Five Reasons Why The Chevrolet Volt Isn’t Losing Popularity

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2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011

2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011

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According to a recent research article by CNW Marketing Research, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt isn’t as cool as it once was. 

As reported by USA Today, the research firm claims that interest in Chevrolet’s plug-in hybrid electric car is at an all-time low. CNW blames the car’s high sticker price as the main reason for a drop in interest from everyone from electric vehicle fans through to early adopters and regular car buyers. 

But we’re not convinced this is the case. Here are just five reasons why we think CNW Marketing Research is wrong. 

(1) The Volt isn’t sold everywhere yet

Map showing nationwide sales rollout for 2011 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car

Map showing nationwide sales rollout for 2011 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car

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First, claiming a lack of consumer interest in a vehicle which isn’t even available nationwide yet isn’t exactly fair. 

That won’t happen until the end of this year, when deliveries of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will start. For now, the Volt is only available in 19 key markets. 

(2) Very few cars have been made

2011 Chevrolet Volt Production Line

2011 Chevrolet Volt Production Line

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Sales figures alone would suggest that the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is much less popular that the 2011 Nissan Leaf. But there’s a catch: General Motors shut down the Detroit-Hamtramck plant for a month earlier this summer, to retool it.

In other words, very few Volts were made this summer, hence very few were sold. When production of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt started last month, only 11 percent of Chevrolet Dealers had even a single Volt in stock. Only 100 cars remained unsold nationwide.

(3) Advertising is just ramping up

So far, the Volt has pretty much sold itself, with early adopters and electric-vehicle fans in key market areas accounting for much of the car’s sales. 

Traditionally, buyers in this demographic require very little advertising to coax them into buying a product. They're already well aware of the car, and eager to be first.

But over the next few months, as Chevrolet becomes the first major automaker to offer a plug-in car in all 50 states, we expect a concerted nationwide advertising campaign for the Volt. That will markedly increase the awareness of--and interest in--the Chevrolet Volt.

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Comments (13)
  1. Apparently Nikki either is unaware of the Volt's history or is ignoring it to protect the Volt's image. I was an early devotee
    of the Volt concept car and EREV technology. And the price was originally forecast by GM to be "under $30K". I was a regular on the privately-run Volt website. Then the Volt was restyled because the original concept car was very un-aerodynamic. Then the estimated price jumped %50. At that point half of those at the website who had expressed interest in the Volt dropped out.
    In sum, the Volt is now considered by many as too ugly, too cramped, too expensive, too much an obsolete gas powered vehicle.
    THAT is why interest in the Volt is declining - the car simply isn't worth it, even with the massive Federal subsidies.

  2. Another troll post from the biggest EV troll of them all.

  3. Au contraire Monsieur Beuchert. Ms. Nikki has five excellent reasons for the Volt's position in the Electric Vehicle pantheon. I have leased one for four months, and just finding one in New York State was an ordeal that required contacting Chevorlet directly. That being said, the car is aerodynamic, economical, roomy and nothing like a gas powered vehicle, obsolete or othewise. The lease payments are only $400 per month and the theory behind the car (less than 40 miles per day) is pure genious. I now average 160 miles per gallon. The prefomance is first rate, it is eerily quiet and the bells and whistles like the electronics on the dashboard are nicer than BMW or Mercedes.

  4. I can only talk from personal experience, but I found the Volt lease to be a good deal, particularly for my driving pattern (and the fact that it replaces my 1997 Z-28 climate buster, which I kept btw). I have given test drives to some people who were critical of the car, and they came away very impressed. For a family of 4 (I am 6'3) with two young kids, the car is great. I hardly use gasoline (at 202 mpg lifetime). The biggest issue I am finding is that people don't understand how the gasoline engine works. They think the car will stop when the battery runs out. When I explain how seamless it is, they are impressed.

  5. Here are five points Nikki didn't tell you but was informed personally by me: 1) The six studies had an average of more than 8,500 respondents. 2) The studies were done only in states where Volt is available. 3) The respondents had to know of the Volt and at least some of its technology, notably its powertrain. 4)I am a card carrying member of two electric vehicle associations and was the publisher of an EV periodical in the '70s. I drove (and still drive) an electric. 5) The original D2D study was updated four times and in each case, hybrids improved in the standings as components were more widely used while SUVs declined because of lower sales and the continuing abandonment of body-on-frame construction. -- Art Spinella, President, CNW

  6. Hi Art, were you the president when CNW declared the Hummer was better for the environment than a Hummer?

  7. Sorry about that Art, see below for the correction...

  8. Great to see you Kent. It's always good to know which part of the sky the crap is falling from, just so I can cover myself in the right direction. Your colleagues at CNW made just as accurate a report as their hummer is better for the environment than a Prius report from a few years ago.

    They may be right though, down from 180,000 interested with only 5000 made is not the end of the world. Not when there aren't enough for the current customer orders, advertising is scant and dealers aren't looking for a single Volt sales lead yet due to limited supply and few markets (beyond NY, DC, CA, and TX)open yet.

  9. The Chevy Volt is the best technologically designed vehicle in the market.I had the pleasure to drive the Volt last February and it was a great experience.Very solid ride with a lot of power.

  10. Let's look at some "facts". I worked at GM, 25 years & 5 on the EV1. GM spends without control or focus. GM spent $1B on the EV1 & then killed it. The financial people hated it because it was big expenditure with no potential for profit. GM's problem is that R&D type people work on the project and not real production people. This drives costs up very high. Lutz bragged about spending over a 1/2 billion dollars a year developing the Volt. Add cost of new tooling, plant, battery pack plant, engine plant; GM has way over $2B in the Volt. Do they really want to sell it when they lose money on every one? Production last week: Volt-422 vs Cruze-6,400 Malibu-5,000, Impala-4000 Early adoptor mkt? 20,000 tops, GM is doing for Obama's BOD & $'s

  11. I suspect that GM management--almost all of which has been replaced since banktuptcy--might argue that they have changed their stripes, but that's their issue to pursue, not mine.

    I am surprised, however, that if you worked at GM, you seriously compare the sales of a new and very expensive type of vehicle to the traditional volume car leaders of Malibu and Cruze. No new-technology vehicle in its first 8 months displaces those kinds of volume products. The Prius didn't, did it?

    We will see within a few months whether GM is managing to achieve its stated goal of building 4K-5K Volts/Amperas per month.

  12. There are over 1200 Volts available at dealers today. That's 30% more than last week, so the idea that there aren't enough of them is now invalid.

    We will see indeed.

  13. There are 73 new Volts within 250 miles of my zip code (near Chicago, IL). All but ONE of them are marked up well above the $41,000 MSRP (and the one that isn't comes in Cyber Gray Metallic - not exactly a color the Volt buying demographic is lusting after). The highest priced one was $49,180, and that's for a BASE model. Dealers are gouging the heck out of the price precisely because they are in high demand and low supply. $41,000 is a lot of money for a car for most, even with the $7500 tax incentive. Even in the best economic climate, it's near impossible to get people to pay a premium for a vehicle with a higher up-front cost, even if it costs less to operate and has a lower total cost of ownership, let alone this economy.

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