General Motors has announced that they’re halting production of the range-extender Chevrolet Volt as sales falter.
The Chevy Volt is General Motors’ car of the future (and sister car to the Vauxhall Ampera) with a range extender engine and the ability to run on a plug-in charge. And GM proclaimed it as the future of the company and did everything they could to keep costs in check.
Despite that, the Focus-sized Chevy Volt cost $41,000 (the Ford Focus starts at $18k in the States), and anyone with a brain can work out that it would take substantially longer than the life of the car to recoup those huge extra up-front costs in fuel savings.
But GM has pushed ahead with the Chevy Volt and predicted big sales. Although it seemed like PR flim-flam to us, GM announced as recently as the summer of 2010 that they were doubling production to 45,000 Chevy Volts in 2012 (despite the original target being set at 60,000 in 2009 – how did that work?). But now reality has struck.
In the first two months of 2012 GM has sold just 1,626 Volts and currently hold stock of 6,300 units, enough for the next six months at current sale rates – always assuming those already feeble sale don’t fall further. So GM has done the only thing they can (short of making a huge loss on every Volt by selling at competitive prices) and shut production until April 23rd.
It seems American car buyers can do the math.