Volt Voted Out as GM Readies to Suspend Production

GM VoltChevy’s Volt Electric Hybrid car being suspended due to poor demand

When General Motors announced its new plan to build the ultimate electric car, the Chevy Volt, blogs were a talking, and it was as though customers were lining up to buy. But with setbacks following adverse publicity involving the car’s battery pack catching fire in crash tests and extremely slow sales of the car in US dealerships GM has announced that they will suspend production of the Volt.

According to Fox News, the five week production suspension is to allow dealerships to rid themselves of inventories of Volts which have been selling much slower than anticipated. Another reason may be due to running costs comparisons to economic gasoline run cars, especially the  Chevrolet Cruze, which gets very good gas mileage (42 mpg), handles very well for a compact, and sells for less than $20,000 as compared to the Volt’s $46,000 sticker price.

Even though the Volt scored higher in front and rear end crash tests than Renault’s Fluence EV, the adverse publicity the Volt has received from side crash tests (in which its lithium ion batter battery pack actually caught  fire in some tests) has not been favorable to prospective Volt buyers.

Chevy Volts have not yet been marketed in the Middle East, most likely due to lack of available infrastructure (charging stations); and the fact that excect for companies like Israel’s Better Place, interest in such cars just hasn’t materialized. When there’s oil everywhere – and it’s cheap – who needs to buy an electric car?

But gas isn’t cheap in Israel – and now it’s about $2 US a liter.

Better Place, which recently rolled out its first 100 Renault Fluence EV cars to Israeli customers,
still hasn’t proven that its electric car infrastructure network is one that will be popular with car drivers. This is also coupled with lower than expected buyer demand and lack of driving range on its “exchangeable” lithium ion battery pack.

The Volt’s setback in the US is perhaps another indication that most car drivers are just not ready yet for electric cars. The Volt’s main GM economy car competitor, the Chevy Cruze, gets very satisfactory gas mileage for a 4 cylinder car that is large enough to carry 5 adult passengers comfortably. The Cruze is also becoming popular abroad and is being seen on European highways as well as in the Middle East, including Israel.

What will happen after GM’s 5 week production suspension remains to be seen. But Fox News commentators did not give a very optimistic picture for this car, saying that sales demand is so low that dealers prefer not to sell them. How this news will affect the sales of other brands of electric cars, such as Nissan’s Leaf model (which is not being sold in the Middle East) also remains to be seen.

Photo: Fox News

Read more in the Chevrolet Volt and Renault Fluence EV:

Chevy Volt Catches Fire in Crash Tests
Better Place Puts 100 Electric Cars on Israeli Roads
New Chevy Volts Already Rolling into Dealerships
Denmark Prepares to Slowly Enter the Electric Car Network

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7 thoughts on “Volt Voted Out as GM Readies to Suspend Production”

  1. Mark says:

    In march volt sales double… Again to 2300 a month. This makes it already one of the best selling cars in its price range, almost sold out for the year in Europe … Clearly EV and the volt in particular is ready for prime time. In the us we will need to wait until after the election to have a real discussion on the volt, but consumers are voting with their wallets.

  2. Russ says:

    Cleary EVs need to add range and reduce cost before they are practicle. Additionally they are not utilitarian, I need to tow a camping or boat trailer for example. Living in the NE low temperatures are not tolerated well without additional cost for battery and pre heating. Consider the carbon tax on electrical power which is on the horizon, already common place in the EU. EVs have there place, short distance second vehicle status and niche market. Practicle at this point they are not. Personally I’m hopeful for somewhat selfish reasons, that lessens the demand such that fossil fuel is available for those who choose not to buy in to the EV market.

  3. I agree: Fox News isn’t exactly news.

  4. Maurice says:

    OK, fine, Mark. So why so few people buying it.

  5. Mark says:

    lets be clear, Fox new not only didnt do its home work they have been made fun of by the the left and the right in the US for pushing one of thier owners political agenda ( oil company tax breaks) at the expense of reality.

    A Lot of different people have compared the Volt to the Cruze and everyone comes in more or less with a 5 year break even.

    See for yourself:
    http://gm-volt.com/2011/08/29/could-a-chevrolet-volt-cost-less-to-own-than-a-chevrolet-cruze/

    That’s assuming gas at $3.60 a gallon, not the $4.50 I paid the last time I filled up.

    The reason why the Volt is not selling is simple. It has become a political football in the US election thanks to Obama tagging it to a plan to shift of $4 billion in Oil company tax breaks directly to the end consumer via an EV tax break. Thus the real debate, is EV tech ready for prime time or not?

    Let the facts speak for themselves.

  6. Maurice says:

    Hey Bobo, thanks for your comments. the “$46,000 sum came from Fox News, which I assumed had done their homework. Maybe this price includes some additional accessories not found on the $39,995 model.

    Believe me, we at Green Prophet are not trying to “submarine” the Volt as we are very much in favor of electric cars. However, the news does reveal that people are having second thoughts about this car. GM tried an electric car venture back in the 1990’s which also ended after selling even fewer models.

    Electrics cars will one day become reality. But first, more work needs to be done on their technology and infrastructure.

  7. Bobo Farquart says:

    Volt’s sticker is $39995, not $46000.

    At least get your facts straight before spewing.

    Oh, hey, way to be on top of things! I mean, this is only week-old news…

    And…the Volt caught fire WEEKS after it had been crash-tested, held upside down, and then put in outdoor storage. Meanwhile, NHTSA didn’t follow GM’s guidelines for handling a crashed electric car.

    At least get your facts straight before spewing. This is the very reason this exceptional vehicle is not selling like hotcakes. It saves money, even against a Cruze, yet media idiots are using it as a political pawn. THis will impact GM, and American company, and the plant workers, who are also fellow Americans.

    You should all be ashamed for wishing harm, and continuing to submarine GM and the Volt, as these are American workers and jobs that will be lost. I consider you folks traitors for that.

    Oh, and hey, way to be on top of things! I mean, this is only week-old news…

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