Following a record sales month for the Chevrolet Volt, General Motors has said it will cut the time out it has given its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant from five weeks down to four.
GM North America President Mark Reuss told the Detroit News the company is heartened by 2,289 Volts sold in March, and expects the higher average momentum to continue, but he will not forecast actual numbers.
The company’s CEO Dan Akerson has been quoted as saying he’s looking for 2,000-3,000 per month, but GM’s official posture is it will manage inventory closely to match supply to demand.
The five-week closure now shortened by one week had been from Mar. 19-April 23, and had been just for this reason in light of negative press and nationwide inventory considered excessive.
Industry watchers also note the company is continuing with a favorable lease package, and wants and needs the positive press to continue.
In rather a unique category as a “plug-in car,” the Volt, launched December 2010 – as was the Nissan Leaf battery electric vehicle – has not been threatened to date by the Leaf’s month after month sales.
And while the tide is seemingly turning further for the politicized Volt, and some Republicans have been very conspicuously featured lately as endorsing the car, eyes also are on the Prius plug-in hybrid, which scored 911 units sold its first partial month in March.
For its first sales month, the Prius PHV made a sizable splash into what is a small but growing pond of plug-in electric cars tracked by the HybridCars.com Dashboard. Sales of all brands combined in February added up to 1,662 units, with a total market share or “take rate” of 0.15 percent , and in March this jumped to 4,161 total vehicles with a take rate of 0.30 percent.
There is a proverb that says people ought not to look down upon “small beginnings” and fact is, everyone has to start somewhere. This industry has many players posturing and preparing for growth, and the Dashboard’s plug-in numbers do not count Coda and Fisker which do not regularly report sales, or Tesla which when last we checked, said it has over 8,000 pre-orders for its Model S.
As for the Volt vs. Prius vs. Leaf question – three different kinds of technology with the common denominator of ability to plug into the electricity grid – a sense of rivalry will always be there, but the big picture is the market is growing with major commitment and sentiment expressed by respective plug-in automakers ranging from mildly bullish to fully optimistic.