Print 49 comment(s) - last by Qapa.. on Feb 3 at 9:37 PM

GM only sold 603 Volts in January

General Motors' Chevrolet Volt has taken a serious beating over the past year or so after its battery fire issues were brought to light, and that beating showed as January Volt sales plummeted.

For the month of January 2012, GM sold a total of 603 Volts, which was significantly lower than December 2011's total of 1,529 Volts. GM sold a total of 7,700 Volts in 2011.

Chevrolet's plug-in hybrid electric Volt had a very up-and-down (but mostly down) 2011. In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a side-impact test on a Volt in its Wisconsin testing facility. Three weeks later, the Volt caught fire while parked in the testing garage, leading to an investigation of the safety of lithium batteries. Lithium batteries can catch fire if the internal cells or the battery case are pierced by steel or another ferrous metal.

In November, the NHTSA conducted three more side-impact crash tests with three additional Volts. Two of them sparked or caught fire while the third remained normal. From there, GM did everything it could to make customers happy, from buying Volts back to offering loaner vehicles to scared Volt drivers.

In early January, GM recalled all 8,000 Volts on the road as well as the 4,400 for sale in showrooms. The automaker added steel to the plate that protects the EV's 400-pound battery. The NHTSA said this fix did the trick, but GM CEO Dan Akerson still had to testify before Congress in regards to the fires.

The entire situation seems to have put the Volt in a bad light for some, possibly affecting the January 2012 sales numbers. In fact, former GM Vice Chairman for Special Advisor Design and Global Product Development Bob Lutz said earlier this week that the media ruined the Volt's reputation with negative coverage. More specifically, Lutz targeted "right-wing media."

"But the Oscar for totally irresponsible journalism has to go to The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, with, as its key guest, Lou Dobbs," said Lutz. "Amid much jocular yukking, the Volt was depicted as a typical federal failure. In attempting to explain why Chevy has sold fewer than 8,000 Volts, Dobbs states, flatly, 'It doesn't work.' He elaborates, 'It doesn't go fast and go far on electricity. What happens is it catches fire.'"

Source: The Detroit News

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No need to blame the media
By MeesterNid on 2/2/2012 10:50:22 AM , Rating: 5
Sticking a $40k price tag on a Chevy Cruze achieved failure pretty nicely on it's own.

RE: No need to blame the media
By rdhood on 2/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: No need to blame the media
By bobsmith1492 on 2/2/2012 12:09:56 PM , Rating: 4
The Volt has a >300 mile driving range and can run on gas like any car. How hard is that to understand... sheesh.

RE: No need to blame the media
By Reclaimer77 on 2/2/12, Rating: -1
By bobsmith1492 on 2/2/2012 12:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I understand why it's not selling. I drive an '89 Bronco II and probably won't ever pay more than $5k for a car. New cars are a total waste of money, especially one for $40,000.

RE: No need to blame the media
By gregpet on 2/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: No need to blame the media
By Reclaimer77 on 2/2/12, Rating: -1
RE: No need to blame the media
By Qapa on 2/3/2012 9:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
People are not stupid and I don't believe that was what was meant.

Still, most people are ignorant of what Volt really is.

And as marketing, if you need to explain, people lose interest - so this won't get across except for people who are reading and looking for it.

Also, even you are agreeing that explaining is a hard battle, just look at the points you mention as negatives that people use not to buy the car:
- "worse than hybrid because more expensive"
-- true, but can get cheaper in the long run, but you'd need to make estimates... no one wants to do that, if you even know that that was possible..;
- "avg person drive more than EV range"
-- that is simply not true, plenty of statistics pointing otherwise. Also if you can charge at your long term destinations (job, shopping, sports, etc) you can get even more EV range (maybe not all right now, yes...).
- "MPG isn't mind blowing"
-- considering this alone is just wrong! This must be combined with EV range. Again.. most people will see MPG and be done with it... they don't know it doesn't mean much alone. Examples:
--- person X drives 45 miles per day, MPG is only a factor for 5 miles a day, or 11%, so not that relevant
--- person Y drives 200 miles per day, MPG is a factor for 160 miles, or 80%, which is very relevant

Are you still reading?

Now the real question is, did every car buyer read about all of this or take this into consideration?

No. So no matter if this is an adequate car for lots of people it will be a hard sale until this knowledge gets more common.


Also, I personally believe that they made a mistake.. of sorts... because they are marketing it as an (ER)EV, which is:
- good for getting the gov. EV discount;
- bad because most people tend to think EVs have very limited range;

And finally, you shouldn't think that most people think like "you", "we", "us", or whatever other "small group of people that read some specific sites". Most people are not here. We are a few, even if a few thousands... The millions of car buyers are not here, not most of them. Most of them don't understand all this.

Hell, even lots of people HERE get p*ssed for some EV explaining and supporting comments (not talking about "it is great because I say so" comments).

So, how the hell do you expect common, uninformed people to know more?

RE: No need to blame the media
By idiot77 on 2/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: No need to blame the media
By Reclaimer77 on 2/2/12, Rating: -1
RE: No need to blame the media
By MeesterNid on 2/2/2012 1:15:54 PM , Rating: 5
hehe, no, I did mean "Chevy Cruze" as that's basically what this thing is...just with more batteries.

RE: No need to blame the media
By StanO360 on 2/2/2012 1:22:19 PM , Rating: 5
He could me Cruze, it's not a lot more car than the Cruze for twice the money, including a generous contribution from you and I both for GM and the Volt in particular.

I for one don't buy GM until they divest themselves from the government and repay the loans.

RE: No need to blame the media
By kmmatney on 2/2/2012 1:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
There was supposed to be a $7500 government rebate for the first 200K cars sold. is that still on?

RE: No need to blame the media
By Spuke on 2/2/2012 1:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a rebate, it's a tax credit.

RE: No need to blame the media
By bobsmith1492 on 2/2/2012 4:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
Same difference...

RE: No need to blame the media
By Solandri on 2/2/2012 7:10:02 PM , Rating: 3
A rebate is $7500 cash back. A $7500 tax credit is equivalent to cash back only if your federal income tax exceeds $7500.

$5800 standard deduction
10% of next $8025 = $802.50 tax
15% of next $24525 = $3678.75 tax
25% of next $12075 = $3018.75 tax

Total $50425 income = $7500 tax

So if you make less than $50,425 and take the standard deduction, you can't get the full $7500 tax credit. If you're married, head of household, or itemize your deductions, the income threshold is even higher before you can take the full $7500 tax credit.

RE: No need to blame the media
By bobsmith1492 on 2/3/2012 9:04:31 AM , Rating: 2
True, I figured anyone who can shell out $40K for a car should be paying that much in tax easily.

RE: No need to blame the media
By JediJeb on 2/3/2012 12:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
I always wondered just how that tax credit worked. For me I would not qualify since I make about $48K(even less taxable because of my 401K contributions ) and really I am considered middle to upper middle class in this area. This really is a rebate only for mostly wealthy people.

Oh and around here there are people making less than me paying $40k for vehicles, though I don't know how in the world they finance them.

RE: No need to blame the media
By Qapa on 2/3/2012 9:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not really, but what is really bad is that, maybe someone getting $30K/year and think about getting this car but you'd pay more than someone getting $60K/year.

This "discount" is to make it easier to get more people to buy this "new tech" so that more people get informed about it and is it easier for it to penetrate the market.

So, how does it make any sense to help most the people that would have the less problem in buying it?!

RE: No need to blame the media
By alpha754293 on 2/2/2012 2:22:38 PM , Rating: 4
That's a $40k car that takes premium gas. I can get a Cruze for like $17k. That's a difference of $23k. And at $4/gal (which is a little high for now), that's 5750 gals. And even for the MY12 Cruze's 30 mpg combined, that's 172500 miles. And that's JUST to break even with the price difference.

Which means if you're an ultra-urban driver, well...a) there are other cars available that can do the job as well, if not better, than the Volt or b) if you're not, the Volt only beats it's Cruze sibling by 2 mpg highway.

The only thing that the Volt has going for it is that it is the ONLY PHEV that's available right now. Fisker's Karma performance is a TBD. (Fisker as a whole is a TBD...) and Toyota's Prius PHEV - well...the base Prius already gets amazing fuel economy (50 mpg combined) for like $24k (the last time I checked), which is only a the cost difference between the Volt and the Cruze. Translated - that means you can by a Cruze AND a Prius for the price of a Volt.

Happy shopping!

RE: No need to blame the media
By sleepeeg3 on 2/2/2012 6:14:00 PM , Rating: 3
Assuming the worst case scenario (25miles on electric, 12 hour recharge time), it would take you 9.5 years to drive that far if you drove the Volt every day, every 12 hours.

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