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Amidst Growing Concerns, GM Offers Volt Refunds

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On: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 2:26PM | By: Chris Salamone

Amidst Growing Concerns, GM Offers Volt Refunds

This last month has not been kind to GM’s latest EV innovation, the Chevy Volt. From fire risks, to government probes, to competitor advancements, and an unexpected sales slump – a mere 60% of the company’s sales target for 2011 – GM will have to face some difficult hurdles in order to raise the Volt to the vehicle’s full market potential. But have no fear, the good General is always ready for decisive action. On Thursday the automaker said it would buy back any Chevrolet Volts from customers nervous about fire risks.

This is exactly the type of product ownership that consumers need to see. People must believe that Chevy will stand by the Volt, through thick and thin, stalwartly accepting responsibility. But, the true beauty of GM’s buy-back plan is that the company expects few, if any, of the 6,000 current Volt owners to ask for a refund.

Since Monday, GM has offered loaner vehicles to any concerned Volt drivers worried about potential fire risks. Thus far only 33 owners have requested loaner vehicles, a relatively small number when considered under the overwhelming weight of media coverage.

GM’s buy back policy marks an effort by the company “to do what it takes to make every consumer satisfied,” said GM spokesman Selim Bingol. GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson also disclosed the buy-back offer in an Associated Press interview Thursday, mentioning a possible Volt battery pack redesign in the works.

In an ironic twist of fate, Consumer Reports recently heralded the Volt as the vehicle with the highest customer satisfaction rate. Their study concluded that 93% of Volt owners would definitely buy again, beating close runner-ups like the Dodge Challenger and Porsche 911 at 91%. Not surprisingly, Consumer Reports concluded the study prior to GM’s official announcement of the Volt’s pending government investigation.

Regardless of the challenges ahead, GM optimistically expects to sell 45,000 Volts domestically in 2012 and export an additional 15,000. While those numbers would be dramatic gains over 2011, they aren’t impossible. GM said Volt sales in November were the vehicle’s highest-ever and inventory of available Volts looks to get a significant bump as well. Provided GM continues to own the Volt’s design, and implement any necessary improvements, US consumers will likely forgive and forget this battery-safety debacle. We all want to see a successful GM-created EV product – even if that vehicle happens to be made in China.



Stephy21 | 10:16AM (Mon, Dec 5, 2011)

I sure do hope GM can come back from this, i know a few people who have the volt and they like it very much and wouldn't want any other car.

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