There's no better time to make a public announcement than when you have the President of the United States with you.

Today,President Barack Obama visited the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where GM is building its 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

And the company took full advantage of that situation to announce that it would increase 2012 production of the Volt by a remarkable 50 percent due to strong and increasing public demand.

GM has previously said it would build 10,000 Volts between the start of production and the end of 2011, and another 30,000 during calendar 2012.

Now the 2012 number will be raised to 45,000 Volts, still slightly shy of the 60,000-car capacity that GM executives have said for several years they planned for the second and third year of Volt production.

That still leaves about 15,000 units for other Volt variants. In fact the Volt will be sold globally under no fewer than five brands and two model names, all of them built at the Hamtramck plant:

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt (North America)
  • 2012 Opel Ampera (Europe)
  • 2012 Buick Ampera (China)
  • 2012 Vauxhall Ampera (U.K., since the British Vauxhall brand is now applied to RHD versions of Opel models)
  • 2013 Holden Ampera (Australia, as Holden has been the country's home brand since 1931)

It almost leads one to wonder whether the company deliberately downplayed its 2012 production when it announced those numbers on July 1, just four weeks ago. Doesn't it?

[General Motors]