Government General Motors halts production of the Chevrolet Volt

Regular readers will recall that we had noted that our environmentalist friends thought that the Chevrolet Volt would be an absolutely great car . . . for their neighbors; for themselves, not so much. From The New York Times:

G.M. Again Pauses Production of Chevy Volt

By Nick Bunkley
Published: March 2, 2012

DETROIT — General Motors said on Friday that it planned to halt production of the Chevrolet Volt for five weeks beginning later this month because dealers had more than they needed.

The suspension, which will result in temporary layoffs for 1,300 workers at the Detroit plant that builds the Volt, is another troubling sign for the plug-in hybrid, whose sales fell short of G.M.’s targets in 2011. G.M. officials had already backed away from projections that they could sell 45,000 Volts in the United States this year, instead saying that production would match demand.

Production is scheduled to stop March 16 and resume April 23, a G.M. spokesman, Chris Lee, said. It will be the third time that Volt production has been stopped for at least a month since the car first went on sale in December 2010. G.M. tripled the plant’s production capacity during downtime last summer, and the plant was down for all of January in preparation for building a lower-emission version that is eligible for car pool lanes in California.

Much more at the link. But perhaps someone can explain to me how a plug-in electric car, with a small gasoline engine which will recharge the batteries if they start to get too low, can have emissions which are too high to qualify for car pool lanes in California?

Government General Motors sold 1,023 Volts in February, up from 603 the previous month; for all of 2011, 7,671 Volts were sold, out of an anticipated sales target of 10,000 units. With a current inventory of roughly 3,600 Volts, GM has a four month supply of Volts, based on current year sales numbers.1

General Motors invested a billion dollars developing the Volt. It’s basic sticker price is $41,000, and the federal government gives you a $7,500 tax credit if you buy a Volt. Even with the government subsidy, that’s $33,500,2 significantly more than your editor paid for his 2010 Ford F-150, with four wheel drive, which can go anywhere and do anything one could (reasonably) wish to do with a vehicle, for a car which has to be garage kept3, and which has only limited utility, pretty much of a second-car-only type of vehicle.

Of course, Barack Obama has already said that Americans like to drive their big SUVs and leave the lights on, and that their behavior will have to be modified, so perhaps he will try to find some way to just require us to buy these cars that we clearly do not want, at least do not want for ourselves.

  1. 1,626 Volts sold thus far in 2012. 3,600 ÷ 1,626 = 2.21. Since the total sales were over two months, that means 4.42 months’ supply of Volts. 1,626 × 6 = 9,756, which would be the current annual sales rate for 2012, if the monthly sales rate remains unchanged. That’s pretty pitiful, but it would be an improvement on 2011.
  2. Buyers are required to pay the purchase price for the car; the $7,500 tax credit comes only when they actually file their taxes. For most buyers, this would mean financing $7,500 more.
  3. For the electric charging station: it requires a special electric receptacle, and the special charging cord is only 20 feet long

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