August Set To Be Best Month Yet For Chevy Volt Sales

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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At the start of each month we report sales figures on each electric car currently on sale in the U.S.

Over the last few years, the highest electric sales have been a two-horse race between the 2012 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Chevrolet Volt. And for several months now, the Volt has been leading.

That looks set to continue for August, with The Detroit News reporting that General Motors expects Volt sales of over 2,500 this month.

The figure will comfortably eclipse the model's previous best, when Chevy shifted 2,289 Volts back in March, and with 18,663 sold in total by the end of July, the Volt should finally break the 20,000 barrier in the U.S.

GM also expects 2012 Volt sales to outpace the total number of Prius sold by Toyota in the model's second year, 2001. Like the current crop of electric cars, Toyota's hybrid was initially a slow-burner, but over the past decade the Prius has rapidly become a fast-seller.

Chevy puts the Volt's increasing sales down to improved customer awareness. Demand is currently increasing in some of the Volt's key markets, such as California, Michigan, Illinois and Florida. One in three Volts sold are in California, where the model has also recently been granted carpool lane access.

The company has also built enough Volts to cope with demand while the factory is shut down for four weeks from mid September, for retooling. The Detroit Hamtramck plant which builds the Volt will also construct the new 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

Despite the increasing sales, GM has abandoned its 2012 sales forecast of 45,000 Volts, though internationally the model could hit 40,000 units this year--including its European equivalents, the Opel and Vauxhall Ampera.

The question is, what will it take for the Leaf to start out-selling its American rival?...


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Comments (10)
  1. What will it take for the LEAF to out sell Volt? A price drop. A range increase. $6 a gallon gas. All three. Volt owners pay more for a car with a smaller battery pack but a back up engine. They mostly drive with the battery's range - a LEAF would do for them too - but they carry range-anxiety avoidance insurance, the engine.

  2. $6 a gallon gas will just make people drive less. They're not going to trade their car in for an all electric car that costs $38,000 to save a couple bucks per gallon on gas.

    The Volt is the best of both worlds. The Leaf is not selling because it doesn't make sense. It's not practical, it's far too expensive, and it only does one thing-commute. What's the range going to be in five years, 40 miles? 30 miles?

    The Leaf will not outsell much of anything and this was obvious from the start. Obvious to all but EVangelists.

    A car that gets only 70 miles per charge, takes at least eight hours to charge on 220V, and costs $35,000-38,000 plus another $2000 for a home charge station. Yeah, that'll bring in customers in droves.

  3. I don't think Leaf will catch the Volt.

    Pressure from:
    - US-automaker Ford with the Focus EV is a viable compatitor.
    - range anxiety. Seriously, this is important.
    - no plug-in spots at many workplaces nationally. This country isn't all "Silicon Valley" rich. Many large companies with 1000s of employees who come to work in their campuses every day do not have a place to plug in. I work at one of them.

    Volt makes perfect sense. As Jay Leno and others say "Electric when you want it, Gas when you need it." Volt's sales numbers are also influenced by really good lease numbers for now. Maybe they will route the off-lease units to GE for their big EV purchase order in 2-3 years (rather than buying new, they get cared-for used).

  4. GM is in financial trouble again, going to major banks to borrow $5B in cash. The US taxpayer is looking at a $15B loss in "saving" GM, if the Fed were to sell its 500M shares today. There are leases in Detroit for 2013 Volts for 24 months at $189/month with $1099 down. That is a far cry from last year when they were doing $399/month leases for 36 months. Everything sells at the right price point, just keep lowering it and they will sell, but how much is GM losing on each one?

  5. I saw those short term (24 m) leases at $189/m and wondered what the game play was. Basically GM is getting $5600 out of you (and $7500 from the fed) but loaning you a $40,000 car for 2 years. That can't even cover depreciation.

    Do they just figure that most people will love it so much that they will buy it at the end of the lease?

  6. Possibly, or like my reply above, maybe GM knows the value of the Volt as a re-sale to GE after the initial lease is up? Or that used Volts for $25K will be hot sellers. Maybe Ally is part of the situation where they are helping move Volts (both Ally and GM have big Government financial backing).

    All good though - this is helping kick-start the Electrical evolution. And, most Volt owners love them. I'm one of them. Bought it, did not lease.

  7. Right, I am much more comfortable buying than leasing. Well, I hope this helps move more Volts and allows GM to profit from them.

  8. what will it take for the LEAF to outsell the Volt?

    answer; an effective and convenient quick charge network

  9. I think you need to back out the sales to GE and the Federal Government of Volts before comparing them to the Prius.

  10. According to hybrid more than 90% of the Volt sales are to private owners... So, can you stop your lies against the Volt now?

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