GM: We’ll Wait Until July To Know If Chevy Volt Is A Hit

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Last year wasn’t a great one for General Motors’ first production plug-in range-extended electric car. 

Continued negative press -- not to mention post-crash-test fires and production-line upgrades -- conspired to produce first-year sales figures a little lower than GM had hoped. 

Does that mean the Chevrolet Volt is a sales flop? According to GM’s Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, it’s too early to tell. 

More Time Needed

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress event on Tuesday evening at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, Girsky was keen to point out that while the Chevrolet Volt missed its 10,000 car sales target for 2011 by 2,329 vehicles, it didn’t mean the Volt was a flop. 

“I think it’ll be May or June before we know whether this thing really has legs,” he said. “We are prepared for if it does.”

Dealers Need to Get Behind The Car

First 2011 Chevrolet Volt delivered to retail buyer Jeffrey Kaffee, in Denville, NJ, December 2010

First 2011 Chevrolet Volt delivered to retail buyer Jeffrey Kaffee, in Denville, NJ, December 2010

Enlarge Photo

Despite the Chevrolet Volt fire news stories which broke in November, Girsky said GM is still filling orders from dealers across the U.S. 

But while some dealers are still requesting healthy numbers of cars, some dealers aren’t performing as well.

“I don’t think the dealers are really pushing this car yet, as most of them only have one or two,” he explained. 

As more cars become available and news of the battery-pack safety upgrade spreads, expressed his hope that will change. 

Volt Still A Halo Car

Although sales figures are lower than GM first predicted, many of its first-time Chevrolet customers are making the switch from other luxury brands just because of the plug-in hybrid. 

According to Girsky, the median income of the average Volt buyer is around $175,000. Given the high ticket price of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, that’s hardly surprising.  

“[The Chevy Volt] is bringing more BMW customers to GM than Cadillac is,” he joked. 

Is Girsky Right?

Throughout 2011, the Chevrolet Volt was only available in limited numbers in selected markets.  

With nationwide availability underway for 2012 -- not to mention improved production-line volume -- we share GM’s optimism that sales will improve.

Waiting another six months before deciding on the Volt’s success is a smart move too, especially after GM’s recently announced -- and NHSTA approved -- safety fix should help the improve the Volt’s public image.


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Comments (5)
  1. GM is not going to have an easy hill to climb on this one. When a new car has the problems the Volt has, and its competitors did not have, it is really difficult for it to make a comeback and sometimes it cannot make a comeback. GM may have to smash the Volt name, change the body style a little and put a new name on the car.

  2. The only "negative press" the Volt has gotten that I know of is the car catching fire 3 WEEKS AFTER THE CRASH TEST. Even that, I don't see a problem. The car is just incredible. Once the price comes down (spreading the cost) I think GM wouldn't be able to make them fast enough.

  3. I think the negative press the article refers to is the right wing character assassination of GM and the Volt.

  4. We all know by now GM missed it's number.

    Now it's saying some dealers aren't pushing the car yet because they only "have one or two". Isn't that a big issue?

    Maybe a flawed initial distribution plan...whereby Volts were sent to large 'traditional' car markets, instead of smaller high-potential eco/green markets, created a situation whereby inventory couldn't possibly move quickly because few traditional-market consumers where inventory was available even cared.

    Interesting take on that from the following blogger....your readers may find interesting...

  5. Having driven a pure electric vehicle, and being in a situation that I ran out of battery charge right about one mile from my destination I quickly learned the meaning of range anxiety!

    I coasted to the front a gas station realizing that was not the same as if I was in a vehicle that uses gas. After getting some help to push the car towards their closest electrical outlet only to find it was not close even though I had an extension cord in addition to my charging cord. Talk about frustration!

    Having the opportunity to get into a Volt not only removed any range anxiety issues, but it is really a great handling car that is fun to drive.

    I give the GM team a thumbs up on this vehicle.

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