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  (Source: Wikipedia)
Gas prices at $4 a gallon have pushed drivers over the edge

With gas hovering $4 a gallon, it's easy to understand why many drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with their gas guzzling vehicles that drain their wallets on a normal basis. To make matters worse, fuel prices are expected to remain around the $3 to $4 mark for some time, and these high prices are pushing some consumers toward electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt.

According to a study from the University of Delaware, which surveyed over 3,000 people, consumers would be willing to pay for several different electric vehicle attributes. For instance, the UD study found that consumers put a price of $75 per mile up to 200 miles of additional range, and $35 per mile from 200 to 300 miles. 

"This information tells the car manufacturers what people are willing to pay for another unit of distance," said George Parsons, a professor at UD. "It gives them guidance as to what cost levels they need to attain to make the cars competitive in the market."

In addition, the study found that consumers believe the cost of batteries needs to decrease significantly without subsidy. But researchers noted that the current $7,500 government tax credit could "bridge the gap between electric car costs and consumers' willingness to pay if battery costs decline to $300 a kilowatt hour." 

"It appears that even modest electric vehicles with today's limited battery range, if marketed correctly to segments with appropriate driving behavior, comprise a large enough market for substantial vehicle sales," the study concluded.

With this in mind, automakers like General Motors are looking to increase production to meet consumer demand of electric vehicles. As a matter of fact, GM has announced that it will increase production of its electric Chevrolet Volt. 

GM announced the news yesterday, saying it would build 1,000 more electric Volts than previously planned for 2011, and will build an additional 15,000 Volts on top of its target for 2012. This would put the electric Chevrolet Volt's total production number at 16,000 in 2011, and 60,000 in 2012.

In June, GM will shut down its Detroit-Hamtramck plant for four weeks to prepare for added production. Cristi Landy, director of Chevrolet Volt Marketing, mentioned that this temporary shutdown will withhold Volt supplies at dealers through the summer, but will allow GM to ready itself for the added Volt production. 

Of the 16,000 Volts made in 2011, about 2,500 will be sent to dealer demonstration fleets, 3,500 will be exported to Canada, China and Europe, and the other 10,000 will be sold in the United States. As far as 2012's 60,000 Volts go, 45,000 will be sold in the U.S. 

A big question regarding the added production is whether it will create more jobs at the plant. Currently, the plant employs 958 hourly and 159 salaried workers, and runs on one shift. These employees will be laid off during the plant shutdown. 

"We're not talking about jobs yet," said Michelle Bunker, a Chevrolet spokeswoman.

GM did announce last week, however, that it would spend $2 billion at 17 U.S. locations for upgrades, and that this would create or keep 4,000 jobs in eight states.

GM hopes to eventually build more than 100,000 Volts a year. So far this year, it has sold 1,700 Volts, which are priced at $41,000 minus $7,500 in tax incentives.

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RE: Why are they increasing production again?
By Dr of crap on 5/20/2011 8:37:02 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, you are right. But this is summer. Why would you want to sell BATTERY powered cars in the summer??

If you read it right, if you market the car CORRECTLY it will sell to those that want it. So with the media's help, they have inflated the "want" of this car so far. They now have been quiet for awhile, so here's more "news" to keep them in the media spotlight. Then they'll stop production, I don't understand that one, and that means shorter supply, drive that demand up again. All this for a car, a different kind of car, that really hasn't proven it's selling ability yet.

So all you dealers out there, jack up that price. The car is in short supply, make a few extra dollars now while you can.

And all you Volt buyers, sorry you'll have to wait.
And you media reporters, keep the Volt front and center. We want to keep the hype going.

I say let's re-evaluate this after 9-12 months and SEE if the car really sells. Of course if GM pulls anymore of the stuff, we'll never know if the damn car will ever really sell on it merits alone!

RE: Why are they increasing production again?
By tng on 5/20/2011 8:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
You may be right, all of the low production may be that they want to make it "Hard to Get" as a marketing strategy.

That means that right now looking at how many people have are on the waiting lists would be a better long term predictor of future sales. However, you really can't call it a sale until the check has cleared can you?

RE: Why are they increasing production again?
By Dr of crap on 5/20/2011 9:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but the waiting list is a result of hype.
I don't think you can call it demand yet.
It's still the "new factor" , "I need the new thing" at work.

By Dorkyman on 5/20/2011 12:06:13 PM , Rating: 1
Didn't I read somewhere that Messiah has issued an edict that all government agencies will buy the Volt for their fleet needs? If so, there's your increased demand right there. And, if true, a perfect example of how Chicago politicians operate.

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