Why the Chevy Volt Slowdown is a Good Thing for Plug-ins

By · March 04, 2012

Chevy Volt

The five-week shutdown of the Volt production line is a good thing for plug-in vehicles because it will help align production with demand and keep GM's revenue on the vehicles higher and fund ongoing vehicle development.

So General Motors announced that it is taking a five-week hiatus in the production of its flagship greenmobile, the Chevy Volt, even though it had a solid sales month in February and the company is embarking on new promotional campaigns for its flagship plug-in vehicle. I for one am glad they made the tough choice to stop production.

I do feel sorry for the 1,300 UAW workers who will be off work (well, not too sorry since they stand to collect a good portion of their salary while off due to their union contracts). I am more sorry demand is not strong enough to justify continued high-volume production.

But, I'll say it again. It's a good thing and a smart decision on GM's part. And other than the aforementioned impact on workers and the negative publicity, it's a good thing for the plug-in vehicle industry.

Here's my rationale. The Volt is a great car. My extensive test drives have proved to me that its technology did everything it was advertised to do. But it's an expensive car. GM could have put a Cadillac label on it and no one would have squawked – and its $41,000 price tag might have made more sense (even though federal and state incentives can knock that down quite a bit) . As a compact Chevy (particularly sitting on the lot with a similar-size Cruze going for half the price), the high price and its new technology have found buyers, but mainly among the techy, wealthy early adopters. Those who've bought the vehicle, including neighbors I've talked to and owners I've met at a Bay Area EV Meet-Up last year, love the car. My neighbor trekked more than 400 miles south to be the first on his block to get a Volt. I doubt he will be the last.

While its price is high, the Volt delivers the goods. It has a solid feel and quality features throughout. It's on road performance is pure EV for 40 miles and great hybrid for the rest of the tank. The interior echoes the high-tech underpinnings of the car.

To rationalize that $40K price (or $350/month lease), GM has to match supply with demand. Otherwise it will be forced to add incentives to move the iron in the same way it does when it has slow-selling pickups, SUVs and sedans. The result would be to devalue the perceived value of the vehicle and add to the losses that GM is sustaining with each sale (by their own admission). The first two months of 2012 Volt sales were disappointing – 676 in January and 1,023 in February for a 850/month average. That's better than last year's average, which included a production shut-down for model change-over. But it's a pace that will be painted as a failure by many because of high-volume projections by GM (and repeated by our federal government, GM's shareholder). To compound that "failure" by having declining retail prices and "fire sales" to move excess iron would be to seriously tarnish the image of GM's plug-in car (and by extension this just re-born industry).

Everyone who wants a Volt (or any other plug-in car) should be able to get one. This is not about limiting production in spite of demand. This is about following the market. Yes, Volt prices are high, as is almost always true with the first generation of new technology. Prices will come down as volumes rise, though that rise may not come until the next generation of the car when GM is able to lower its internal costs. Look at what happened with the Prius. You could argue it took three generations (after the first Japanese mode and first U.S. model) until the 2004 model broke through and achieved serious market presence

I applaud GM's decision and hope it will be a short-lived hiccup in the company's foray into a new segment.

Comments

· · 2 years ago

I disagree that this is good. All of the news channels have been gloating over its death. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that GE backs out of its plan to purchase Volts.
Nobody likes to go with a loser and all of the publicity I've heard (which is more than I've ever heard for any other car) states they shut it down because nobody wants it.
Sad, but then I'm not surprised you're happy since you prefer gas guzzlers.

· · 2 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver,
Setting aside the personal attack (I think I made clear what I think of the Volt in the article and others I've written for this site and others), this is a view for long-term success. Continuing to build more cars than the market is willing to buy is the way to die quickly. Toughening up by trying to match output with demand is the only way for any brand to survive in the market. I want the Volt to succeed, but keeping production high is not the way to do it. I think this shows GM is in it for the long-haul. It's just not going to happen as quickly some folks--including myself--would like.

· · 2 years ago

I get so annoyed when people compare the Volt to some crappy little gas GM car that is half the price. There is no comparison. You are comparing a state of the art high tech cutting edge technology car with something whose technology is 80 years old. After all who in there right mind would compare a BMW with a Ford Fiesta.

It is a luxury car with a $41,000 price tag. It is never going to sell anywere near as many units as a cheap gas car. BMW only sell 50,000 5 Series a year in the US. The Series 5 has been around since 1972 have a great brand name and yet only sell in limited numbers. No one calls them a failure or writes daily slagging them off and comparing them to a washing machine on wheels that you can buy for 50 bucks.

Maybe GM need to reduce production a bit in line with demand. I think someone else on here was saying that GM only produce a few thousand corvettes a year. Whos talking about what a failure the corvette is and oh lets stop building them too.

I googled it 2010 GM only built 22,194 cars what a failure ok lets shut down the production line sack all the workers and make more Cruzes. After all a corvette is exactly the same as a Cruze. Both have 4 wheels, a gas engine, a steering wheel and a fuel tank.

· · 2 years ago

@Deckard While I agree with you, take a look at the market. People (other than the techy early adopters) walk into a dealership and they see two similar-size vehicles. One gets better mileage and is very high-tech; the other is a conventional, but well-made car at half the price. It's often just a pocketbook decision. I agree with you, the price tag puts the Volt in luxury territory and that is going to limit sales. Not everyone seems to get that.

· · 2 years ago

@Michael Coates - I appreciate your putting a positive spin on the news. If indeed GM is making the decision, as you claim, to keep the price and prestige up ... maybe you're right. Maybe it's not such a bad thing. The trouble is that there is so much press and misconception associated with this (or just press that doesn't give the full story and let's the reader assume the worst), that it seems GM could have softened the decision a little better. And since the Volt doesn't have a very big market to begin with (true EV lovers hate it for the gasoline - true gas lovers hate it for the electrics, and those in the middle have to be pretty wealthy early adopters), such fears of failure dwindle the market even more.

But, as you say, if in a couple generations Prius buyers convert to become Volt buyers (why not: it gets better electric range than the PIH Prius), as prices come down, we may see that evolution. Too many want a revolution, and that is, thankfully, not very likely.

· · 2 years ago

@Dan Part of the issue here is the transparency inherent in our economic system compared with that overseas. Production changes in Japan, China and elsewhere to adapt to market demands rarely make headlines. Here, every move is transmitted and magnified.

As you note, the auto industry has never been about revolution, even as it goes through momentous changes (i.e., the shift from rear-drive to front-drive, carburetors to fuel injection or the current move to electrification).

· · 2 years ago

Good? No. Bad? Yes.

If GM wanted to ramp down the production a bit they could have done so without such drama. I see nothing good about this incident. It is just another in a string of things GM has done which will reduce future Volt sales.

There are ways of doing things that at least avoid a negative spin.

· · 2 years ago

@alt-e,
I'll wager GM (and Ford and Chrysler, not to mention other companies producing cars in the US) would love to hear how you reduce production (a reported number on a monthly basis) and avoid negative spin when you've got a backlog of cars sitting on dealer lots (another regularly reported number). The negative press could impact future sales, but the production cutback itself will not. Moving forward with production of vehicles for which there is no demand would be even more devastating both short-term and long-term.

· · 2 years ago

Reducing production by temporarily laying off 1,300 workers is negative spin. It is headline grabbing. Headlines that say that GM had to go to this extreme due to low sales. Which hurts future sales. If they wanted to reduce production they could have done that in a more graceful manner.

It is like they hired an anti-PR firm.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

I keep hearing and see that some of Volt supporters have been saying "Volt MSRP will come down soon" (or something in similar).

How can that happen? Every logistics decision by GM is against that.

You decrease production (or stop production) to keep inventory low - MSRP will NOT come down.
You decrease your yearly production number - MSRP will NOT come down.

The only thing to make something "cheap" is by increase availability, to the point of excessive inventory (very thin line on just right to excessive). We learned that since the industrial revolution 200 years ago. Electronics industry is a fine example, and so is the automotive business.

So what does GM really want? A higher price on the Volt? Then it will ALWAYS be a niche vehicle, and sales will always be low (way less than the 45K projection), especially since the world economies have already shifted away from N. America and Europe.

For Volt to be successful, it needs to sell, A LOT. At least 45K or more.

Don't you see the dilemma that GM has built the Volt into, Mr Coates? What's your take? Priced wrong for the wrong brand, and the wrong technology to achieve oil independence by sticking a gasoline engine into it (instead of, say, natural gas or bio-diesel).

· · 2 years ago

@alt-e,
Facts is facts. You can spin all you want (trust me, I've spent quite a bit of time in that industry), but the facts will out.
@Londo Bell
You're missing one point. As has been said, you can't lose money on every sale and make it up on volume. GM is a public company and has to report to shareholders. Building the current Volt at higher volumes with no sales pull would mean more losses and I argue ultimately harm the Volt even more because it would sap money that might otherwise go into the next generation version that will hopefully be profitable.

Success is not just sales, but profitable sales. The Volt (and every EV on the market) is expensive because the technology is expensive. It has to have a high price. GM took at chance by retailing it at a lower price than its cost in order to spur the market. they firmly believe the range-extended technology is the best and most cost-effective approach to the EV market (and they're pursuing other energy independence technologies as well), but have got a hurdle getting the EREV to volume AND profitability.

· · 2 years ago

Another thought to add to the pile. Remember, the Volt as designed and went into production while the company went through bankruptcy. GM didn't have the luxury (as it did in EV1 days where the sky appeared to be the limit as far as applying the best and most optimized of everything to the project) of necessarily making course changes that might have made the Volt a more marketable vehicle. As I've said, it is a great vehicle and did sell well in February, just not at volumes to sustain the production levels that had been predicted.

· CharlesF (not verified) · 2 years ago

Volt sales are down and GM does the only thing it can to re-balance and that is to slow or halt production. Leaf sales are down, is Nissan going to do the same? I would assume so.

Now look at the Alan R. Mulally way of doing things. Make a profit on every vehicle and have flexible assembly lines. Is Mulally right? I do not know. His method does limit early adopters, but also limits losses. I guess time will tell which if ether method is the best one.

· Matthew Newton (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hi Michael

Nice article.

However, if sales were through the roof, would you be arguing it's a bad thing?

The Volt has become the target of the right wing press and fairly or unfairly, these guys are death-riding it as much as possible. If GM released a second vehicle this could help to split their attention and nullify the attacks somewhat.

Another potential tactic to could to be to release a plugin version of a car that already exists in their range.

Matthew Newton
Driverless Car HQ

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

"Success is not just sales, but profitable sales."

Not that I don't agree with the statement, there is a huge problem with it.

Namely - Prius. Namely - LEAF. Namely - Insight. (etc etc etc.)

What do they all have common? Unprofitable sales in the beginning.

Profitable sales in the long run is still a success, as demo'ed by Toyota (Prius), don't you think?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Management @ GM has no strong confidence on the Volt. They look too short-term, as with most American companies.

Expand your view from the green auto industry, to others, like steel, solar panel, high-tech manufacturing etc. One common thing - China makes extremely little money or even at a loss (by having all those subsidies that WTO opposes) just to saturate the market with its cheaper supplies, then raise the price. By then, China pretty much has the entire market.

That's why the Volt will be gone (I'm betting 2013). At the current sale volume with the amount of money loss on it, someone needs to have the backbone of Carlos Ghosn in GM in order to stand for its continual existence, with extremely high risk of losing their jobs. I don't see Dan or Mark coming out to speak for a while, and CFO will definitely want to kill it more than anything else.
In order to go into the 2nd generation, the 1st generation needs to exist, let alone be successful.

P.S. For those that keeps on saying, "there are as many Corvettes as Volt sales," you all need to understand 2 things:

1. Dealerships are independently owned, with little to no influence by the manufacturer. In fact, if you are a big dealer, it's vice versa that will happen.
2. Profit margins on any other vehicles are much larger than the Volt. Most car sales aren't out there to promote green or energy independence; they are out there to make money for his/herself/families. The more money, the better. Now think about what they will try to sell you - a cheap Cruze that they can sell many, and make more money, or a Volt that's difficult to sell due to its high price tag, or another $40K vehicle like a pickup truck or Corvette that they have a larger profit margin in each sales (hence higher commission)?

Thus, I hope that you see why Volt sales is not as successful as GM has hoped. Because GM doesn't sell the Volt, GM dealers do.

· · 2 years ago

@CharlesF Let's see how Ford does with production of the Focus EV; they've set some pretty high targets too. Nissan is still playing catch-up due to tsunami delays.
@Matthew Newton
If sales were rolling along close to prognostications, we'd be writing different stories. The second Volt derivative, the Opel Ampera, just went on sale in Europe and the Cadillac ELR is coming soon. GM's plug-in program got waylaid during the bankruptcy, but expect to see it ramp up again as the money flows; Buick has been rumored to get a plug-in variant. Of course, aligning production with demand is a key way of keeping that money flowing for future projects.

· · 2 years ago

@Londo Bell,
Good points all. I'm seeing a commitment to carry through to the Gen2 Volt at GM (and lose money all the way). One of the effects of the process you describe is that GM has been selling Cruzes to folks who come in to look at the Volt. And remember the amount of money Honda & Toyota lost on $20K Insights & Prius was probably not in the realm of what GM and Nissan are losing on their respective vehicles, which are selling in higher volumes, compounding the issue. We'll see how this plays out; my sense is we're still in the first act of the plug-in renaissance.

· · 2 years ago

I for one am considering leasing the volt very
Soon I have a short commute but our family needs reliable long drive car
And in Maine leaf would not work quite yet
Also II want to buy American( to support our industry
This news gives me pause

A buddy just picked one up and he loves it
After 3 years I hope ford or chevy or Nissan or BMW
Has all electric 150+ battery and I can ditch the gas altogether
Oh yeah with "wicked fast" quick chargers up here in Maine!

· · 2 years ago

@Tmac,
You are what is know as the target market! Three years for 150+ mile range--sure, if you're willing to pay. With the Tesla Model S you'd be up in the $60K range and I'd expect that won't change in three years. Of course your winters are going to affect that range quite severely.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

Cold weather aside, 1 excellent option is the Coda. It's American (Start-up), and will have a150 mi range. Best of all, cheaper than the Volt!

I know, I know. most of you hate Coda.

Now seriously though, if temperature in Maine is extremely cold most of the time, then your best option is actually with the Prius Plugin, and not Volt. Reason is extremely simple, in cold weather, the range of Volt can drop to around 10-15 mi, at best. With the PIP, I will bet that it's probably around 7 mi at most. If you've heat on, chances are, Volt's ev range will even be worst, but not PIP (since it'll use gas engine). You want a compromise in that situation. If 10 mi range doesn't cut it for you on the Volt, then what's the difference with the PIP and Volt on ev drive? You are actually better off with PIP with the much better gas mileage and the use of regular gas in PiP.

But then again, you do have a gas vehicle, don't ditch it for the long trip. It makes 0 financial sense, i.e. a dumb move. Mileage wise, may not be as good as a PHEV, but even 'til the day you die, you will never recover the value lost via gas savings on the new vehicle. Just get a pure EV for your commute. Lease one. Much cheaper and financially smarter. Your closest dealer should have LEAF available at this point anyhow. Lease one, then after 3 years, lease a better one with longer range!

· · 2 years ago

@Londo Bell,
I don't hate Coda and have driven their vehicle. Calling it American is a bit of a stretch since the basic car is a Chinese production of a Japanese design. But it does have some interesting technology and solid battery experience. However, there is some truth to the old "you get what you pay for" saw. The Coda is no Volt in terms of fit/finish, technology or refinement, but it's a great first shot into the market.

Your comments about seeking a compromise that makes economic sense is spot on--and the reason for many folks hesitation about jumping into the plug-in market.

· Number719 (not verified) · 2 years ago

I happen to be a 2011 Volt owner. While I've been away on business my wife has been driving my Volt a lot more and now we're talking about perhaps buying her a red Volt with the emissions package (for the carpool lane) and the nav system. When I go to Chevrolet's web site and search for Volts within a 150 mile radius of my home in the LA area I see just two red Volts. One doesn't have the emissions package. The other one does but it does not have the nav system. So right now the car we might want to buy isn't available locally to me. So I can't agree with your statement that having fewer Volts to choose from would be a good thing for car buyers. People like to be able to have several combinations of colors and options to choose from. Very few people would be willing to buy from a dealership over 400 miles away to get the car they want which is what I had to do over a year ago for my Volt. And it looks like things haven't changed that much since then.

· · 2 years ago

@Number719,
Sounds like GM has an allocation problem. They still have a 150-day supply of Volts at current sales rates out on the lots. Maybe they just need to get them where they need them. Was your issue that no 2012 Volts w/upgraded engine for HOV lane were available or only that your color wasn't available?

· · 2 years ago

The Volt was announced "Car of the Year 2012" in Europe. Maybe that helps?
Anyway journalist in Europe don't realize that they are talking about a hybrid hybrid (serial or parallel depending on the driving conditions) since they claim the combustion engine is never coupled to the drive train at all. While that view holds true for driving at low speed it is certainly not for the German "Autobahn" where the Ampera is going to be used and driven fast. So newspapers here are mostly writing about an electric car of the year, not even mentioning the word pugin-hybrid. Even Opel advertises the clutches between the different planetary gears as a trick to make the car more efficient at high speeds. It seems journalists are blind or why don't they mention it and if at all write about a serial hybrid even if the "parallel trick" makes a lot of sense for all those people driving fast on the "Autobahn"? Here in Northern Norway on the other hand all those clutches and planetary gears are a complete overkill. Why bother when the top speed limit is 90 km/h and mostly 60-80 km/t...

· priusmaniac (not verified) · 2 years ago

If the car production cost is dependent on the number they produce, stopping production is going to increase the unit cost. Moreover, if they continue producing, the unit cost will go down. What is best stop production and stick with high unit cost or keep production and reduce unit price? Ultimately the first choice limit availability and market, the second gives availability and open the market each time you reduce the MSRP because your unit cost goes down. From the two options the first secures a no loss, but the second secure success and growth. It’s like on Wall Street Bearish or Bullish what’s best for future profits? What’s your profile?

· · 2 years ago

Just want to put in a word as a Volt owner. The car is fantastic and you love it more the longer you own it. I am pretty sure that my next car will be a Volt. GM is building up a loyal customer base here just like Toyota have done with the Prius. They might loose some money at the beginning but I can see it being a good thing for them in the long run.

When it was cold here (single digits) I was getting about 28 miles range out of the battery. Now that it is warming up I am getting about 36 and it keeps going up.

In the last 500 miles I used less than one gallon of fuel. Driving past gas stations and seeing the $4.50 prices just makes me smile.

· · 2 years ago

@ Dutch in Chicago

Don't forget to mention the $2.00 gallon additional taxes that you pay to keep a massive military presence to protect that oil in the middle east.

· · 2 years ago

@SmilingWhenSailing
Volt will be all electric for the first 35-40 miles up to 101mph. The parallel/serial hybrid only happens once the battery charge is lower than 30% of it's total capacity. All the clutches and planetary gears will be useful when the driving calls for steep graded slope. Although that situation is admittedly rare, that is why the driving experience will be lively enough to not fall into "anemic" category.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

Another word about car dealership, specifically to allocation.

I strongly encourage you to read thetruthaboutcars, particularly on its section about car business.

Distribution is not simply as, dealer A has only 1, dealer B has 10, so move the next allocation to dealer A. It doesn't work that way, like in other businesses.

In short, dealer A has only 1 most likely because it's given incentives to take 1 for now, and at the same time, getting a bunch of other makes at a special "price" (perks, or some other benefits). Since manufacturers make both popular and unpopular models/makes, they need to push everything to dealers, not just 1 particular vehicle.

Again, dealers sell cars, not manufacturers.

· · 2 years ago

Another plus is that dealers will be more likely to cut the price of the Volt so long as there's more supply than demand. It's never going to compete with a Cruze on price but it will at least come down a little with the right haggling.

· · 2 years ago

You need leverage in sales to sell a product. You'll never sell a volt on price compared to a Cruze. A good salesmen wouldn't waste his time. You have to sell the volt on something else. Patriotism, technology, green credentials, coolness. You'd have more chance convincing a prospective customer that an electrical car can actually travel through time when it is travelling at exactly 91.8 MPH while travelling down a 2.35 degree slope at a temperature of 63.8 degrees than you will on price. Actually you could sell it on price if you could convince a buyer that he's got more street cred buying a $41,000 car than buying a cheap $16,000 one.

· · 2 years ago

I watched "Revenge of the Electric Car" last night, and I love Ghosn's vision and fervence. But his car is too expensive. It has to cost the same as a Civic or a Corrola or a Sentra before it works out economically for any end-user besides a Greenie (who sees low-energy living as a symbolic lifestyle choice rather than an economic one), even as gas goes through the roof.

I can pick up a used Corolla on craigslist for a couple thousand dollars and put a ton of gas in it before I even come close to the cost of an EV. This makes me sad.

I don't want GPS navigation, heated mirrors, a sunroof, a 1600 watt stereo with iPod dock, and fifteen airbags. I want a cheap, efficient, reliable transportation vehicle. Instead, they offer an expensive ego trip.

I am in line for the real deal whenever it shows up. In fact, me and my significant other both want one, pink and blue maybe.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

@mars,

You'll NEVER be pick up any new cars for a few thousand dollars. NEVER. EVER.

The metal itself costs that much already.

OTOH, you CAN buy a LEAF or i at around, or even cheaper, than the price of a brand new Sentra or Corolla, base model + some features (not fully loaded). You do it through leasing, through various incentives, etc. Not talking down the road, but RIGHT OUT OF THE DEALERSHIP + a couple of months to wait for those rebate checks.

· · 2 years ago

@priusmaniac,
The volumes we're talking about here don't significantly affect cost of production. The components are all purchased; this is just an adjustment to align production volume w/market volume. Changes to production costs occur at the 100s of Ks level.

· · 2 years ago

@mars,
You're seeing the issue with alternatives to ICE right now. As you saw in "Revenge," Ghosn's goal is to get to the volume levels where the price does drop. The problem, of course, is conventional vehicles already have the volume advantage, so it comes down to components. Batteries remain the biggest cost hurdle for plug-ins, but innovative programs like battery leasing could potentially bring that more in line.

· · 2 years ago

@tterbo,
I'd argue that dropping the price on the Volt is the last thing GM should do. It is a $40K car (actually probably more based on content) and they need to do their best to hold it close to that price in order to keep funding future versions. Accept lower volumes, try to keep margins as close as possible, and move forward to gen2.
@Deckard,
You're right on the money!
@SmilingWhenSailing,
Every little bit should help, but truthfully the level technology you're talking is beyond most consumers. Toyota found out many Prius owners or potential owners through their vehicles should plug in. There's a great disparity of understanding about new technology.

· · 2 years ago

@Londo Bell and priusmaniac,

They're going to reduce the cost of building the Volt by building the ICE in Flint Michigan where the Cruze ICE is built. Currently the ICE is built in Austria. Also the cells for the pack or made in South Korea. A plant is being built in Holland Michigan to build the cells. So these are two examples of the most expensive parts on the Volt that are currently built and shipped from far distances that will be built locally. Other cost reductions are based on GM negotiating better contracts with suppliers which they couldn't do while in bankruptcy.

· · 2 years ago

@Michael Coates - Nice job staying cool under fire ; ) Michael, I posted earlier that I did a nationwide search on cars.com and saw a number of new Volts priced between 45 and 50 thousand dollars, 6 Volts priced between 50 and 60 thousand dollars, and one - at Pierre Chevrolet in Seattle, for $60,165 !!! As a matter of fact, Pierre Chevrolet lists 5 Volts for sale, with the least expensive one of the bunch being $57,380.

At these prices, the Tesla will be a direct competitor with the Volt.

I just went to Edmunds and checked the box for every option offered on a Volt, and the True Market Value came up to $44,174. Why are these dealers asking such ridiculously high prices for these cars? Are they attempting to sabotage sales? $60,000 plus for a Volt from Pierre Chevrolet - I nominate Pierre Chevrolet for the Golden Tailpipe Award. Heck, at that price, the whole exhaust system must be gold plated!

Volt pricing practices of various Chevrolet dealers might make for an interesting article.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

@brg2290,

The answer to your question "[W]hy are these dealers asking such ridiculously high prices for these cars" is extremely simple. Read it from thetruthaboutcars to learn more about it (I learnt it 'coz I did work at a dealership when I was young).

GM Dealerships sell cars. GM DOES NOT sell cars.

For a $40K+ vehicle, there's an expected profit margin at the dealership level. Once the vehicle's delivered to a dealer, the vehicle belongs to the dealer, which in turn, 100% financed by either the bank or the manufacturer's finance arm, interest free, for ~90 days (that's why it's best to buy a vehicle at a dealership lot that have 2+ months in it). Each vehicle takes up floor space (rent calculated per sq ft), and any special equipment / cost- esp in the case of the Volt, such as 240V charger, training, etc. - associated with it.

For any other $40K+ GM vehicle, the profit margin is roughly 15-20%, more for trucks, sports cars, and luxury models (eg. fully loaded of a model). Roughly 10-20% of that profit goes to the salesperson, and more of that goes to the management (not the owner). This is BEFORE we are even talking about extra profit.

Volt has VERY LITTLE profit margin at dealership level. Definitely not sustainable for a dealership's "COST" of operating the business. Thus, dealers will essentially impose a profit margin that any other $40K+ vehicle would have, plus those extra costs on training, equipments, etc. just to make sure that this Volt will have the same profit as with any other $40K vehicle by taking up the same floor space. Now do the math, - that $4k - 8K markup, or even more, don't you see? Coincident with data from Edmunds or Cars.com? Guess not...

That's the reason why very few dealers would like to carry the Volt. The operation cost is too much! Nissan is smart on this one with the online reservation system, making dealers unnecessary to order allocations just like any other cars, like the Versa, Altima, etc. Those orphan vehicles, not that many, are usually at the parking lots. Demo vehicles aren't taking up floor space either. Parking lot space is much much cheaper than that in the showroom too.

Now you get it?

· · 2 years ago

@brg2290,
Very interesting stats. The above sticker prices will definitely keep sales down. On the other hand, when I did an Autotrader search I found a bunch under $30K and plenty of lease deals. As @Londo Bell says, those high prices are all about dealer profit and definitely not in line with the GM party line. On the other hand, they should drive folks towards the $350/month leases (which are quite a bargain, by the way).

· · 2 years ago

@theflew,
Good intel. That and further integration of parts purchasing with other GM vehicles should at least get the Volt into profitable territory even if it doesn't bring the retail price down.

· · 2 years ago

@theflew
The engine is already produced in Michigan as early as last November and battery cells will be made in the US this year as well according to their chief engineer, please see the following webchat:
Nov 2011 webchat
1:21 - Comment From Patrick
When do you expect to see the battery and engine being made in Michigan instead of overseas?

1:22 - Andrew Farah: Patrick: The battery pack is already made in Michigan at GM's Brownstown, Mich., battery manufacturing plant. Additionally, LG Chem, the company that supplies our battery cells will begin manufacturing cells in Holland, Mich., next year. Also, the 1.4L engine used in the Volt is now manufactured in Flint, Mich.

· · 2 years ago

@Londo Bell
No, I don't really get it. I understand your explanation, but by asking a ridiculously high price, it seems to me a dealer virtually guarantees a no sale - period. With that asking price, I would think not only would they guarantee no sale, they'd pretty much guarantee no customer interest as well. How many people are going to pay $60,000 for a Volt? Pierre Chevrolet shoots itself in the foot (unless there's some Microsoft bonus money burning a hole in someone's pocket!)

And Londo, will you please provide more details on the lease / purchase approach to getting a great price on a Leaf or i? If I understand you correctly, a buyer negotiates a lease with option to buy. I've never leased a vehicle, so, beyond this assumption, I'd like to know how this lease / purchase is structured and executed. I think I also understand from what you're saying that by taking this approach one doesn't have to wait 'til tax time for incentive money.

@Michael Coates
Yes, as you mentioned, I saw a bunch of Volts just under $30,000 also, from a dealership in New Jersey. Apparently New Jersey has $3500 state incentive to go along $7500 Fed. incentive, which totals 11 grand for those who are eligible. But to arrive at a sub 30,000 price with 11 thousand in incentives, that dealership is still starting at slightly over $40,000, not $60,000.

· · 2 years ago

@BlueGTR,
Good update. Look for more localized production from everyone. That's what's driving the Nissan battery plant and future Leaf production in TN.
@brg2290,
Dealers can be quite short-sighted. Not to slight the many who do a great job in their community. I applaud the NJ dealer who's trying to show its customers a better view of the transaction price. The one's with the $60K price are usually known quantities--not great dealers and definitely not assets to their community. In the Internet age, such practices are getting highlighted more and more easily, as you have done.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

"virtually guarantees a no sale - period."

Don't be so sure, brg2290. There's a sucker somewhere, some time. A dealer has 3 months or so to find one. If not, just price it at the original, or use their own channels to dal with it. Like I said, if the dealer is big enough that can influence GM, it can do a lot of things that you aren't even aware of. Worst of all, write it off as a business loss by having the staff use it or what not, which can then be used to deduct all the profits it earn from selling sports cars and trucks.

I've explained the lease procedure on the LEAF quite a few times.

(1) Nissan lease gives you a total of approx $10K deduction - that's $7500 tax credit as a cap cost reduction + $2000 (or so, I think it's $2200).
(2) Doesn't matter about interest rate or your credit, but you MUST be qualified for the NMAC (Nissan) lease.
(3) Opt for the 1 time payment thing, that is pay the entire lease amount the 1st day you drive your vehicle off the lot. You can pay the dealership for that. Why do so? Because all interest within the lease payment will be waived. The advertised tier 0 rate is $359/month right now, I believe. That's actually principle + interest. Principe is the actual vehicle depreciation value. That's less than $359/month.
(4) During your X years term, you can buy out the vehicle anytime you want.
(5) Some dealers offer another $1000 off on MSRP or so. You may be able to incorporate the discount in the lease rate too.

In this case, you are paying the depreciated value in the lease + interest. Now you've no interest, so just depreciation value.

$35K - $10K = $25K. Your lease total month payment + residual will be about this amount.
If you live in CA, that's $2.5K discount. Now $22.5K. In CO, I think you get $5K. That's $20K

At $20K - 22.5K level, we are talking Prius II (base), Corolla/Sentra/Civic territory already.

If you work for some companies, Google or BOA, for example, another $5K cash rebate. $15-17.5K.
If you live in some counties in CA, there are like $3-4K rebates too! If you are THAT lucky, $11-13K total. Now the only thing cheaper is the base Nissan Versa.

Volt, otoh, doesn't work with this approach if you use the US Bank lease special. Not sure about the Ally Bank one though. You see, US Bank balloons the residual with that $7.5K, hence making the vehicle worth more than what it really does when you try to buy it out. IOW, you don't get the $7.5K credit, and you'll have to pay for it too - a total turnaround of $15K!

· · 2 years ago

@Londo Bell
I know you've alluded to this approach in another post I read, but this encapsulates it nicely, thank you. I do have one question. If you:

"(3) Opt for the 1 time payment thing, that is pay the entire lease amount the 1st day you drive your vehicle off the lot.",

then why would you need to:
(4) During your X years term, you can buy out the vehicle anytime you want."?

Lastly, I'm in Washington state, where the state incentive seems to favor purchase over lease, as it waives sales tax on EV purchases.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

Your state may varies. One really need to do his/her home work to save a few thousand dollars. Some states favors lease, some states may not.

EV Now may have better answer about the special WA incentives.

Nutshell of a lease

[ --- Depreciation Value ---] + [ --- Residual Value --- ] = Total value of vehicle.

Lease payment (monthly) is the depreciation value (dv) part, divided by X number of months, plus interest on that depreciation value, for that same X number of months. Note that the lease payment in this case is greater than the dv, because of interest.

For (3), 1 time payment on the lease amount. In this case, you only pay the dv. IOW, lease amount = dv only.

There's no interest anymore, because X = 0 (you pay the entire amount of lease at beginning of lease). That's why even if interest rate is 20%, for 3 years, the interest amount is still be $0.

For (4), remember, there's still a buy-out value, or residual value, of the vehicle. (3) only covers dv. You've the option to buy or not to buy. The only limitation is that, if you select to buy, you MUST pay the residual before the end of lease term. Thus, you can buy 1 day after your lease starts, or the very last day before your lease ends. You don't have to buy if you don't want to, of course.

Now, if your dealership will work with you, it MAY be possible to wrap the entire process in one shot. That is, you've the dealer to work out the numbers with you on lease, but you just pay the entire amount (both dv and residual) when you sign your John Hancock plus give the dealer the money. I'm not sure, because I have never done something like that. Best to ask the dealership. Another person you can ask is an accountant, or speak with the finance manager directly instead of going through sales person.

· · 2 years ago

@brg2290,
Plug-in America (www.pluginamerica.org/incentives) also has state info.

· · 2 years ago

Took the big step today
New VOLT owner very excited about the car
Doing my bit to get those lads back on the assembly line

· · 2 years ago

@Tmac,
Congrats! Keep us posted on what you think of it.

· Mike Guinan (not verified) · 2 years ago

Chevy Cruz is Volt sans 20K battery.

· · 2 years ago

I think this is where Ford is looking smarter than everyone was giving them credit for. Everyone has complained that the Ford vehicles are not purpose built xEVs. Instead, they are built off a gas vehicle platform on the same assembly line as their gas counterpart.
As a result, you will never see this headline at Ford [Ford idles plant due to low sales]. If inventory is high, they will just shift production to the gas version and they will not have to idle a plant.

· · 2 years ago

@Tmac
Congrats on your Volt! I have been very impressed with ours and expect you like your Volt just as much.

· · 2 years ago

@regman,
The Ford approach appeals to the financial folks at the auto companies, but the marketing folks always point to the purpose-built Prius, which still dominates hybrid sales. The old yin-yang of the auto business rolls on.

· · 2 years ago

I didn't say Ford's approach was perfect. Just pointing out one of the advantages.

· · 2 years ago

@regman,
There's no "perfect" in the auto biz, just a variety of changing scenarios that don't always work every time.

· Smithjim1961 (not verified) · 2 years ago

It's just a matter of time before the nationwide average price of gasoline is well over $4 per gallon. Then people will be falling over their dicks trying to buy hybrids and EVs.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 2 years ago

If the dealers are increasing the price of the Volt, why not buy directly from GM on their web site? Moreover why not organize group buying towards GM to get even better prices?

Something completely different:

Are there already some after sale Volt adapted three person back seats available on the market that would make it a standard five seat instead of a four seat?

· · 2 years ago

@Priusmaniac

"Are there already some after sale Volt adapted three person back seats available on the market that would make it a standard five seat instead of a four seat?"

Are you saying there is some aftermarket retrofit for installing a center seat in a Volt? I thought the center tunnel location of the battery precluded such a modification.

@Tmac - Congratulations!

@Londo Bell - thanks again for the lease info, much appreciated.

· · 2 years ago

@regman

The Volt is built in a plant that can build other models. It previously was building the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS. Those were discontinued last summer (plant shutdown) and changes were made for the 2013 Malibu to be built there along with the Volt and future Impala. Mid year the plant will flexi-build again, but currently it's only the Volt coming down the line. The plant is capable of building over 200k cars a year.

· · 2 years ago

@theflew,
Do you know if the Volt will be produced on the same assembly line as the Malibu/Impala or on a different line but at the same plant? It is my understanding that all of the Ford electrified products (Focus Electric, Fusion, C-Max, Escape) are all produced on the same line as their gas counterparts and production levels of any version (gas, Hybrid, or Electric) can be adjusted at any time. If the Volt still has a dedicated line, this doesn't help. It will mean that your plant may not shut down but a line (and all employees on that line) will. There are lots of plants that produce multiple models but on different lines and sales of those products can shut down a line within a plant.

· · 2 years ago

@Priusmaniac,
Big problem--there are no direct sales of vehicles from the factory in the US. All sales go through franchised dealers. That's just the way it works. Even big fleet deals run through cooperative dealers. Nice try, though.
@theflew @regman,
Your comments on the line configuration are key. I think they are trying to build the plant so it is fully flexible; I'd be quite disappointed if they didn't. A good test for the "new" GM.

· · 2 years ago

I think several important points have been ignored in this analysis.
- GM produced 4K Volts in Feb. Highest so far in a month. Why ?
- Europe sales are just starting and they have a long order book.
- HOV sticker eligibale Volts are just starting to come out
- Feb was a good sales month

It seems to me they had already decided to lay off the workers for 5 weeks a couple of months back. So, they produced a lot of Volts in Feb. Why not produce a moderate number of Volts in Feb & March instead of this weird maufacturing schedule ?

There is nothing positive that has come out of this bad PR news. Given the context and that Volt has become a political game - this is terrible product management.

· · 2 years ago

@EV Now,
The 4K Volts built in Feb. were a standard production run at the plant, the first time it was really up to speed after the model changeover (and remember GM has been predicted 45K in Volt sales for 2012). When they only sold a little more than 1K for Feb., they pulled the trigger. That's the way it works. That's about as quickly as an automaker can react (and is much quicker than in times past). The month+ off should line up supply with demand and gives them a chance to gauge CA demand based on HOV access. EU sales are likely to be negligible since because of its high price, but we'll see. It will be interesting to see how they rationalize production down the road.

· · 2 years ago

@EV Now,
Gotta check your numbers. Just got Automotive News and Volt production Jan 1- Mar 3 totals 2,047. So its not as drastic as you presented, but having a 150-day supply at Feb's selling rate is still what spooked them.

· · 2 years ago

@Michael Coates · I guess I got the wrong number from somewhere.

Even so, it just doesn't make any sense. The last 4 month's sales figures are 1,108 - 1,139 - 1,529 - 603. What did they expect to sell in feb ?

That 150 day "supply" doesn't include demos. Infact the # of Volts per dealer is less than 2 ! Is that really a over supply ? How about the other 2 points ...

- Europe sales are just starting and they have a long order book.
- HOV sticker eligibale Volts are just starting to come out

I've actually argued in the past that Volt is supply constrained & not demand constrained (this was when GM marketing was saying it was the other way round). But now seems to be exactly the wrong time to shutdown production.

· · 2 years ago

Michael Coates,

I take back my statement. Volt/Ampera production was indeed close to 4K in Feb (2,347 + 1,529).

http://media.gm.com/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Mar/gmsales/_jcr_conte...

· · 2 years ago

@Michael Coates. "EU sales are likely to be negligible since because of its high price, but we'll see."

EU chief is on record saying they want 8k (or was that 6k) Volts/Amperas. Even Canada is not getting enough Volts.

"The month+ off should line up supply with demand and gives them a chance to gauge CA demand based on HOV access."

Hmmm - that doesn't make much sense. HOV eligible Volts are just being manufactured. How can they gauge the demand by shutting off supply ? Volt is not a special order like Leaf - the Volts are ordered by dealers. We need the cars in dealerships (in stock) to gauge the demand. There will always be less demand for special order cars you need to order and wait for months to get. People want to be able to drive that new car off the lot when they buy it.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ EV Now and M.C.,

Remember, the way that GM and dealerships do business with one another is not the same as dealerships to consumer.

On the surface, yes, it doesn't look like that many Volt's on the market. Deep down, otoh, it may very well be that only a handful of dealerships are ordering from GM. Thus, an oversupply in the internal channel, something not visible to the retail consumers, and essentially makes the "days supply" number make total sense (which isn't about number of dealerships in calculating that figure).

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

Take a look at this article from thetruthaboutcars. It perfectly describes how a dealership / manufacturer works with each other. I know, cause I used to work at one when I was young (well, I ain't THAT old either). I could be lying, of course, but it's up to you (and all the Volt fans) to believe it or not, esp since this is from TTAC.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/avoidable-contact-dealer-vs-man...

Pay attention to paragraph 5, which talks about allocation.

· · 2 years ago

@EVNow,
Trust me, if there's 150-day supply at Feb selling rates (and a look online at availability certainly verifies that), the short shutdown will do the trick. GM, in spite of the dealers (nod to @Londo Bell), would rather have buyers claiming the Volt they want is hard to find than hearing dealers selling them below invoice to move the iron off their floor plan. And GM has been pushing Volts on dealers according to an earlier AutoNews report (and getting pushback from dealers that didn't want them), On the other hand, if people are willing to order a Leaf and wait, why wouldn't they do the same with the Volt?

· · 2 years ago

I find the whole thing with the dealers bizarre. I hear what Londo Bell is saying about how much money salesmen are making on selling the Volt. The whole thing about sales find out what the customer wants and give it to them. If someone comes in off the street, has a LOT of cash to spend and is specifically looking to buy a car like a volt that exactly meets his needs sell the volt to him. Don't try and sell him one of your other cars that he doesn't want. He will just walk off the lot and probably go and buy a plug in PRIUS and think "Well that's the last time I deal with those GM goofballs"

· · 2 years ago

@Londo Bell
In your lease example for the Leaf, you mention "(1) Nissan lease gives you a total of approx $10K deduction - that's $7500 tax credit as a cap cost reduction + $2000 (or so, I think it's $2200).

Where does the $2000 - $2200 come from? Nissan? I spoke with two different dealers today and neither recognized this additional amount.

To everyone else following this thread, I apologize if the Leaf lease / buy questions don't seem germaine to the topic. I wish there was a private message function...

· · 2 years ago

Thanks, Michael and the many posters with good ideas and open minds! My posting, "What's Dragging Down the Volt? And What Can We Do Now? points to this page. http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/1152.html

· · 2 years ago

Thanks, Felix, It's been a fun and healthy discussion. I'd also refer folks back to my original road test of the Volt: http://www.plugincars.com/volt-rocking-real-world-cost-mileage-106652.html

· Mike Boyd (not verified) · 2 years ago

For comparison sake how many Nissan Leafs are sold a year ?

· Mike Boyd (not verified) · 2 years ago

For comparison sake how many Nissan Leafs are sold a year ?

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

My apology brg2290,

The amount for $2000-$2200 is incorrect. I misread my lease. It should be about $800-900, on top of the $7500, being used as cap cost reduction. IOW, that $800-900 is a discount directly from Nissan.

However, remember that you can still negotiate a better deal, in terms of both monthly payment and downpayment. I did, and I didn't have to pay the full amount as outlined in the Nissan's sponsored lease.

I suggested that you go to the buying leasing thread under mynissanleaf.com to check out the leasing details provided by EV Now.

1 thing though, the spreadsheet can be a bit confusing...also, in case if you wonder my numbers are "lower" than what EV Now has provided, bear in mind that the numbers under "Total Cash" includes everything (taxes, delivery, etc.). Same thing for "Total Cap" (less tax). Thus, the total depreciation value - the way I look at it - can be incorrect, as it includes dollar amount that really has nothing to do with depreciation (roughly $1500). ANother is that the cap cost reduction can be more than what is listed (My 2011 has a higher cap cost reduction, i.e. discount, than that of the spreadsheet, $500 more, and don't ask me why.)

It you add residual with total depreciation, then subtract $1500-$2000, you will end up a number that's about $1000-$1500 than what I've stated above (sorry about that).

Final word, leasing is a complicated thing. Try to read some online materials to learn about the in and out of it. Remember, sales people try to get as much $ to put into his/her own wallet, so you need to prepare to get into that pricing battle.

· Londo Bell (not verified) · 2 years ago

1 last thing... (sorry)

If you've the intension to buy (like almost absolutely sure), 1 trick that can help you with the WA state tax free incentive is that, opt for the lowest allowed mileage lease AND lowest monthly term under the Nissan program. Absolutely lowest.

That means high monthly payment, but since you plan to do that 1 payment term, it's still the depreciation value only. However, what you'll have is like a "ballooned" residual value. Not really balloon, but a much larger residual. That MAY help you to get as much tax free part as possible.

Theoretically, that can be in your advantage :)

· · 2 years ago

Look at this comment by Statik on gm-volt. Best explanation for the "pause" with some insider info.

http://gm-volt.com/2012/03/07/the-chevy-volt-adoption-curve/#comment-326688

Essentially for MY12 GM projected much bigger sales than is "possible", producing at the rate of 1,000 per week or about 50k per year. In order to do that, they hired a lot of workers. That is the reason they made nearly 4,000 Volts in Feb. Ofcourse, the demand is nowhere near that much (I guess the sales potential is around 2K per month).

So, the reason for the shutdown is clear. BAD projection by Chevy managers. Ofcourse, when the history is written, people will blame this on unions.

· Gene (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hi,
Back when I had too much money I bought new luxury cars. Now I'm retired and build my own Vehicles. Bio-Diesel 123MPG, Electric 566MPGe, and now a Gas Powered 134MPG. Just by taking a little weight off the 1991 Geo Metro convertible and reshaping the body a little with a belly pan, it went from 33MPG city, 40MPG hwy, to 52MPG city, 80MPG hwy.
I like the Volt. But it seems, if you can afford a Volt, you don't need to think of MPG. So the only selling point is saving the Environment.
Gene

· · 2 years ago

@Michael Coates · "Trust me, if there's 150-day supply at Feb selling rates (and a look online at availability certainly verifies that), the short shutdown will do the trick."

Yes - that shutdown will reduce the stock. But it is just a short term tactic - and it will do possibly irreperable damage to the long term objective of promoting PlugIns and selling a lot of Volts.

"GM, in spite of the dealers (nod to @Londo Bell), would rather have buyers claiming the Volt they want is hard to find than hearing dealers selling them below invoice to move the iron off their floor plan. "

That is exactly the wrong attitude. The "old GM" is still very much alive & kicking.

Volt is doesn't have the same attraction and millions strong loyal customer base of an iPad that they can play around this way. If they can't find the Volt nearby quickly people are likely to move on.

BTW, it is not like only some dealers are ordering Volts. The Volts with dealers are terribly distributed. I see 11 Volts with a dealer in a poorer neighbourhood and just a handful in areas near me where you would expect buyers for $40k+ vehicles. I've been saying this for long now - GM made a terrible mistake by allocating to dealers rather than letting interested customers order online and allocating Volts to them.

· · 2 years ago

@EVNow,
Good piece by Statik. He sums it up well -- "you can’t build 1,000 cars off a line geared for 5,000…unless you are selling Porsches." I'd add that even with Porsches that can be a problem. Again, not sure where the 4K production number came from since it is not a reported figure (and yes those numbers are validated), but the rationale still stands.

· · 2 years ago

@EVNow,
You're right on about the dealer allocation issue, but Volt's not the only model (and GM's not the only company with that issue). Much of it goes to the franchise system. Nissan also works with orders because of their longer supply chain (shipping the vehicles from Japan). It will be interesting to see what system they use when they start building them in TN.

· · 2 years ago

@Mike Boyd,
Leaf sales for 2011 were 9674 in the US (about 20K worldwide); Volts were 7671 in the US.

· You Poor Americans (not verified) · 2 years ago

You do not reduce unit costs by stopping production (for the second time).
You do not increase market acceptance and familiarity by reducing availability.
The Volt is priced not to be a mass market car but a luxury car - so it needs to be marketed accordingly. Eg BMW only make to order here in Europe, if you want a brand new one.

"There is also what they call the threshold factor or the threshold size for the fleet in the USA. When you drive anywhere in the US, in any city in the US, you get used to seeing lots of GM vehicles or Ford vehicles and this generates an unconscious acceptance within the motoring community. The idea of having half a million vehicles concentrated in the environmentally positive states - California, New England etc., would mean that the number of Priuses on the road would stand out like sore thumbs to the motoring community as a whole. While today it might be relatively rare to see a Prius and the motorist might think “What’s that?” and dismiss it, when you reach the threshold of half a million vehicles concentrated in a few states, their presence and numbers accelerate their acceptance within the motoring community at large. Add to that the quite environmentally obvious benefits for passers by, curiosity factor, green factor, organic factor, health factor - all these trends that are sweeping America currently and the Clean Car becomes not just an idea or a dream but a reality which people can see, touch and hopefully not smell. With a fleet of half a million Priuses concentrated in a few states, the demand for the vehicle would drive the marketing strategy."

· · 2 years ago

@EVNow "Yes - that shutdown will reduce the stock. But it is just a short term tactic - and it will do possibly irreperable damage to the long term objective of promoting PlugIns and selling a lot of Volts."

Fox (alleged) News is already beating the drum of negativity on this.

· · 2 years ago

@You Poor Americans,
"all these trends are sweeping America currently"
I appreciate your European perspective and you are right about the production/cost equation (especially with our labor agreements), but the focus is on maintaining the market price for the Volt and ROI to GM on sales. GM is ramping up marketing once again (out of proportion, I might add, for the expected sales of the vehicle, but not its importance to GM and its image), so we'll see how market acceptance goes. They are focusing as Toyota did with the Prius, on the likely target states.

To your point quoted above, I think your other comment about "having half a million vehicles concentrated in environmentally positive states" is a better reflection of our automotive reality. Prius does well in CA, do the point that the state thinks it is a fully commercialized technology. If you check in Kansas or Nebraska, you'd have a different impression of the success of the technology. And it's overall impact (hybrid technology) at less than 3% of the market cannot be said to be "sweeping" in any sense.

It may--and I hope will--change, but if the change depends on consumer acceptance, it will be gradual and long-term.

· VoltStudents (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hello,

As a group we are doing our senior project on the Chevy Volt. Since everyone on this site is such a fan of the car, we thought you'd have the most reliable opinions for our survey.

If you could please take the time to help us out and answer these 10 questions, that would be amazing.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ML52YTR

Thank you so much in advance!

· · 2 years ago

@Michael Coates · "Again, not sure where the 4K production number came from since it is not a reported figure (and yes those numbers are validated), but the rationale still stands."

I provided the link earlier - Volt + Ampera production in Feb was about 3,900.

· · 2 years ago

@brg2290 · "Fox (alleged) News is already beating the drum of negativity on this."

Exactly. While this tactic of shutting down works for some niche mode noone has heard of - when a model becomes the face of GM and a political football - one has to be careful. Perception is reality - so it is important to manage perception (an well as reality).

· · 2 years ago

@EVNow,
I apologize, I missed that post on the production numbers. Very interesting how much the GM #s differ from the AutoNews numbers, which are supposed to be company reported #s. Makes me question the so-called "bible" of the industry. I just found they did show Ampera production at a different place on the chart, closer to the GM chart numbers, but still different (and less).

· YouPoorAmericans(FellowHumanBeings) (not verified) · 2 years ago

Something that puzzles me is why the US (neo)conservatives, who are also the most strident "get off foreign oil" advocates are so anti-Volt? Doesn't buying oil from the Middle East and Chavez etc fund negative regimes and so is saving oil not a "good thing"?

Surely they should ALL be buying Volts and praising everything that increases fuel economy ? Surely it is better to spend tax dollars on subsidising the Volt to reduce oil imports than on military spending to send troops to the ME to maintain oil imports?

Why are (neo)conservatives not the most voiciferous supporters of the Volt then?

· · 2 years ago

@YouPoorAmericans(FellowHumanBeings),
Two things in my opinion, a combination of politics and dogma:
(1) the anti-Volt folks are against government-supported entities (except for the ones they favor, such as off-shore drilling and ethanol production), and see GM and the Volt as the poster child for this (ignoring history of course).
(2) the are essentially anti-change, supporting the status quo when given a choice, which is by definition a conservative mantra.

· · 2 years ago

@YouPoorAmericans "Something that puzzles me is why the US (neo)conservatives, who are also the most strident "get off foreign oil" advocates are so anti-Volt?"

No - they are not the most strident "get off foreign oil" advocates. Infact the basic tenant of neo-cons is to "secure" foreign oil and if possible make them the property of US. The failed project in Iraq hasn't deterred them into trying the same tactics again in Iran.

Ofcourse, conservatives in general have been led to beleive that all we have to do is drill & drill - and we will have enough domestic oil to last centuries.

· · 2 years ago

I agree with Michael's position in his article here. In fact, I am actually taking delivery of my new Volt this week and was concerned for the availability/wait time when I heard of the factory being idled or a while. I moved fast to "get it done" and I think there are tons of people like me---with this week's gas prices at 4+ dollars a gallon--who will move off their butts and take the plunge.

· · 2 years ago

@JackT,
Well that makes two readers who have purchased a Volt since the article appeared. That could be the start of a trend.

· Gene (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hi,
How about a government subsidized low priced Volt like car. I'm sure that would jump-start Electric Vehicles. It would cost a lot less than these Oil Wars.
Gene

· · 2 years ago

@Gene,
Not to sound like a neocon, but the Volt is a government subsidized vehicle since it wouldn't exist without the bailout of GM. In addition, the feds have put millions into Ford refurbing plants to build the Focus EV and others and put money into Nissan's battery and EV plant in TN. Not to mention loans to Tesla and Fisker. That's why prices are as low as they are. These cars don't come cheap. Now it's up to the public to step up and buy.

· Gene (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hi,
I agree with you. I built an EV with 1200 used lithium Ion batteries, 125 mile range, 90 mph top speed, for under $2000. Why not a basic Volt type car for under $12,000, so almost everyone could buy one? It may pay for it's self in the long run, and solve a lot of problems.
Gene

· · 4 days ago

I agree with Michael's position in his article here. In fact, I am actually taking delivery of my new Volt this week and was concerned for the availability/wait time when I heard of the factory being idled or a while. I moved fast to "get it done" and I think there are tons of people like me
Craigslist

· · 4 days ago

@davidmurree,
Glad to see you made the move. GM's made some very aggressive moves investing more in the Volt and seeking to bring down its price even more while potentially moving it into a money-maker for the company. It remains a great bargain (particularly at discount lease prices) for the consumer.
Michael Coates

· · 4 days ago

Okay, since this thread is being brought back to life after two years, I'll play along. Michael, please detail some of the great discount leases, and how one goes about obtaining the best lease price. I have a friend in Portland OR who is interested in leasing now, and my Leaf lease will be up in Dec. 2014, when I could be interested in a discount Volt lease.
Thanks.

· · 4 days ago

@brg2290,
There's always life when a vehicle is still in production (and looking to continue). I started looking for Volt leases on the Chevy website, which lists a $269/month 36-month lease with $2669 down, which isn't bad but not as good as some others that had been offered. Googled "Chevy Volt Lease Portland" and found a better deal--$299/month but only $797 down (Wentworth Chevrolet). Tonkin Chevy has a $269month w/$2669 down. What this tells you is there is room for negotiation out there. Of course there also may be more deals coming as they crank up newer, less expensive Volt models.
Michael

· · 4 days ago

@Michael Coates - very helpful info. Thank you. I passed Wentworth info. onto Portland friend.

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