Chevy Volt Production Line Restarts a Week Early

General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck plant is back to producing Chevy Volts and Opel/Vauxhall Amperas a week earlier than scheduled due to encouraging March Volt sales of 2,289 units.

GM had shut down the plug-in hybrid’s assembly line for an initially scheduled period of five weeks to help curtail excess supply, but says it is now optimistic demand is picking up.

Last month’s all time high exceeded the previous peak of 1,529 units in December, and GM CEO Dan Akerson has been quoted saying he’d like to see 2,000-3,000 per month, but we’ve heard others at GM say they’d not be surprised if April is weaker month than last.

With a federal battery investigation behind it and positive pressure for sales, GM’s halo car has industry watchers waiting to see how things will go.

Other sales-inducing factors include solo-HOV-lane legal California Volts now available, ever-rising fuel prices, and an apparent taming of some critics, not to mention conservative public figures coming out in its favor besides.

Still, the Volt catches criticism for its price, which despite government subsidies being available, has even some of those who otherwise love the car expressing hope for a decrease. Other early adapters have said they are fine with it, have said it is a good value where it is, and are reaping big savings month after month.

Adverting, marketing, word of mouth recommendations – and a fairly low lease rate deal being offered – are all further factors that stand to increase sales. Most of all, advocates say, is the underlying fundamental that the car itself is well engineered, and is an idea whose time has come.

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  • veek

    As a taxpayer who helped pump billions into GM, I am very disappointed and expected better. GM has spent billions (of our money) on an expensive “image car” with very narrow market appeal, and would have arguably done vastly more good for our oil independence (and environment) by decreasing marketing for the many behemoth vehicles it tries to sell, or by spending those billions increasing the fuel mileage on cars that far more people will buy than the Volt. GM’s image? The Volt. GM’s reality? The Suburban. I hope you can understand my disappointment.

    The disappointing response to the Volt may tell us something about the wisdom of trying to sell a $15,000 car with a $25,000 drivetrain. I wish our environment luck if that is what we are relying on for the future.

    We can be thankful that better plug-ins and alternative vehicles will probably arrive soon.

  • kmack

    veek – It doesn’t sound like you have actually driven a Chevy Volt. I have and it was nicer than my Lexus. The future is electric. Cars like the volt will just bridge the gap until we can get there.

  • tgordi

    I won’t discuss the Volt but veek’s comment on us taxpayers giving money to GM sounds incorrect. Yes, the government went in and poured in $$$ into the company. However, we got a huge chunk of equity in the company as well (~61%) and the way things are going for GM, it actually seem to have been a good investment.

  • tgordi

    I won’t discuss the Volt but veek’s comment on us taxpayers giving money to GM sounds incorrect. Yes, the government went in and poured in $$$ into the company. However, we got a huge chunk of equity in the company as well (~61%) and the way things are going for GM, it actually seem to have been a good investment.

  • RSMills

    Has anyone run the numbers on gas savings to car payment? It cost about 12 cents a mile to run an EV and 60 cents a mile for fossil fueled. At 35 average miles per day X 365=12,775 miles per year @ 12 cents EV=$1,533 per year. 60 cents FF=$7,665 per year. A $6132 savings per year over 5 years =$30,660. That pretty much pays for the car. The primium for the Volt is payed for the first year. Even if my numbers are not perfect it shows that THE FUTURE IS NOT WITH FOSSILE FUELED CARS.

  • Jorge Lindo

    I agree

    First of all the Volt is PURE electric. So its fun and really fast. You can beat any car off the line with volts 273 lbs of torque.

    More than a BMW M3.

    The Prius you Cannot keep up with traffic. I just bough a volt and I have not been to the gas station all month.

    This car rides like a lexus and uses $0.00 fuel.

    Its simply the most amazing car I have ever driven.

  • Johnny

    Veep – I doubt your tax contributions would put you even in the bottom fifth of Volt owners contributions. I’m glad Bush bailed out GM to the tune of $13B in Dec 2008 and that he started the $7500 rebate program to get us going in the direction of energy independance. Sorry you feel inclined to hound the happy Volt owners.

  • Chuck

    60 cents a mile for fossil fuel? How much are you paying for a gallon of gas?

  • racksjackson

    Chevy Volt is fully electiric car so its good to us no petrol or disel problem.Fuel prices is increasing day by day. We can go for long drive.

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  • veek

    If you like your Volt, and have disposable income to spend, that’s great, but please understand my skepticism that it is a realistic solution. The Volt has lots of buyer resistance, and only a few thousand appear willing to spend $40+K for this car. Millions of people are buying other cars, though, and it might be more realistic to focus on convincing them to buy cars with 30 – 40 mpg rather than ones with 20 – 25 (Ford and Toyota appear to be doing well here). Simple calculations show how little a Volt’s fuel cost saving will be, and that saving will probably be dwarfed by the car’s extra cost and depreciation. Many others (and our friends) have had, uh, disappointing experiences time and again with GM products, so don’t expect us to be enthusiastic about taking a chance on this one, either. If you buy a Volt, be happy with it, but don’t think everyone else who doesn’t want one is environmentally incorrect. I’ve driven a full hybrid for six years, and may trade it in when better plug-ins are here, but I sure don’t want to spend $40+K on a Volt. Lots of people apparently agree.

    KMac and Jorge:
    The Volt (which is based on the cheap Cruze platform) comparable to a Lexus or an M3?? Sales figures may help indicate how many people agree with those opinions.

    tgordi and Johnny:
    Well, not all the weight of GM’s bankruptcy was borne by people who are now profiting from it, and not everybody contributed just a few pennies of their taxes. Many GM bondholders and pensioners trusted GM and the government, and then lost tens of thousands of dollars apiece in a bankruptcy which protected their assets poorly — it’s unfair to dismiss them so blithely (perhaps the government can share some of its profits with them, because the “new” GM was built on the effective confiscation of their assets. Or maybe it can give them each one of the surplus Volts that people aren’t buying). Perhaps you can show them a little compassion and understanding. Thanks!

  • Jeff

    First, GM paid back every dime plus interest, so as a taxpayer you made money from GM. Secondly, have you ever driven a volt? There are far from a $15k car on a $25k drive-train – I just traded in my 2010 BMW 745i for a volt and I haven’t looked back. I’ve owned 4 BMWs and 2 Lexus, this is my first Chevrolet and I’m BEYOND impressed with the quality of this car.

    As a taxpayer, you should go to your library, which you also pay for, and educate yourself a bit before making public rants that are based on opinion you’ve drawn reading other peoples opinions.

    And go buy a Volt, you’ll come back and thank me.

  • jgradyc

    RSMills, your 60 cents per mile is AAA’s estimated cost per mile for a new car. It includes gas, oil, tires, insurance, and depreciation. An EV would have similar costs, except for gasoline and oil. A better estimate is about 2 cents/mile for EV electricity and 20 cents/mile for a car getting around 20 mpg. A savings of 18 cents/mile X 12,775 miles per year is $2,300/year. Five year savings would be $11,500. Depreciation and reliability are the big unknowns with the Volt.

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  • Derk

    Paid back ? With stock ? and still lose money ? Where is that interest ?

    Technically speaking, GM already has “paid back” the bailout — some of it in cash, the rest with GM stock. The problem is this: If the government sold its stock at current prices, it wouldn’t quite recoup what it lent to GM during the economic crisis.

    You can step off your high horse while you are at it..

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