Volt Plant Shutdown to be Cut Short as Plug-in Sales Rise

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.

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    Brilliant marketing move? The PIP will lead any plug-in sales despite the limited and restricted EV range….


  • 9691

    It will take me some time to buy a GM vehicle again, but I keep my fingers crossed for the Volt and GM to make it this time. It’s amazing how the sales of a car can rebound when partisan sentiments change. Can you imagine what else can be done when this country starts identifying energy independence as a patriotic American thing? It will feel like we were in the 1940s and the country rallies around the wwar II effort. Poster with Uncle Sam: “I want you for the US energy independence doctrine”. It would be great ! I’ll be so glad to live to see that.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    @9691 it can’t happen because the larger interests/money influence lawmaking and thus the ulitmate direction of the country… remove money from influencing lawmaking and it might happen…


  • MarkW

    Have some faith, the exxons proxys have been running a smear campaign on the volt for almost 9 months now, and nothing is sticking to the car, sales are accelerating and people are waking up to a future that doesn’t involve billions a year in oil company subsidies…

    Ultimately you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, EVs are here to stay!

  • Still Waiting

    Waiting for a PHEV full sized SUV. 6-8 seater. Let’s do it already!

  • Roy_H

    Always nice to see a positive sign for Volt sales.
    I was surprised at the almost 900 PIP sales in the first month. But I shouldn’t have been. Toyota owners will not see the PIP as an inferior version of the Volt. They will see it as a superior version of the Prius. Never mind only 7 miles AER, all of which occurs at slow speeds. It is at slow speeds and idling that ICEs are at their worst, and so this is where the AER shines best. PIP sales will soon eclipse Volt sales, mostly because of the large number of Prius drivers moving up. I hope this doesn’t result in journalists saying that this “proves” the PIP is better than the Volt. What it will prove is that most people still think Toyota builds a more reliable product than Chevrolet.

  • Chris1234567

    Take a look at the Reva electric Vehicle:

    Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited, formerly known as the Reva Electric Car Company, is an Indian company based in Bangalore, involved in designing and manufacturing of compact electric vehicles. The company’s flagship vehicle is the REVAi electric car, available in 26 countries with more than 4,000 of its different versions sold worldwide by mid March 2011.[1][2] Reva was acquired by Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra in May 2010.

    The Reva Electric Car Company (RECC) was founded in 1994 by Chetan Maini, as a joint venture between the Maini Group of Bangalore and Amerigon Electric Vehicle Technologies (AEVT Inc.) of the USA.[3] The company’s sole aim was to develop and produce an affordable compact electric car. Several other automakers were also aiming to do so, but in 2001 RECC launched the REVA, its first model, and the world’s first mass produced electric car.

    [edit] REVA and REVAi

    Mahindra Reva currently produces two versions of the REVAi, an urban electric micro-car seating two adults and two children:

    A silver REVAi REVAi, equipped with lead-acid batteries, which has a nominal range of 80 km (50 mi) per charge and a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).

    REVA L-ion, equipped with Lithium-ion batteries, which has faster acceleration and a nominal range of 120 km (75 mi) per charge.[12]

    The REVA went on sale in India in 2001 and in the UK since 2003. Owners across 26 countries have driven the cars over 180 million kilometers.

    In 2005, Reva showcased the REVA-NXG, a two-seater roadster concept car with a nominal range of 200 km (124 mi) per charge and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).[13]

    The 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show saw the unveiling of a new M1 class vehicle known as the NXR. Export production scheduled for 2012. The NXR will be available with either lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries. The NXR Exterior concept was initiated in collaboration with DC Design, and detailed design of production exterior and interior styling was done in-house by Reva’s R&D and Styling team.

    This new generation NXR is considered as a benchmark for Low cost Low volume Manufacturing Process across the Globe.Their Motto is to be the “Earth’s Favourite Electric car company”

    Range, speed, safety and interior specifications all fall along the lines of a new generation of battery electric vehicles. In Europe, the car will fall under NCAP crash testing regulations. The IC (inter-City) model has a top speed of 104 km/h (65 mph) and a range of 160 km (99 mi). The interior is of a far higher grade when compared to the earlier REVAi, and the back seats now comfortably fit 2 adults.

    The NXR has some unusual features, one being its REVive battery charging system. Telematic remote access to the car’s on-board Energy Management System allows Reva to analyse a near depleted battery upon request. Their support centre can individually determine the battery condition within seconds and allow access to the remaining charge. This serves as a virtual back-up battery while minimising the risk of damage to the powerpack due to depletion.

    [edit] REVA NXG

    The 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show also saw the unveiling of a show car known as the NXG. The NXG features REVA’s patented drivetrain technology and the REVive system. The two-seater sports car is expected to stand out for performance and speed.

    [edit] Future
    The next Generation of Reva, Reva NXG.
    A new 30,000 capacity assembly plant in Bangalore has reached completion. It is currently the world’s largest operational example of a plant specially dedicated to the assembly of battery electric vehicles. The entire building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited allowing the company to boast one of the lowest dirt-to-dust carbon footprints in the automotive world.

    Prior to the Mahindra acquisition, Reva had partnered with Bannon Automotive to set up an assembly plant in upstate New York to produce the NXR for the US market.

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