By on February 28, 2013

GM is planning to build up to 36,000 Chevrolet Volts and other plug-in hybrids for worldwide delivery this year, 20 percent more than in 2012, “two people familiar with the effort” told Bloomberg.

GM sold about 30,000 Volt and similar Opel Ampera cars globally in 2012, GM spokesman Jim Cain told the business wire. He did not want to confirm the 36,000 target.

Bloomberg could not help but remark:

“Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson has struggled to compete against more successful alternative-power vehicles such as Toyota Motor Corp’s Prius. The CEO originally touted the Volt’s gasoline-and-electric system as the technology of the future and forecast global Volt sales of 60,000 in 2012, before settling for half that amount.”

Cristi Landy, GM’s marketing director for small cars, put her own spin on the matter:

“We had some on and off starts with the assembly plant. California, which is our strongest market, was selling great then they would have no products. They’ve run out of products probably three or four times in the last 12 months, it’s been very frustrating.”

Wow! The Volt can’t keep up with demand!


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48 Comments on “GM Vows To Increase Voltage...”

  • avatar

    Maybe they’ll build a few thousand Amperas and include them in the Opel sale.

  • avatar

    As with any car, building does not equate with selling at a good price.

    The production shortage quote is laughable.

    • 0 avatar

      The production shortage would be laughable if it wasn’t pathetic.

      GM must have known for many months that California is their strongest market and there’s good reasons for that (extra tax credit plus highly desireable HOV access). What possible excuse is there for a shutdown and a consequent shortage in their strongest market when Volts are going begging in other markets?

      • 0 avatar

        “What possible excuse is there for a shutdown and a consequent shortage in their strongest market when Volts are going begging in other markets?”

        Ineptitude, disorganization, unclear objectives, lack of understanding the market, conflicts with dealers, lack of communication with dealers, etc, etc, etc.

  • avatar

    Single passenger HOV lane access stickers are one of the “incentives” that keep the plug-ins selling in CA. Take that away and most would see a much reduced sales volume.

    Rewind back a few years, to when buying a new Prius could no longer get you HOV access stickers. The premium on a used one with the HOV stickers was $3000-$5000 more than book value.

    • 0 avatar

      Holy crap mjc, I did not know it was that much. So if the Volt HOV incentive is worth about 3k and the federal tax transfer is worth, what, 7,500? Plus CA throws in 1,500? Wow Californians, nice job. You really are taking the shocker from the Volt drivers. I hope taxpayers who can’t afford the car enjoy being screwed by people who can. Must be fun to watch them fly by in the HOV lane while you are stuck in traffic in your 1993 Sentra.

      I wonder how the Volt would do if they just had to sell it like any other car. Are the subsides endless? What is the total bill now? I suppose we will just borrow some more money to pay for it. What have these subsidies achieved, other than giving a boost to those who are already doing fine at the expense of everyone else? Have they made the world colder? Are we using less energy, or is it just because so many people are out of work? What an epic scam.

      • 0 avatar

        …and how would the Prius of sold without its federal subsidies….

        • 0 avatar

          Not as well as it did. However:

          – That was a decade ago, gas-electric drivetrains were unknown.
          – The tax adjustment was worth $600-700, depending on your bracket.
          – Sales of the G2 took off without Federal tax incentives, because it was a car that made a lot of sense. A tax credit took effect the following year that caused lines around the block.

          In 2007, GM had the advantage of being able to look back and get an idea of what was necessary to sell a different kind of powertrain (basically a Prius with a giant battery but we’ll call it “different” out of courtesy to GM’s fans). Toyota didn’t have the luxury of market intelligence like that. With that advantage and a $7500 tax credit, GM should have been able to develop a car that would sell in decent quantities right out of the gate. After 4 years of brag, they somehow missed out on the product and have been stumbling over projections and build quantities ever since.

          California is their biggest market for very good reasons and they can’t keep it supplied while other markets have a surplus. How is that even possible?

          Anyway, thanks for asking.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            The tax credit for the first 60,000 Prius sales (after it was passed and signed into law by Bush) in the US were worth far more than $600-$700. Try over $3000 for those first 60,000 units.

            After 60,000 sales, its started to head down and the phase out.

            If you’re going to criticize, at least get your facts correct.

          • 0 avatar


            You are correct. The incentive in 2006 was a credit of about $3150 – still less than half that for the Volt.

            However, the Prius achieved 100K/year US sales prior to the introduction of the $3150 tax credit:


          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            Yep…and they had credits before 2006 to help them get to those 100,000 units.


            You can cry all day long about $7500 vs $3000 or $2000 but don’t deny the fact that the rise of the Prius was helped with US (and Japanese) govt subsidies. I’m sure some of those early Prius buyers were ‘rich’ too.

            Early adopters loved the car and kept buying more and they hit a critical mass to move the car mainstream.

            I’m guessing with 90% customer satisfaction that early leasers of the Volt will come back when their lease is up and Chevy will get more new customers as well and sales will continue to increase above the current levels in the US.

            Sorry you hate this process so much.

          • 0 avatar

            Transfer payments from American taxpayers to foreign and domestic corporations and their well-heeled customers. Some people think that is fine, as long as we are wasting money on other stuff as well.

          • 0 avatar

            The 2004 tax incentive was a deduction, which would be worth $666 if you were in the 33% bracket.

            I have this strange idea that $666 is not the same as $7500.

            And it remains an indication of GM’s complete ineptitude that they can’t get 100K units/year out of this – or any hybrid – with someone showing them how it’s done and the Feds lavishing an unprecedented tax credit on each one.

            Discussing production scheduling as though it’s pertinent to the Volt’s lack of sales is an insult to my intelligence.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            I’m not arguing whether its a smart use of money. That is a whole different conversation.

            KixStart has this fantasy in his head that the Prius didn’t have a subsidized launch and was already over 100,000 units when the subsidy started. He is wrong. I am showing him that they had US taxpayer support for many years (2001-2007)and continue to do so today with the Prius plug in.

            Japanese taxpayers also helped during the same time allowing the Prius to have two subsidized large markets to scale their production and amortize the development costs.

          • 0 avatar

            The Japanese government did not subsidize the Prius. Toyota took it on itself to build it because the D3 had been awarded about $1.25 billion to develope super-high-mileage cars.

            Toyota was concerned that the D3 would enter Toyota’s main market and win some sales.

            The D3 cashed the checks, showed off some prototypes and then built bigger SUV factories.

            Toyota built the Prius anyway.

            US Sales of the Prius built up to 100K/year with a negligible Federal subsidy. $666 is hardly the price of an optional and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

            Last year, Toyota sold almost 900K Priuses, worldwide, with no support. With $7500 on each hood, Volts sit waiting for buyers, except where additional state and local givebacks are even more ridiculously generous.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            I never said the Japanese govt subsidized the development of the Prius.

            But, like the US govt, they have had tax subsidies to help sell the Prius for over a decade.

            Here’s an example:


            Here’s an older example going back to 1999 talking about Japanese subsidies helping the sale of the Prius on page 2:


            That was my point.

        • 0 avatar

          Who cares how the Prius would have sold without its taxpayer subsidies? Are we supposed to be in the business of subsidizing Japanese corporate profits with our tax money?

          • 0 avatar


            For the win!

            And how did Cash for Clunkers work out? Very well for our Japanese overlords – very well.

          • 0 avatar

            Thank you APa. Please don’t get me started on fking Cash for Clunkers. Lower income people really appreciated what happened to the prices and supply of used cars, by the way. A twofer.

      • 0 avatar

        Once again the average tax payer paid less than 1/10th of 1 cent of their taxes to this credit. When people say this I have to wonder do they understand that taxes for most things people gripe about (social programs) account for pennies or a few dollars out of their taxes. I’m paying about 4-6K of my taxes to the military then another 3-4 to various social programs that go to states in the form of grants for education and other things. Then we get down to the pennies and dollars that go into food stamps, TANF, and these programs.

        So yeah, the average tax payer shouldn’t give a damn since the average new car transaction price is about 2/3 the price of a new volt and higher than a prius.

        • 0 avatar

          Dude, we’re helping the wealthy buy toys.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Yep and the wealthy pay more in taxes too. Why should they be penalized for their success by working harder than the next guy and not taking the path of least resistance. Or maybe having the drive to take a risk. It’s usually people that have spent most of their lives doing just enough to get by that like to complain and make statements like “dude, we’re helping the rich buy toys”. I’ve worked with plenty of those.

        • 0 avatar

          I think its more the fact welfare is becoming an accepted culture for a greater percentage of people than it did in the past. I’m sympathetic to people who lost their jobs because of over twenty five years of missteps by politicians and greed on the part of big business in de-industrializing the US. But I’m not sympathetic to generational s***bags abusing the system from cradle to grave, and I suspect this is the class most Americans associate with the problem.

          On another note, Education is in need of genuine reform (by which I mean huge cuts), both on the elementary and high school level as well as so called “higher education”. We all like to kick the UAW for its innumerable mistakes, helping speed the demise of GM, and even its relevance in 2013. The bigger problems lie in the teacher and other public worker unions. Instead of attacking healthcare (which is equally ridiculous) attacking “Big Education” would have been far more beneficial to the nation as a whole. But you’ll seldom get sense out of a politician, and you’ll never get sense from a community organizer because frankly that’s not even a vocation.

        • 0 avatar

          How much did the average taxpayer pay for the bridge to nowhere? Or the $27 million the government paid for Morroccan pottery classes? Or the 500k for pet shampoo research? Or the otherwise empty airports being kept open in OK and in PA that costs a few million a year.

          Your defense of “it’s only a few pennies” is happening thousands of times. You need to rethink your opinion on this.

          Our government is bought. This is the result. You shouldn’t defend this stupidity.

          • 0 avatar

            Exactly jkross. One corrupt mess after another, but my pet program only costs ___.

          • 0 avatar

            jkross22 for President!

            The United States Government.

            By the corporations.
            Of the corporations.
            For the corporations.

            In corporate interests we trust

        • 0 avatar

          And most of that military spending is to protect oil supply lines. Why, that sounds like a subsidy – call it the “other people’s kids and money for oil plan”.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, I mean look at all the oil in Afghanistan and thank god we fought that war for oil in Iraq or gas might be really expensive.

            Hell I wish we would fight a war for oil. It would be refreshing to deploy and know exactly what the hell I am deploying for.

        • 0 avatar

          Here is a complete breakdown from the 2011 tax bill receipt on WhiteHouse dot gov:

          National Defense 24.9%
          of which:
          Military personnel salaries and benefits 5.8%
          Ongoing operations, equipment, and supplies 10.3%
          Research, development, weapons, and construction 7.9%
          Atomic energy defense activities 0.7%
          Defense-related FBI activities and additional national defense 0.2%

          Health care
          of which:
          Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) 10.0%
          Medicare physician, prescription drug, and other payments 10.5%
          Health research and food safety 1.4%
          Disease control and public health services 0.8%
          COBRA tax credit and additional health care activities 0.9%

          Job and Family Security
          of which:
          Unemployment insurance 2.3%
          Food and nutrition assistance 3.7%
          Housing assistance 2.0%
          Earned income, Making Work Pay, and child tax credits 3.3%
          Supplemental Security Income 1.9%
          Federal military and civilian employee retirement and disability 4.4%
          Child care, foster care, and adoption support 0.6%
          Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 0.7%
          Railroad retirement and additional income security 0.5%

          Education and Job Training 3.6%
          of which:
          Elementary, secondary, and vocational education 2.4%
          Student financial aid for college 0.04%
          Job training and employment services 0.3%
          Employment training for people with disabilities and additional education and job services 0.9%

          Veterans Benefits 4.5%
          of which:
          Income and housing support 2.1%
          Health care 1.8%
          Education, training, and additional veterans benefits 0.6%

          Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment
          of which:
          Water and land management 0.8%
          Energy supply and conservation 0.5%
          Environmental protection and other energy and natural resources 0.7%

          International Affairs
          of which:
          Development and humanitarian assistance 0.8%
          Security assistance 0.4%
          Foreign affairs, embassies, and additional international affairs 0.4%

          Science, Space, and Technology Programs 1.0%
          of which:
          NASA 0.6%
          National Science Foundation and additional science research and laboratories 0.4%

          Immigration, Law Enforcement, and Administration of Justice 2.0%

          Agriculture 0.7%

          Community, Area, and Regional Development 0.5%

          Response to Natural Disasters 0.4%

          Additional Government Programs 7.9%

  • avatar

    Akerson is no better than Girsky. just another corporate banker type without any more clue, happy to tap dance for the Rothschilds and their puppet fronts Goldman, Morgan, etc. GM is nothing like what it was under Sloan…and the slide into irrelevance continues.

  • avatar

    Love or hate the Volt, it (and other plug-in hybrids) make a heckuva lot more sense in light of all the Tesla Model S tomfoolery. Not financial sense (it still costs too much), but practical sense (i.e., you’re far less likely to end up on a flatbed due to a lack of juice or failure to follow intricate instructions).

    • 0 avatar


      No doubt it makes practical sense to have a gasoline-burning motor onboard. Pure electric makes sense mostly on golf courses.

      Also, you said “tomfoolery,” which by itself is worth a positive comment.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The Volt may be an expensive vehicle, but the Tesla is an expensive TOY.

    I once had a 6 month work assignment in South California. Everything was really great, with the exception of traffic and the long driving distances. A vehicle can become as important as the place one lives.
    I can fully understand how people are willing to pay a hefty bonus for a HOV sticker.

  • avatar

    wow, sales of 36,000 cars – that’s a 20% increase in 1 year – i bet toyota is starting to sweat

  • avatar

    GM production issues on California spec versions for single occupant HOV tags was well documented, even here on TTAC. Why GM doesn’t build them all the same is a mystery, would solve a couple of issues.

    So hats off to twisting the statement on inventory issues.

    The Volt remains the best selling pure electric, series hybrid, and/or plug-in hybrid in the market. Agreed its akin to calling the winner of a cripple fight.

    • 0 avatar

      The person twisting the inventory issue works for GM.

      GM screwed up by failing to make an HOV-legal Volt right from the get-go. They further screw up, on an on-going basis, by somehow managing not to build enough to feed strong California demand on an on-going basis. The difference is on the order of an extra air pump and a hose. How difficult can that be?

      Of course, we can question the exact strength of California demand and wonder if Cristi Landi’s statement is complete BS. There’s a lease offer at Culver City Chevy for Volts $179/mo with $2950 down. That strikes me as an awfully good deal for a car that’s in high demand.

      • 0 avatar

        Didn’t I questions that in my post???

        …Why GM doesn’t build them all the same is a mystery, would solve a couple of issues…

      • 0 avatar

        I wonder if one can get that deal in Kentucky. I need to do some Math but living in Military housing and having my electricity included in the lease combined having a very short drive to work this may make more sense than maintaining my 23 year old Miata and filling it up. Actually I think a Leaf would work except for having to move every few years but I could ship it and probably come out OK.

        A bicycle works too and I have a gas powered vehicle in my Land Cruiser and my wife’s Hyundai but I can’t take the bike to the hardware store or load my kids in it. I would usually take my Land Cruiser but at 4 bucks a gallon it is getting impractical to do anything with outside of its lone purpose of going camping.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, worldwide, the Leaf is the best-selling pure EV, having just sold its 50,000th vehicle. But in the US, the Volt is doing way better.

  • avatar

    Nice Nixon pose.

    • 0 avatar

      Ha. Not a crook, just an incompetent, from a long line of predecessors.

    • 0 avatar

      He is totally doing a Nixon pose. Considering Nixon is the one that essentially laid the groundwork for all of GM’s success in China, maybe it’s a weird way of doing a belated Thank You?

    • 0 avatar

      “I am not a crook…just a humble corporate servant selling Volts.” Nixon sarcasm set aside, in what countries would that hand gesture get me in trouble? Yes, completely off topic, but sometimes the B&B shine best in the segues (no, not Segways).

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