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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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RE: what people want
By Nutzo on 12/4/2012 4:32:26 PM , Rating: 3
It's not that people don't want hybrids, it's that they just don't make fiscal sense for most people.

Hybrids usually cost $4,000 to $7,000 more than a similarly equipped 4 cyl ice vehicle.

I you mainly drive highways, your mileage will not be much better with a hybrid. Same if you drive less that 7,000 a year, especially if you usually make short trips (2-3 miles), as it doesn’t give the hybrid time to warm up.
(on hybrids the engine initially runs until it has warmed up, one of the reasons the mileage drops during cold winter days.)

The main reason so many Volts are being sold in California is due to the car-pool lane stickers.

Buy a Volt (or other plugin), and you get to use the car pool lanes and bypass traffic. So, the wealthy executives who want to save time in traffic simply by a Volt for their work commute, and save the BMW for the weekends.


RE: what people want
By Norseman4 on 12/4/2012 7:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
If I wanted to access the HOV, car-pool and express lanes, I wouldn't get a Volt, I'd get a motorcycle. (All are open access to all motorcycles as long as any federal money went in to building it.)

...

Oh, wait, already have one.
(And some places, toll-roads are free for the 2 wheeled set.)


RE: what people want
By Dr of crap on 12/5/2012 8:14:04 AM , Rating: 1
NO!
It's that after over 20 years NO ONE want s a small car.
SUV, van, crossover, what ever the word that they want to use now, bigger car that fits 4 or more with room for grocery bags, THAT'S what people want.

The mpgs don't matter any longer after everyone has gotten comfortable with $4 gas.

And yes the cost of hybrids has to play into it, but not if your not even considering it in the first place!


RE: what people want
By Nutzo on 12/5/2012 11:10:18 AM , Rating: 2
Not all hybrids are small, Toyota has the Camry Hybrid for example.

However it still comes down to price. Due to my short work commute, at $4/gal gas it would take me over 9 year just to break even if I bought a Camry Hybrid over the standard 4cy ICE. Part of that is due to the higher price of the car, and part is due to the higher insurance costs.

If the payback was around 3 years, I'd probably buy one. But at 9+ years, it just doesn't make sense.


RE: what people want
By Shig on 12/5/2012 2:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Take a look at the new 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid, but the original poster probably never will. It's easy to bash a niche market.


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