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Strong demand for the Volt partly to blame for inventory issues

Chevrolet has been doing surprisingly well with sales of its Volt extended range electric vehicle. In fact, Chevrolet has repeatedly set sales records for the Volt this year. Back in August, Chevrolet set a single month sales record for the Volt and then beat that record again in October.

In November of this year, Chevrolet sold 1,519 Volt vehicles, which represented a 33% increase over November of 2011. However, the number of cars sold in November was roughly half the number Chevrolet sold in October and September when the company sold 2,961 and 2,851 Volts respectively.
 
Chevrolet says that the problem with sales declining isn't that demand for the vehicle is waning; it's that demand is too high. Part of the reason sales declined so much in November was due to low inventory that was felt particularly hard in California.

According to Don Johnson, Chevrolet VP of Sales and Service, the California market where GM sells 34% of all the Volts it produces recently had only an 8-day supply the vehicle. General Motors has been able to up production of the vehicle and currently has up to 23 days supply for California and about 60 days across the US. According to Johnson, that volume level is ideal.

 
General Motors has sold 20,828 Volts so far this year.

Another potential issue that could have contributed to low supply of the Volt was that the assembly plant where the Volt is produced was idled to retool for production of 2014 Chevrolet Impala. That plant idling combined with stronger-than-expected sales led to problems with inventory.

While General Motors struggles with supplies for its popular Volt, competitor Ford is doing very well with its new C-Max plug-in hybrid. Ford reports that it has sold 8,999 C-Max hybrids and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids in only two months. The most popular region for the car is Southern California according to Ford. 

Sources: Detroit News, General Motors, Ford



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2 things
By GulWestfale on 12/4/2012 1:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
1- wow, GM hired don johnson? is he partnered up with philip michael thomas? will future cars only come in pastel colors?

2- even this 33% increase is still far behind the (equally boring to me) prius. GM might say that this thing is doing well because that's their job, but measured by its competition in the eco-friendly market segment, it's a failure. and not just because it looks like an 80's sci-fi movie prop.




RE: 2 things
By GulWestfale on 12/4/2012 1:56:42 PM , Rating: 3
i mean, the fact that they stopped production to switch the line over for the new impala tells you that they knew this thing isn't selling.


RE: 2 things
By geddarkstorm on 12/4/2012 2:30:14 PM , Rating: 1
That's the most compelling piece of evidence, I agree. Business decisions speak louder than PR puff.


RE: 2 things
By Mint on 12/4/2012 6:18:32 PM , Rating: 5
It's doing better than the Prius Plug in. It's also ramping up in sales faster than the Prius did at it's introduction a decade ago. Two years after the Prius hit US soil, it was only selling 2k per month.
http://www.transportation.anl.gov/technology_analy...

Hybrids as a whole are at 6% of car sales now, up from the 4% it was at last year. Their share is increasing faster than ever before. It's nonsense to write them off at this point.


RE: 2 things
By TSS on 12/5/2012 12:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
The prius was also the first hybrid, with no government incentives at first, while gas was a whole lot cheaper then it is now or has been since. But nevermind that.

Yay volt! 20,828 sold this year! That means GM made -$1 billion! woo!

....wait a minute. Is that a minus? Why, yes it is!

http://theweek.com/article/index/233140/the-chevy-...

Good thing people have such a short term memory they forget GM said, long before the financial crisis, the volt was ment as a engineering first step into electric vehicles, which it does very well by the way.

Then the government steps in and suddenly, if anything GM fails, the government fails, so the volt has to be a sales "success". Which it now is, at any cost, which happens to be atleast a billion this year. Not counting ofcourse the money spent advertising the damn thing.

Except for the engineering part, the volt is an utter failure. By now, it was supposed to be dead and buried while we hailed it's successor as the best thing like sliced bread, yet i've not heard anything about a volt replacement. Once again cementing the fact the government has no vision forward (yet they will spend everything to preserve what they already have).

But hey! Each country gets the government it deserves, right?


RE: 2 things
By Mint on 12/5/2012 2:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Read articles with a little more critical thought.

Last year the Volt lost $250k each. Then it was $50k loss. Most recently it was $30k loss per car. Do you know why? Look at the source article:
quote:
It currently costs GM "at least" $75,000 to build the Volt, including development costs

What kind of an "analyst" divides development costs only over current sales? By that ridiculous logic, the new Fusion is losing tens of thousands per vehicle as well. I can't believe this nonsense math keeps being rehashed.

Read this for a more reasonable estimation of the Volt's cost:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/09/10/the...


RE: 2 things
By spread on 12/4/2012 8:46:58 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe that could be another GM quality business decision.


RE: 2 things
By Jeffk464 on 12/4/2012 2:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
I find the styling much more acceptable on the volt, I don't know if it gets past boring but its at least closer.


RE: 2 things
By Jeffk464 on 12/4/2012 3:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
I would feel most uncool driving a prius and I don't feel the same way about the volt at all.


RE: 2 things
By Samus on 12/5/2012 3:33:13 AM , Rating: 2
Totally.

I'm seeing them more and more here in Chicago, and have never owned a GM product, but every time I see a Volt, the thought crosses my mind to plunk down on one for my next car.

You can spot their unique style alone a mile away and here in the city it makes more sense than any other personal transport.

Diesel is very hard to find and overpriced, hybrids have poor fuel economy on the highway (where their electric motors\batteries are dead weight) and any other regular car sitting in traffic is guzzling at idle. I ride a motorcycle as well but even then I'm lucky to get 50mpg.

The Volt is none of these things, and considering electricity is as low as $0.04/kwh here because we are mostly nuclear, it costs 40 cents to 'fill up' a Volt for your daily commute.


RE: 2 things
By tallcool1 on 12/5/2012 11:57:49 AM , Rating: 4
The new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid looks better than either of them...


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