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Chevrolet Volt  (Source: automobilemag.com)
The production halt was expected to last four weeks, but will resume a few days early

After a temporary halt in March, General Motors (GM) has announced that production of the Chevrolet Volt will start back up earlier than expected on April 16.

On March 19, GM put a halt on Chevrolet Volt production in order to get rid of some of the older versions of the plug-in electric hybrid and make room for those with the recent battery fix. Also, new Volts with the changes made for the California market are making their way into the inventory.

The production halt was expected to last for four weeks. However, new reports show that Volt production will resume a few days earlier than planned. GM has already started notifying Detroit-Hamtramck plant employees, where the Volt is assembled.

It's a good time to bring Volt production back to life, since it seems that Volt popularity has risen recently. In March, U.S. Volt sales shot up to 2,289, which is its best month yet since release. Of that total, 2,129 were sold to retail customers while 160 were sold to fleet customers.

Even former Republican President George H.W. Bush jumped on the opportunity to buy a Volt, and gave it to his son, Neil Bush, as a birthday present.

This surge in sales couldn't have come at a better time, either. The Volt had a difficult year throughout much of 2011 and during the beginning of 2012 due to problems with battery fires.

In May 2011, Chevrolet's Volt caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Volt was parked in a NHTSA testing facility in Wisconsin, and was so severe that it ended up catching nearby cars on fire as well. This led to an investigation into the safety of lithium batteries.

Later, in November 2011, NHTSA conducted three more side-impact crash tests on three separate Volts. Two out of three ended up sparking or catching fire while the third remained normal.

GM moved quickly, offering loaner vehicles to customers and even buying Volts back from scared owners. In January 2012, GM recalled 8,000 Volts off the road as well as another 4,400 for sale in showrooms to fix the batteries. The fix entailed the addition of steel to the plate that protects the EV's T-shaped, 400-pound battery. This aimed to prevent penetration into the battery in case of an auto accident, and would stop both coolant from leaking and would evenly distribute the force of a crash.

The investigation placed a bad image on the Volt for awhile. Customers were afraid to purchase it, and dealerships wanted nothing to do with it since it wasn't selling. Sales plunged in January 2012 with only 603 Volts sold.

But it looks as if the Volt's luck is turning around, with March sales at its best and an early production start beginning in 10 days.

"It seems like we've sustained ourselves through this difficult period," said Dan Akerson, GM CEO. "We hope to get up to 3,000 plus in the coming months and are certainly positioning it."

According to Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, the Volt made a comeback because people are beginning to get to know the car well and understand how it works.

"We're matching production with demand," said Reuss.

Source: Automotive News



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By Keeir on 4/6/2012 6:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
WTH.

Lets examine that Dealer Inventory.

In Feb 2010, GM Sold ~140,000 Units and had a dealer inventory of ~420,000 Units or ~3 months supply.

In Feb 2012, GM Sold ~210,000 Units and had a dealer inventory of ~670,000 units or 3.2 months supply.

NEATO!

Or how about the difference between 2012 and 2010? Its a massive 250,000 units (A very big difference tis true). It was reached over a period of 24 months. That's an average increase of ~10,000 units a month or about 5%.

While the author's point that this restocking effect has overstated the recovery of GM, he doesn't really do anything to prove that it's malicious. GM maintained the same level of inventory in terms of stock in the period he shows.


By Alexvrb on 4/7/2012 10:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
What?? You mean dealers maintain inventory!? I thought they just kept parking lots empty and order a car whenever someone wants one! You can wait to have one built and delivered.


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