GM "Electric Car is Not Dead" Despite Mediocre Sales
January 17, 2013 7:19 PM
comment(s) - last by
Automaker looks ahead to Cadillac ELR, second-generation Volt
When it comes to sales General Motors Comp.'s (
) Chevy Volt has done modestly,
moving a couple thousands units
per month in good months. Compared to other entrants
such as the Nissan Leaf EV
from Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (
), whose sales number in the mere hundreds per month, that's not bad.
But sales have still been short of the hype that surrounded Volt, a car that was viewed by many as a "savior-car" of sorts for the automaker during its recession troubles. The Volt has suffered a 2011
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
investigation over battery fires
and more recently has been
rejected by some Chevy dealerships
over high tooling costs.
Still, GM is convinced that electric vehicles are a winning proposition. Wednesday night at the Automotive News World Conference GM's North America chief Mark Reuss boldly
, "The electric car is not dead... We couldn't be happier … with the Volt."
The Chevy Volt has seen several sales targets slip. In 2011 GM promised to sell 10,000 Volts, but only sold 7,700. In 2012 it predicted 45,000 units sold, but only moved 23,000. At times the Hamtramck Assembly Plant where the vehicle is assembled was idled.
GM is forging ahead, looking to fill the idle capacity at the Hamtramck Assembly Plant with orders of the new Cadillac ELR, which is essentially a luxury reskinned Volt. At the conference Mr. Reuss revealed that the plant would begin producing Cadillac ELRs before the end of the year.
The 2014 Cadillac ELR will begin production later this year. [Image Source: GM]
He also teased at the upcoming second generation Volt design, which he claims "will be even better". He comments, "We'll get there. We will see the day when we have an affordable electric car that offers 300 miles of range with all the comfort and utility of a conventional vehicle. We're talking about a transformation here. And transformation takes time."
He admits that pricing needs to become more competitive, stating, "The rest of them will come around when technology advances electric vehicles to the point where they offer comparable performance at comparable prices."
GM looks to get more competitive with Chevy Volt pricing when it releases its second-generation successor to its current EV. [Image Source: Autoblog Green]
The determination from the Detroit automaker runs counter to its previous approach from the 1990s, where it debuted the EV-1 only to bail, pulling the plug in 1999 after three years of poor sales. GM was oft villainized for that decision for much of the last decade; now it is celebrated by EV advocates as a key proponent of the advanced vehicle push.
The optimism also contrast sharply with the grim rhetoric of Nissan at the auto show. While Nissan is sticking with its LEAF EV, it's dropping the price (to $28,800 USD) and admitting that so far the project has been a flop. LEAF EV sales were essentially flat, up only 1.5 percent from 2011 to reach 9,819 units. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn admitted this week; "It was a disappointment for us."
Others like Ford Motor Comp. (F) have been more restrained in their EV dive, but have
also suffered poor results
. Ford produced 1,627 2013 Ford Focus EVs, but only sold 685 (42 percent of the stock). Fiskar also suffered a rocky year with its Karma being
panned by reviewers as "overweight"
. The Karma also
suffered fire issues
leading to recalls and
320 of the pricey EVs
were destroyed when Hurricane Sandy hit.
Tesla Motor Comp. (
saw slow sales for much of the year
, but like GM it also delivered a fair degree of good news,
becoming profitable again
late in the year, thanks to the
launch of the 2013 Model S
mid-range luxury electric sedan. The Model S was well received by reviewers who
gave it many awards
for its slick handling and performance.
The Detroit News
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/17/2013 10:17:09 PM
Should have started over two years ago. I would have stuck with NiMH to keep the costs down. Basing this on a Cruze was a mistake. Getting in & out of this is a joke in the first & second row. Once inside it's ok. Smart to make it a hatch. Fail on not styling this much closer to the concept. But come to find out this has the Cruze shortcomings it didn't matter anyways.
1/18/2013 6:42:43 AM
You cannot "stick with NiMH", it is just too heavy vs lithium-ion.
Well, you could make a golf cart.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
Some Chevrolet Dealerships Have Volt Revolt After Price Increase
January 2, 2013, 5:14 PM
Tesla CEO Tweets That EV Maker is Finally "Making Bank"
December 5, 2012, 2:27 PM
Fisker Loses 320 Karmas to Hurricane Sandy
November 7, 2012, 11:41 PM
Tesla Model S: Automobile Mag's 2013 Automobile of the Year
November 2, 2012, 2:14 PM
EV Industry Faces Hard Times, Slowed Adoption
October 18, 2012, 9:45 PM
Tesla Adding More Superchargers, Stores, Service Centers Throughout Europe in 2014
March 6, 2014, 4:00 PM
EPA to Cut Two-Thirds of Sulfur in Gasoline Starting in 2017
March 4, 2014, 5:40 PM
UPDATE: Apple's iOS Comes to Your Car via CarPlay Infotainment System, iPhone 5 and up Supported
March 3, 2014, 3:28 PM
Four U.S. States Fighting Over Tesla Motors' Gigafactory Location
March 3, 2014, 12:26 PM
Ford: We're "Not Married to Microsoft" for Sync Gen. 3
February 27, 2014, 3:56 PM
Tesla Motors' Gigafactory to Help Push Out Half Million EVs/Year in 2020
February 27, 2014, 9:22 AM
Most Popular Articles
Facebook Kills Popular Messenger App for PCs
March 1, 2014, 4:01 PM
Mt. Gox Bitcoin CEO Can't Stifle Grin as he Bows in Apology for Bankruptcy
February 28, 2014, 5:00 PM
Bitcoin King: Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès' History of Arrests, Firings
March 5, 2014, 9:05 AM
Two More Microsoft Executives Leaving the Company
March 3, 2014, 4:38 PM
USAF Moves Forward With Long Range Bomber Program Despite Budget Crunch
March 4, 2014, 9:44 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information