GM Considers Volt Battery Redesign, Halts European Deliveries, Will Miss US Sales Goal, Recall Or Buyback Possible

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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In the comments section of yesterday’s post on the ongoing Chevy Volt fire investigation, I noted that GM might

retrofit Volts with crash protection that can maintain battery integrity in all crash conditions… Mary Barra has said that GM is

“continuing to work with NHTSA to investigate additional actions to reduce or eliminate the potential of a post-crash electrical fire.”

I think some kind of update on the battery integrity front is inevitable, but we shall see…

Sure enough, today Reuters is running an interview with GM CEO Dan Akerson, who says that European deliveries of Opel-branded Volts (called Ampera) would be delayed pending NHTSA’s investigation, and that maybe, just possibly, the Volt’s battery might have to be redesigned. Says Akerson:

We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we’re just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly

Unfortunately, Akerson’s mangled syntax makes it tough to know if GM is really going to redesign the Volt’s battery, or what the “time out” in question means. He does tell the AP [via The WSJ [sub]] that a recall or buyback are options as well. Though redesigning the Volt’s battery could be expensive and devastating for sales, GM’s current post-crash safety protocol is incredibly human resources-intensive, and likely very costly as well. And the fact that GM is even considering redesigning the Volt for safety a year after its release is going to create a huge sales and marketing challenge anyway. Volt production edged down by 199 units in November, and now GM’s sales boss Don Johnson tells the Detroit News that the Volt will miss its 10,000 unit 2011 sales goal. At this point, GM may just want to take a mulligan on the Volt’s first year, redesign the battery, and relaunch the thing.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Dec 02, 2011

    Compressed air has much lower energy density than even old fashion lead-acid batteries and less than 1/12 that of LI batteries!! It is a non-starter today and the petro cartel influence you cite is purely imaginary! GM sales by dealers to customers are up, unrelated to days supply, which relates to factory to dealer sales only. And in response to the "channel stuffing" nonsense- vehicles are ordered by dealers. GM does not ship vehicles without a dealer order! Why did GM gain share while Ford lost share? If it were as you write, Ford should have gained at least some of the lost Japanese share. GM certainly is outperforming second place Ford. You may think that Rattner could have been influenced by a "better" sales pitch, but that is pure conjecture and presumption on your part.

    • See 3 previous
    • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Dec 02, 2011

      Buickman, I'm sure that large percentages of the population believes all sorts of nonsense and bullsh!t.

  • Eastcoastcar Eastcoastcar on Dec 02, 2011

    Let's see. The Chevy "Citation," and the GM Diesel cars. Then there is the Vega and of course the Corvair. Who would believe that GM could develop any new technology for mass market use? They had better stick to basic---VERY basic technology vehicles---and leave the new stuff to BMW, Mercedes, the Chinese, Japanese and the Koreans. GM should produce basic trucks and one or two basic cars for fleet and consumer sales and stop trying to innovate. Make a RELIABLE low cost car GM.

  • Marty S Corey, thanks for your comment. Mercedes has many different models, and will survive. Jaguar is planning on only offering electric models and will be in trouble. They should continue their ICE models as long as possible, but have discontinued the F-Type already and will probably be discontinuing everything else. We purchased the current XF this year, which is a nice car, but would have been splendid if they had just continued the supercharged V-6 in it.By the way, I have really enjoyed your Continental and Eldorado series. Was just showing it to my barber, who owned several 1954-56 Eldorado convertibles.
  • Marques My father had one of these. A black 1984 Pulsar NX with a 5-speed stick and a grey interior. Dad always kept it in pristine shape-that black paint was shiny even in the middle of the night. I swear I could still smell the Rain Dance carnauba wax! The only issue that car ever had was that it was never driven enough-it would sit for 10 days at a time! The Hitachi carburetor on it(and other Nissans of the time) were known to be troublesome. It went to the boneyard at 72K miles when a hole got punched in the block. By that time the Pulsar had long ceased production.
  • VoGhost This is the only new vehicle I have the slightest interest in.
  • VoGhost I love it. Can't wait to get one. Finally, trucks are becoming actually capable, and it's great for America.
  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.