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Chevy Volt Selling Out In California

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On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 1:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Selling Out In California

The Chevy Volt hasn't exactly been GM's bestseller since hitting dealerships in December 2010. The plug-in hybrid found its way to fewer than 7,700 homes last year, well short of the 10,000 that GM had aimed for. While consumers may be warming to the car, it's selling slowly enough that GM stopped production several times and plans another stoppage in the summer.

Overall US sales may be slow, but residents of the country's leader in all things eco-vehicle (that's California) have been quite eager to get their hands on the Volt.  A few in-state advantages have combined to make the Chevy Volt quite attractive to Californians.

A California law that took effect this year allows electric and hybrid drivers to use carpool lanes, no matter how many people are in the car. So Californians have been quite eager to shop for Volts (and presumably other cars that meet the requirements), and the state has been an exception to the apathy (and sometimes animosity) that other parts of the country have shown toward the Volt. During the first quarter of this year, California accounted for nearly a quarter of all Volts registered (837 overall). The next state in line was Michigan with 232.

If you think driving in the carpool lane is a stupid reason to choose one car over another, you probably haven't driven - or sat idly - in California traffic. According to the recently released Inrix 2011 Traffic Scorecard, Los Angeles and San Francisco were the second and third worst US traffic cities last year. Los Angeles tied New York for the most spots (4) on the Scorecard's 10 Worst US Traffic Corridors, and Inrix says that those that drove such corridors spent three weeks of the year stuck in traffic and could have pedaled to work faster than driving.

So, yeah, being able to cut past some of that mess in a carpool lane is probably a big deal out in such parts of California. And not surprisingly, GM tells the Detroit Free Press that the Volt is selling well in LA, San Francisco and San Diego (another large city where traffic is most certainly bad).

In addition to the carpool incentive, the Chevy Volt qualifies for a $1,500 state rebate on top of the $7,500 federal plug-in car rebate.

The Volt has been in such high demand it essentially sold out earlier in the year. A GM spokesperson says that it has just caught up with demand during the past few weeks.

Now if the rest of the country (or at least the bad traffic areas) were to follow California's lead, the Volt might actually make GM some money.


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