First Chevy Volts Reach Customers, Will Out-Deliver Nissan in December

By · December 16, 2010

The world's first Chevrolet Volt owner, Jeffrey Kaffee, gets into his brand new Volt for the first time after interrupting a vacation in Florida for the honor.

The world's first Chevrolet Volt owner, Jeffrey Kaffee, gets into his brand new Volt for the first time after interrupting a vacation in Florida for the honor.

Although the competition between Chevy and Nissan for the crown of green car king is only just beginning—at this stage in the game both manufacturers will sell as many as they make—the two companies have certainly been trading notches on their headboards this week.

The Volt's first delivery to a customer yesterday was subdued in comparison to the raucous first LEAF delivery last weekend. Even so, in some ways the first Volt delivery was more substantial than that of the LEAF as Chevy will be delivering more than 350 of their electric vehicles to customers this week alone. Comparatively, Nissan has delivered a handful of vehicles to consumers this week and they will likely deliver less than 200 vehicles this month.

Earlier in the week several truckloads of Volts quietly left the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant covered in the deposits of an early winter midwest snowstorm. Over the course of this week, those trucks will reach dealers in New Jersey, California, Texas, New York and Washington, D.C. Yesterday the first Volts were almost simultaneously delivered to customers in New Jersey, but due to transportation logistics, as it happened the absolute first delivery went to retired airline pilot turned real-estate agent, Jeffrey Kaffee.

"I like the concept that GM had come up with in the Volt," said Kaffee in an interview with PluginCars.com, explaining why he bought the Volt. "We all know what happened in Detroit and the economy in general, so it was great they were able to complete it. I like high tech products and don't mind being on the leading edge. People have asked me am I worried about buying untested technology—you know, there are much bigger things in life to be worried about and I'm sure GM did a really fine job on the car."

Until delivery yesterday, Kaffee hadn't had a chance to drive the Volt and was going on the articles he's read and others' reviews to reassure himself that GM had built a good product. Unfortunately for Kaffee, his first real driving experience in the Volt involved spending all day yesterday shuttling around film crews and reporters before he got back on a plane to return to his vacation in Florida. Even without a lot of drive time under his belt yet, Kaffee says he's sure he'll be happy about the decision for a long time to come. "I'm a green type of person," he said. "I really believe we have a serious problem here with the amount of oil we import. I still remember 1974, and I know how susceptible we are to so many different things. If all cars ran on this particular type of technology we would be oil exporters instead of importers."

Interestingly enough, Kaffee also has a Nissan LEAF on order and thinks that both cars represent the future of the automobile. He doesn't view the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt as being in competition with each other and thinks both manufacturers will sell as many as they can make. "I think America has been waiting for this. It fits every parameter that's important to this country," echoed Judy Tilton, owner of Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, New Jersey, where Kaffee took delivery. "I feel so good that I was able to deliver that car today—it was a real honor."

To Kaffee, the Volt represents more than just a cutting edge car or an image of "greenness"—he views it as a hedge against what are sure to be high fuel prices in the future. "I think Detroit came up with a great product on this, and I'm sure the Nissan LEAF is going to make a terrific city car," he said. "Hopefully we'll have a lot more of them before we hit eight dollar a gallon gas."

Kaffee also thinks that the federal tax rebates for electric cars are a really good investment and he wished people could get over the initial shock of a $41,000 price tag. "The fact that [the Volt] crossed the barrier from the thirties to the forties probably turned people off, but when you realize there's a tax rebate on that, it makes the car competitive with a Camry," he explained. "I think the taxpayer bill on that was money wisely spent to educate the public and basically helped Detroit out."

Comments

· George Parrott (not verified) · 4 years ago

Congrats to Kaffee on his new Volt and even more kudos to GM for actually shipping out the Volt in quantity right from the start. I am, as you know, totally unimpressed with what Nissan is doing in doling out the Nissan to only a handful of those of us who all ordered on the same day.

It is GREAT to see GM putting full truckloads of the new Volt out for actual customer delivery. I see reports that 300+ of the new Volt will be in customer hands by the end of this month.

Given that the Leaf, according to Nissan PR, went into customer production in October and the Volt only in November....doesn't this tell some of us that Nissan may not be getting all of the cars they planned off that production line and ready for actual delivery? Just an inference, of course, but it does seem that GM is getting their production ramped up faster and more efficiently than Nissan, maybe?

And another Congrats to Kaffee for his dual order of the Leaf and Volt; we will also have both in our garage here in Sacramento somewhere around the end of January or early February. There is even a small chance that our red Volt will arrive before the end of December--albiet a small chance.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 4 years ago

By this phrase alone: "Hopefully we'll have a lot more of them before we hit eight dollar a gallon gas" we know this guy hasn't been in Europe or Japan for a while. It is everyday life over there and the Volt at a local price of 55900 $ won't change a lot.

· · 4 years ago

@George Parrott: "Given that the Leaf, according to Nissan PR, went into customer production in October and the Volt only in November"

It's a bit of hear-say on my part, but I think I heard somewhere that Nissan is being extra special careful with their early production vehicles to keep quality as high as possible. This makes sense given that they've been very focused on making good on that critically important first impression.

Also, all of Nissan's LEAF manufacturing is in Japan and will be until 2012, so that plant has to produce for all their markets. That's an advantage for GM.

· · 4 years ago

Nissan makes a lot more profit by selling the Leaf in Japan (3.7 Million Yen or about $44,000 cost before taxes) so they are focusing on the local market first. Japanese car companies seem to always sell cars cheaper here than they do in their own country.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 4 years ago

Can we get any news on sales and deliveries in Japan as some way to confirm or determine if Nissan is upping supply in Japan first over the US?

· · 4 years ago

I haven't seen numbers but I did notice that the Japanese government was giving about an $8000 incentive rebate to Leaf purchasers. It expires on December 31st, though, so people are motivated to hurry up and get one before then.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 4 years ago

"Even so, in some ways the first Volt delivery was more substantial than that of the LEAF as Chevy will be delivering more than 350 of their electric vehicles to customers this week alone. Comparatively, Nissan has delivered a handful of vehicles to consumers this week and they will likely deliver less than 200 vehicles this month."

No surprise here, considering the fact that there had been 'quite a number' of Volt holding in lot around the plant waiting for the finalization of EPA window sticker at one time.

· Prius Duo (not verified) · 4 years ago

Is "hybridcars" and "plugincars" sponsored by GM? Apparently this is a GM marketing outreach site. Most of the comments are unsubstantiated, strickly personal opinion and premature as to performance. We will stick to our 2007 Prius Touring models (71000 miles ea.) till a manufacturer demonstrates that it has something comparable.

· · 4 years ago

Prius Duo, Wow... doesn't that take the cake for "Year's most unsubstantiated, unresearched, and unthought out" comment. Just what exactly are you referring to? Examples, explanation? All of that is missing.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 4 years ago

This site is doing a very good job and I don’t think it is sponsored by GM. The Toyota Prius is still an excellent car compared to the thousands that are still 100% ICE vehicles. Nevertheless, these first public deliveries of the Nissan leaf and the GM Volt are indicating that Toyota is starting to be late in its release of the plug-in Prius. Something that has already be mentioned several times.

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