Chevrolet Volt product and marketing director Tony DiSalleEnlarge Photo
Less than six months from now, the first 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicles will be sold by dealers in selected launch markets.
2011 Chevrolet Volt pre-production prototype, January 2010Enlarge Photo
Today, General Motors showed a few more cards, releasing news in various presentations on additional early markets, production numbers, and answering questions from interested buyers in an afternoon video press conference.
It also offered details on a promotional "Freedom Trip" PR stunt that will take a Volt from Austin, Texas, to New York City in just four days.
New launch markets
As revealed yesterday, New York City will be added to the list of launch markets, said Volt product and marketing director Tony DiSalle. The surrounding region that includes New York state, New Jersey, and Connecticut will be added very shortly thereafter.
Texas will be added in early 2011 as well. The three previously announced launch markets are the entire state of California, Michigan, and the Washington, D.C. area.
GM will continue to add markets, starting halfway through 2011 for 2012 model-year cars. The Volt will be offered in all 50 states within 12 to 18 months after first sale, meaning by July 2012 at the lates.
Earlier today, a prototype Volt left Austin, Texas, for a four-day road trip that will end on Independence Day in New York City. Stops en route will include Little Rock, Nashville, and Washington, D.C.
The trip will be--of course--exactly 1,776 miles long. Its name, the "Freedom Trip," most likely alludes to one of GM's main marketing messages for the Volt: that it's an electric car you can use however you want, without any range anxiety.
DiSalle's language supported that theme, with frequent references to Volt buyers' ability to "travel very far from home" in the car. He also noted the Volt "can be your primary vehicle" (presumably unlike pure battery cars with 100-mile ranges, which most analysts assume will be bought as the second or third vehicle in a household).
Ad for 2011 Chevrolet Volt running on Facebook, July 1, 2010
The first Volt ads went live today in New York City and Austin, across television, print, and online venues, DiSalle said, though he declined to give specifics.
Production volumes and allocations
GM has been circumspect about Volt production volumes. Today, DiSalle said the company would build 10,000 Volts from the start of production "at the end of this year" through December 31, 2011.
During calendar 2012, he added, it will build 30,000 Volts. Left unaddressed was how many additional Ampera variations (to be sold variously as Opels, Vauxhalls, and Buicks in markets outside North America) would be added on top of that 2012 number.
Within a day or two, he said, GM will begin to inform dealers in the launch areas how many Volts they will be allocated from that volume of 10,000 Volts.