January saw the break of a 2016 Chevy Volt sales streak as 2,000-per-month level sales were halved with just 996 units reported.
This number was good enough to be 83.8 percent above January 2015’s year-ago sales of 542 units, but that number was around one-sixth the Volt’s all-time best month since its December 2010 launch.
The news came as General Motors reported its best January sales as a company since 2005, and that the Chevy brand was the industry’s fastest growing brand with its best passenger car retail sales since 1997.
“Chevrolet had its best January retail performance since 2005, with car sales up 25 percent, truck sales up 5 percent and crossover deliveries up 5 percent. The brand has had 10 consecutive months of retail sales gains,” reported the automaker … “Silverado [pickup] had its best January total and retail sales since 2007. Ten Chevrolet models – Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Colorado [all trucks], Camaro, Impala, Malibu, Cruze, Sonic and Traverse – grew retail market share in their respective segments. … Tahoe and Suburban [trucks] had their best January retail sales since 2008.”
A pdf of all GM sales deliveries can be downloaded by clicking here for the 203,745 vehicles delivered in the U.S. in January 2016.
Silver Lining For the Green Halo
GM’s otherwise great month could make the brand-new green halo car’s plummet from levels established over the past three months since October seem like all the more stark a contrast.
Combining leftover 2015 and a trickle of 2014 model year Volts, in October Chevrolet reported 2,035 Volt sales. In November it was 1,980, and in December 2,114.
Does this mean the honeymoon is over, and as the jaded pundit would opine, everyone who wanted one got one?
Not necessarily, one month does not a trend make, and according to analyst Alan Baum, GM only produced 8,000 units since the car launched in August.
In November GM produced 1,000 units at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, and in December it built 1,800, said Baum.
Also, Baum noted, January is typically a month for a lull for plug-in cars.
“Tax issues tend to reduce January sales as you buy in December if you can to get the tax break sooner rather than later,” he observed.
What’s more, the Volt’s performance according to GM was actually relatively good.
“Cruze and Volt had their best January retail sales ever,” said the automaker.
The watchword however is best “retail sales.” January has traditionally been a weak month for the Volt, and the Volt did only do better in overall sales once during a January, booking 1,140 sales in January 2013, though some of these were fleet sales.
Be that as it may, the Volt is due also to be sold in 39 more states as a 2017 model year this spring. The numbers it is doing now are actually in a reduced market, albeit California-rules states are its strongest markets.
Green car pundits sympathetic to the Volt have observed a need for effective marketing for the Volt, and cynics have wondered how much GM really wants to sell this advanced-tech vehicle in significant volumes.
For its part, Chevrolet has said it will accompany the vehicle with appropriate marketing and advertising along with ongoing dealer training and assistance.
Time will tell how all this goes.