Chevy Volt Sets New Sales Record in August

As promised by General Motors in advance, today it reported the Chevy Volt set another monthly sales record with 2,831 North American deliveries in August.

This compares to August 2011 when Volts were still rolling out and just 302 units were sold. Year-to-date, GM has reported 13,497 Volts delivered, compared to 3,172 delivered this time last year, meaning the Volt is up by 325.5 percent current year to date.

As GM also notes, August’s record also represents a year-over-year increase of 837.4 percent compared to last August. Now, if it can just do another 800-percent increase some time in 2013 …

Whether that comes to pass, the car nonetheless has been winning in the plug-in electric category in recent months, and though we have yet to get all numbers in for this month, we can tell you how Nissan’s Leaf did.

Despite the fact that GM refuses to call it a race between the Volt and Leaf, try telling the media that. So, just to keep up the tradition, we’ll note the Leaf sold 685 units in August – a sizable jump from 395 in July. Nissan’s peak month was 1,708 units sold in July 2011, and a year ago to date, the Leaf’s sales were 1,362. Compared to the Volt, it kind of did a jack-rabbit start, but that old hare, the Volt, seems to be winning at this stage of the marathon.

Given Nissan’s Leaf has been generally flagging, and its maker has yet to share what it found after examining allegedly heat-degraded batteries in Arizona, and in July the Volt tripled its nearest plug-in competitor from Toyota, the Volt is poised to maybe top the plug-in chart again.

Further parsing the numbers, sales of 2,831 Volts last month exceeded the previous all-time high of 2,289 sold in March, and handily outpaced all other higher Volt sales months as well.

The Volt’s highest sales have been this year, and as recently noted, numbers of Volts sold from the end of last year were: December: 1,529; January: 603, February: 1,023; March: 2,289; April: 1,429; May: 1,680, June: 1,760, July 1,849.

Volt Communications Representative Michelle Malcho said last week the car is doing particularly well in California, Michigan, Illinois and Florida, and across the country, its momentum seems to be picking up.

This has not stopped some media from issuing press releases suggesting a Volt death watch may be in order due to GM’s month-long closure of the Volt’s assembly plant scheduled Sept. 17-Oct. 12.

For its part, GM says nothing could be further from the truth, and this latest month in which the previous record was surpassed by 542 units – a nearly 24-percent increase – is a fairly good indicator the company means what it says.

Malcho also said GM has built ahead and does not expect Volt shortages while the Detroit-Hamtramck plant is closed this month into next.

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    I wonder how the nearest competitors fared. The Volt looks to be the number one selling plug-in of any type in the world this year….


  • Van

    Posting hundreds of percent increases certainly sounds like the future looks bright for the Volt. However, if you compare it to the 460,000 sales of the Ford Focus worldwide, it is less than .3 percent, or a drop in the bucket. If we want to stop buying gas every few days, we need more people to buy plug-ins.

    Perhaps the Fusion Energi will break the barrier of insignificant sales numbers, time will tell.

  • Modern Marvel Fan


    Stop being so negative. Your attacks on the Volt is getting really boring. Sure the Volt’s sales is small in comparison to sales “leader” but as we saw here on the dash board each month, Volt dominates the “plug in” segments. Its sales is also better than 80% of the Hybrids and 80% of the clean diesels out there. Sure, it is still a relateively small comparing to Jetta Diesel or Prius sales. But it is a step into the future. A small step into full clean EV…

    ICE, Hybrids (Prius), EREV (Volt) and full EV (Tesla)….Volt is a necessary step before we have FULL infrastructure AND technology to support fast charging and long distance…

  • ACAgal

    At this time, Volt has set the standard. So from here on out, it is “game on”! We shall see if the others can raise the standard.

  • Max Reid

    Great News. This month, we will see a big jump in Hybrid and Plugin sales.

    Volt – MY 2013 will have 38 mile range (increase of 3), so expect more Volt sales next year, combined with rising gas prices.

    Meanwhile Prius sold 21K + units and Toyota overall has sold 28K + units. Hybrid + Plugin could top 40,000 sales this month.

    Next month, C-Max could join and that may bring a big change.

  • Tony

    First, you are comparing monthly sales for the Volt to Annual sales for the Focus. Second, your percentages are wrong. If the Volt sales stay at 2,800 plus per month that will be closer to 7 or 8% of Focus sales. This is very respectable and compares very favorably to Prius early year sales. A few more years of rising oil prices and you may see electric and EREV sales catching up really fast.

  • Jim H

    The only thing I have against the Volt is its cost, even with the federal tax credit. Just too rich for me.

    The problem with all the others is the maximum mileage. Sure, a pure electric is good for an around-town car, if it gets 100 miles per day. But you need charging stations every 20 miles if you want to, say, drive it across a state line to the summer vacation. ‘

    I’m not being negative, though. I deeply hope that a larger and larger part of our transportation dollar goes electric each year. The most effective ads? The ones where customers talk about the last time they put gas in, and how far they’ve gone in the meanwhile. Keep investing in tech!

  • Van

    @MMF, what is boring are folks who think they were appointed dictator and can tell others what to do. My point, we must sell more plug-ins to affect our dependence on foreign oil is valid. Yes, my math was off, should have read 3% not .3% but either way it is a drop in the bucket of total car sales.

    If you look at the 2012 Dashboard, the plug in take rate is less than .3%.

    In July 2010 GM announced they would increase production from 30,000 to 45,000 units for 2012. But actual sales will be about 15,000 or only one third of what was projected.

    The Volt concept is fantastic, but we need a plug in with 20 plus miles of range, that gets 45 MPG in charge sustaining mode, and costs less than $30,000 after rebate. As I said, perhaps the Ford Fusion Energi will fill the bill.

  • G Dice

    Check into Volt leases for now. The Technology is still evolving. Current leases on Volts are very attractive ($250.00/ month). If you factor in the gas savings many can drive the Volt for free.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    Sure, 3% is NOT a large segement. But it is a step in the right direction. Toyota Prius pushed auto industry from PURE ICE cars to hybrids. Now, Volt is pushing auto industry into “Plugins”… Time will tell how successful the “plugins” are. But at least the Volt is dominating the “plugin” market.

    GM, Ford, Toyota and VW are 4 of the largest auto makers in the world. So far, which one of them made a serious attempt of selling a Plugin? GM’s Volt is. Toyota’s Prius Plugin is really a “fake” attempt at it. Ford seems to be at least “trying” to. VW doesn’t even bother with it yet.

    Van wrote: “The Volt concept is fantastic, but we need a plug in with 20 plus miles of range, that gets 45 MPG in charge sustaining mode, and costs less than $30,000 after rebate. As I said, perhaps the Ford Fusion Energi will fill the bill.”

    Well, 20 miles is too short for most people. 70% of the people drive less than 40 miles per day. 45 mpg is great, but it is still gas powered. Volt concept is about being an EV and then a hybrid. 67% of the Volt miles are currently electric. That is what is great about the Volt. If Ford can come out with a 40 miles EREV like the Volt and charge less than $30k, you will see me buying one too.

    I have been looking at the Fusion Energi for a long time. But since Energi is heavier with larger battery pack (half the size of the Volt), I seriously doubt that it will be 45 mpg rated. I also doubt that if the electric motor in the “Energi” models will be powerful enough to power the car in EV mode regardless of driving condition and parameters like the Volt. Prius Plugin type of “fake” attempt at EV mode is NOT acceptable to me.

    Prius, as great as it is, is about ICE first and electric as assist. So far, C-MAX is the similar design. Volt is EV first, “range extender” (series or paralle hybrid) second. That is why you pay some penalty in weight and thus MPG in the “range extend” mode.

    Do I think Volt is “perfect” and solves all problem. Aboslutely NOT. I think it needs to shed some weight, increase range to 60 mile electric, slightly taller and more spaces. 45 MPG with a better engine would help too… But Volt is the first step in a realistic way to push people into EV world without worrying about range.

  • Dennis Cox Jr

    If you just look at price to price yes the Volt is expensive. Add in what you spend on gas to the price of the Volt and all of a sudden its the same cost as a Corolla or Civic and yet it will save you time from going to the gas station.

    A $19,900 car with 4.9% interest over 6 years is $340 a month. A $39,995 Volt with the .9% interest for 6 years is $605 a month. $160 a month in gas brings your base Corolla to $500 a month. Because of the incentivized interest on the Volt it makes more sense to pay $600 for a $40K car as opposed to $500 a month for a $20k car.