personal wealth I suppose.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “One dealer in my area has 10. Each one has been on his lot for an average of two months.”

    What dealer in the Twin Cities has 10 Volts? If it’s those boneheads out in Wayzata that were asking 5K over list last summer I don’t feel sorry for them.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    General Motors planned and produced 10,000 2011 Volts.
    This compares with Toyota Prius’ first year production of 8,500.

    Chevrolet dealers have sold 9,623 of the 10,000 2011 Volts, or 96% of production, through roughly 15 months. They will sell every one for a first year volume of 10,000 units, exactly as planned.

    With 2,900 dealers spread across the US, even the 5,000 unit inventory reported here is less than two per store, and at these volumes, transit time is significant.

    Despite efforts to draw conclusions about Volt’s market success, largely a function of political interest, the volumes are so tiny it is premature to attempt to do so.

    Volt was not planned to be a high volume or even a profit making vehicle. No doubt they would like to sell as many as possible.

    Its purpose has always been to establish GM Green credibility, demonstrate world leading technological innovation capability, and of most strategic importance, to take the first step in the electrification of vehicles. The architecture is compatible with GM’s main stream offerings and offers flexibility for all sorts of alternative power sources.

    Volt already offers much lower cost than the highest mileage hybrid. Volt can travel 35 miles for $1.53. A Prius would consume $2.76 of $3.79/gallon gas to travel the same distance.

    I did an analysis of a 2011 Regal averaging 26mpg overall compared to Volt.
    Assumptions: 15,000 miles a year, at least 10,000 pure electric, with 5,000 miles in extended range mode at 37 mpg.

    Volt would save me $93/month compared to a 2011 Buick Regal. Makes that $349 lease look pretty appealing!

    the average mid size car owner $75-$100/month, making that $349

  • avatar
    Luke42

    P.S. I want to thank TTAC for leaving the election politics alone for the most part for the last couple of days. The EV debate is a suitable and on-topic replacement.

  • avatar
    texlovera

    “Uh oh” is right:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120302/BUSINESS0101/120302035/Volt-production-on-hold-for-5-weeks?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    Time for the GM deathwatch to resume…

  • avatar
    Mike4703

    Couple of points here:
    1. Every single post that attempts to analyze the cost/benefit ratio of the Volt and then suggest a Prius or something else completely misses the point so stuff those figures back into whatever orifice you pulled them out of. If your goal is to get the cheapest transportation for the money-”bang for the buck”-then no one should buy any new car of any kind. There are so many used cars of all kinds out there, a careful selection of one of those will get you the biggest bang for the buck period. If buying new car, then there are a lot of factors that come into play, most of which are personal preferences, followed by financing options.
    2. Comparing miles/gal between gas and electric is complicated and needs to consider the refill times also. A lot of people still don’t do it right. When you try and do this calculation with the Volt it’s more complicated and most people don’t do it right. For starters the 35-40 mph gal figure for all gas operation (extended range mode) and yes those are the real numbers, doesn’t make too much difference, but becomes more important obviously, the more gas miles you are driving, but Volt buyers are not buying them to run them on gas. It’s not that important. A Prius uses gas at 50 mile/gal all the time if driven very conservatively, and sometimes gets worse. A Leaf gets 70miles all electric but then must charge. If you want to make a longer trip you need to have another car, except in the rare situation where there is a charge station at the destination and you can wait around for the recharge. The Volt will do all electric 100% to 80-90% of the time for nearly everyone. And for the occasional long trip, so what if you’re getting 35-40mph after the battery is discharged? Your yearly gas use is going to be far less than a Prius and only a little more than a Leaf, without all the restrictions. So average mpg of Volt is going to be 100mpg or better.
    3. The Volts little dirty secret is “sport mode.” They don’t advertise this because the Volt is targeted to the save energy market. The Volt is very quick in this mode for only a small range sacrifice. You will enjoy this much more than a Prius or Leaf. Once the driver in you is satisfied,you can go back to standard mode anytime. Also if you are coming to a short uphill freeway onramp, sport mode makes it easy and safe. Prius and Leaf maybe not so much.
    4. The upcoming Prius PEHV does not compare to the Volt. It’s top electric only speed is 62mph, it’s electric range is only 15 miles. And that’s on top of the other perfomance differences. For this you pay a premium of about $8,000. Save your pennies and get a Volt.
    5. Another post already mentioned that the Volt battery is more conservatively cycled than the Leaf and other all electric cars. There should be no battery replacement issues and it’s already 100% guaranteed for 8 years.
    6. The premium gas issue. Premium is recommended because it is chemically more stable in the tank than regular. Considering how little you are usually going to use, not a big price issue. You may be able to use regular on that long trip because it won’t be sitting around in the tank, but I’ll have to research this further.


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