Sales for the range-extended Chevy Volt have been off to a rather slow start thus far in 2010, less than 1,000 so far, but General Motors remains optimistic that the Volt will sell well and may have plans to increase production this year and next.
According to GM CEO Dan Akerson, production will increase on the Volt to 120,000 a year by the 2012 model build. That is a jump from the 10,000 originally planned for this year as well as the 45,000 to 60,000 once hoped for in 2012.
These numbers, however, are clearly just optimistic projections that are perhaps in response to the early buzz the car is receiving coupled with growing prices at the gasoline pump. The actual numbers will likely not be known for some time, and the assorted projections for the Volt and the Nissan Leaf, will likely rise and fall throughout the year.
The Chevy Volt has thus far in 2010 sold about 600 car for the first two months of the year. However, as Auto Blog Green reports, GM still plans on making and selling 10,000 Volts this year. The statement coming from GM makes it clear that GM is still optimistic about the sales of the car, though it is not planning on ramping up production to 25,000 a year just yet.
John Voelcker at Green Car Reports, makes the case that ramping up production, even if demand warrants the numbers, is simply not as easy as just scratching in a new number on the white board. As he explains: "Ramping up production requires not only adding a shift at the assembly plant--which trade journal Automotive News says GM is planning to do early next year--but also ordering higher volumes of the lithium-ion cells, battery-pack components, electric motors, power electronics, and other parts unique to the Voltec plug-in powertrain."
GM appears to be in good company, as Nissan is going through similar difficulties with its All-Electric Nissan Leaf. Nissan has only been able to get around a couple hundred Leafs into the hands of its eager, and increasingly impatient, buyers.
These problems, for both GM and Nissan, will certainly become less of a problem as long as production and delivery continue to increase, the cars live up to their hype, and perhaps most importantly, gas prices continue to rise. If we see $5.00 a gallon gas in the US anytime this year or next, it's likely that both cars will fly off the truck as quickly as they can make them.
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