Will GM Sell 120k Volts Next Year?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
will gm sell 120k volts next year

Production of Chevrolet’s Volt was supposed to be limited to 10k units this year, a target GM has already set its sights on surpassing. With 2012 volume projections now reaching 25k units, the next step in The General’s quest to prove that the Volt is a viable vehicle is a staggering goal: doubling its 2013 production target from 60k to 120k units of production. According to Bloomberg, GM has not officially announced the 120k volume goal and may not build that many Volts in 2013 at all, if energy prices and supplier challenges don’t allow it. And though supplier issues could well leave the goal out of reach, even if GM is able to ramp up production to fulfill its 120k unit goal by next year, there are no signs yet that the market will support those production levels. After all, GM is essentially banking on the kind of volume-to-price niche that BMW has taken years to cultivate with its 3 Series… which starts at prices slightly below the Volt’s $41k, and still moved fewer than 110k units last year.

But GM CEO Dan Akerson doesn’t see the pushing Volt volume as a pure business play, but as a strategic hedge. He explains

We want to stay sharply focused on technology. We don’t want to be caught flat-footed as we were in 2008.

And thanks to heavy government support, GM can afford to make those kinds of strategic gambles… although government support has its own hazards as well. For example, GM may be able to build its Volt sales volume to near five-digit numbers… but only as long as it gets a $7k government consumer tax credit which brings the Volt’s effective purchase price into the mid-$30k range. After GM sells 200k Volts, however, that credit will expire and GM will have to sell Volts at MSRP, putting it into the tough situation of having to replicate the BMW Dreier’s high-MSRP, high-volume formula. If GM’s efforts to build production volume brings costs down within those first 200k units, it could then reduce the price of the Volt and potentially have a better chance of keeping sales volume up… on the other hand, if demand remains weak, no supplier is going to jump to reduce costs on a vehicle with little hope for ever achieving mass sales volume. More likely, however, the government will simply re-up the tax credits allowing GM’s plug-in to continue avoiding the market pressures that make EV gambling so tricky.

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  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Jan 25, 2011

    The Volt was a terrific first effort by GM. Sure it's not perfect but that doesn't make it a collosal fail. If GM doesn't rest on its laurels, putting as much effort into the gen 2 & 3 Volt as it did with the original, eventually the 120K units a year and profitability will come. Just not in 2012 or 13. Per some of the previous comments, anyone that doesn't think the Volt is an EV is either your typical TTAC GM hater or walking around with they're head up their ash. Most likely both!

    • See 2 previous
    • KixStart KixStart on Jan 25, 2011

      Caroson Fan: "The Volt was a terrific first effort by GM." It's a compact car with a small trunk, mediocre range-extended fuel economy, only 4 seats and it's $41K. If it wasn't for a giant cash gift from Uncle Sam, midwifed by the Michigan Congressional Delegation, it would be almost entirely unsaleable.

  • Panzerfaust Panzerfaust on Jan 26, 2011

    PS: 13,000 U.S. consumers have paid deposits on a Nissan Leaf. Nissan hopes to move 150,000 units a year worldwide. It will cost $26,220.00 after federal rebate, and offers a 100 mile range per charge. This is the competition GM is up against with the Volt. Like it or not it will also be competing against the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Camry Hybrid, the Nissan Altima Hybrid simply because of the Volt's size and the demographic GM hopes to reach.

  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”