The next-generation Chevy Volt may be built exclusively in Detroit, but GM will truck newly minted examples right past proximal Chevy dealers for Canadian deliveries before Michigan and 38 other U.S. states are able to buy it.
A Chevy spokesperson has tweeted most of Canada may receive the 2016 Volt by November or December, near the time formerly estimated that 39 states that do not follow California emissions rules would as well.
As we reported last week, Chevrolet changed plans for those 39 states so that they would instead receive a 2017 model Volt next spring while retaining plans for California and 10 states following its emissions rules to receive the 2016 model this fall.
The states in addition to California that will get the Volt are Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Massachusetts
According to GM Authority, GM did not otherwise reveal a reason for the unusual move. Normally Canada has lagged behind the U.S. in receiving domestically produced cars.
The news also initially added questions to an explanation given to us by Chevrolet media rep Michele Malcho who has since shed light on the decision.
Last week Malcho said the automaker wants to get deliveries spot on in the biggest U.S. markets before moving to other states, including those in which the Volt is not as hot an item.
As a nation, with one-tenth the population, Canada normally buys one-tenth the quantity of cars the U.S. does.
What other considerations are being weighed are unclear but last week, Malcho said Chevrolet rethought its U.S. distribution plan based on past experience with the first-generation Volt in 2011.
The hope this time, she said, is to avoid frustrations, and ensure a smoother roll-out nationwide. The staged roll-out the first time around saw spotty allocations, customers and dealers wondering when they’d get their cars, and other issues.
“It was a learning experience, let’s put it that way,” said Malcho, and Chevrolet this time wants to focus on its key markets.
California alone in 2014 accounted for 50 percent of all plug-in electrified vehicle sales, and it has been the Volt’s core market. Other ZEV states as well are stronger, say, than Wyoming for example.
So, Malcho said Chevrolet will get the Volt to these core states, then focus on the 2017 model for them and the rest of the nation next spring.
“We’re going to do it really well in these 10 states then move on,” she said of 10 ZEV states plus California.
This also will give Chevrolet time to do more thorough dealer training in the states where the Volt does not now sell as strongly, she said.
Light Shed on Questions
Media rep Michelle Malcho said today Chevrolet of Canada operates as a separate business unit from Chevrolet of the U.S. and makes its own call on distribution. It is not a centralized decision coming from GM of Detroit, she said, nor does this change what was said about U.S. distribution plans.
“It’s a business decision for multiple reasons,” Malcho said of considerations weighed by Chevrolet of Canada..
For one, Canada is a much smaller market, and secondly, Volt sales are clustered in key markets, and these markets will be served, she said. For these reasons, and other nuanced considerations, the decision was made to ship the Volt this year.
By contrast, what was said of the U.S. still stands, Malcho said. The large majority of Volts have sold in California and the 10 CARB states that will get the 2016 Volt this fall.
“We want to be able to focus on those 10 states first from a training perspective, distribution perspective and that’s what makes sense for our business in the U.S.,” Malcho said, “so I don’t think you can compare apples to oranges necessarily.”
And, she added, this staged rollout is within the realm of what was done with gen-one Volt which was not available immediately in all 50 states either, nor this is this exclusive to the Volt. The Corvette and Camaro also were distributed on two independent schedules, she said, so this is business as usual.
“To me, there’s multiple reasons behind it,” she said, “there’s not one single factor.”