2011 Chevrolet Volt on test in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 2011Enlarge Photo
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 carEnlarge Photo
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 LineEnlarge Photo
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.