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Surprise, Surprise: Volt Production Halts

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On: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 2:34PM | By: Chris Salamone

Surprise, Surprise: Volt Production Halts

Last week General Motors announced a five week production cease and desist order on the Chevy Volt, informing 1,300 workers that production would resume April 23rd. Back in January the Volt managed a meager 603 sales which was possibly linked to rough media attention and the vehicle’s federal safety investigation. But the five month sales slump was quickly forgotten in February as Chevy managed to sell 1,023 units.

Even with redoubled efforts and recent sales pseudo-success, the good General still has 6,300 Volts sitting in inventory – a fact which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last year company executives forecasted the sale of 10,000 Volts in 2011 and 60,000 in 2012 – numbers which have been recently dropped from consideration. Now we’re stuck with at least 154 days of inventory.

That is, assuming Volt sales can climb or remain at the February level. But, in an incredible twist of fate, the Volt has yet another major sales hurdle: California.

Earlier this year we learned that California Volt owners would qualify for HOV lane access on the state’s congested highways, even when traveling alone. Enthusiasts generally thought this would bolster Volt sales much in the same way Toyota’s Prius went viral after California gave the green light to HOV hybrid access.

Unfortunately, 2012 Chevy Volts which come equipped with an HOV-accessible Low Emissions Package just began shipping to California. So, who knows how many Low Emissions Package Volts will be available in the state which contributes to a substantial number of Volt sales? Without HOV lane access and the $1,500 rebate associated with reduced emissions, the current Chevy Volts sitting on California lots could be a tough sell.

But don’t get the wrong idea, GM’s decision to halt Volt production for five weeks seems like a good idea. If the plan is to ‘make money’ via automotive sales, then supply must be controlled to match demand. A fact which the company is quite willing to acknowledge: “We are taking some downtime to ensure proper inventory levels,” noted GM spokesman Chris Lee.

The good news, however, is that the Chevy Volt has a lot going for it. Drivers have a magnificently high satisfaction rate and, for now, the Volt stands alone in the eco-friendly vehicle market as an American electric/gasoline combo platter. The California dilemma is a setback, but will probably resemble a distant memory as EVs become more affordable and incentivized by state governments.



Stephy21 | 5:05PM (Tue, Mar 6, 2012)

They stopped production again, i wonder if they are rethinking their tactics with the Chevy Volt cause i know i would if i was GM.

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