Chevrolet Notches 1,766 Volt Sales In September. Leases to Blame?

4 years ago by Jay Cole 69

A Chevrolet Volt Undergoes Testing At GM's Warren, Michigan Battery Facility

A Chevrolet Volt Undergoes Testing At GM’s Warren, Michigan Battery Facility

How to follow up a record breaking month of Volt sales in August for Chevrolet?  How about with half that amount in September?

Most 2014 Chevrolet Volts Are Finding A Home In California

Most 2014 Chevrolet Volts Are Finding A Home In California

Last month GM set a new worldwide benchmark for must plug-in sales in one month, in one country.  Not only did GM sell 3,351 Volts in August, but they became the first manufacturer to eclipse 3,000 units.

For September 1,766 more were sold as GM’s $5,000 MSRP reduction on the Volt (now from $34,995) only drew in a few consumers.  This month’s numbers reflect a 38.1% percent decrease compared to September of 2012 when 2,851 cars were sold.

Overall, GM has now sold 16,760 Volts in 2013, as compared to 16,348 – an improvement of only 2.5%.

Where does September fit into the “all-time” best selling months?  Answer is that it doesn’t, but hopefully it can return next month.

  1. Chevrolet Volt – 3,351 (Aug – 2013)
  2. Chevrolet Volt –  2,961 (Oct – 2012)
  3. Chevrolet Volt – 2,851 (Sept – 2012)
  4. Chevrolet Volt – 2,831 (Aug – 2012)
  5. Chevrolet Volt – 2,698 (June – 2013)
  6. Chevrolet Volt – 2,633 (Dec – 2012)
  7. Nissan LEAF – 2,420 (Aug – 2013)
  8. Tesla Model S – 2,300* (Mar – 2013)
  9. Chevrolet Volt – 2,289 (Mar  – 2012)
  10. Nissan LEAF – 2,236 (Mar – 2013)
2014 Model Year Chevrolet Volt Lease Offer

2014 Model Year Chevrolet Volt Lease Offer

Seen as a major reason for this result, the new national lease deal by Chevrolet on 2014 models (which is how most Volts are sold), namely $299/month with $2,499 due at signing, has been seen as a bit of a hindrance to maintaining future sales as 2013 inventory is depleted.

Put another way, the American consumer has been pounded with “$199/month – $1,000 down” deals on cars starting in the low $30K range and may be reluctant to pay $100 more per month to get essentially the same Volt as was sold as a Model Year 2013.

The $5,000 MSRP reduction is great for purchase customers, but they are not the majority.  To continue to crest 3,000 units regularly GM probably needs to make the $299/lease a zero down proposition, or a $249 – $1,999 down thing.

Separately, Chevy said that the Spark EV sold 78 copies in September.  (Also, check out all of September’s plug-in results on our monthly scorecard)

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69 responses to "Chevrolet Notches 1,766 Volt Sales In September. Leases to Blame?"

  1. Assaf says:

    Jay,

    Are the people releasing Volt numbers completely different from the ones releasing Spark EV numbers?

    Just wondering…

    Also, is it right that this year “August” ended September 2, so we had a 33-day month last month and a 28 month this month?

    Thanks!

    1. David Murray says:

      Yes, that is true. And so that could easily account for as much as 300 sales for the Volt.

  2. Schmeltz says:

    1766–ouch. That kind of felt like a punch in the gut compared to last month’s record setters. GM really needs to pay better attention to the lease deals you mentioned Jay. $199/Mo. w/ $1000 down looks like the best attention grabber rate of the group to me.

  3. Taser54 says:

    Champagne taste, beer money.

  4. GeorgeS says:

    I know 1 month is statistically insignificant but this does not bode well. This was nagging me in the back of my mind: What if GM drops the price 5K and the Volt still doesn’t sell??

    If this is a long term trend I’m afraid what will happen to the Volt. GM could cancel it. However, they really don’t have anything to replace it with so they are between a rock in a hard spot.

    I think Voltec could sell but it is going to take gen 2 to fix the problems with this car. GM needs to get gen 2 out ASAP…not in 2016. In fact the 2016 gen 2 update slippage may just be another indicator that GM is throwing in the towel on Voltec.

    1. Schmeltz says:

      I feel the same concerns you do George, although I’m not jumping to that conclusion. GM has too much invested in this car to just kill it off. There were numerous opportunities where GM could’ve easily thrown up there hands and said, “this is over!”, but didn’t. Most people’s “problems” with the car are:

      1. Too expensive…even at $34,995
      2. Too small…(my personal main criticism)
      3. Misunderstood…People don’t understand what a Plug-in Car is, how it works, etc.
      4. Sour taste towards GM as a company…for a myriad of different reasons linked to the past.

      In the short term, until the Gen. 2 Volt can arrive, about the only tool GM can use to their advantage is the Leasing deal. They can’t make the car bigger than it is, they can’t clear up people’s perseptions over night, and they can’t just glaze over a mass of ill-will that was earned by committing sins over 100 years of being in business. I don’t think the Volt is going away but it may likely continue to have a steep hill to climb for sales numbers.

      1. GM Insider says:

        They have been told virtually by 120% of their engineers this is a terrible idea, but the ego of the management won’t yield (anyway, they won’t be around if GM goes out of business), I seriously doubt this company can survive because they have no presence in HEV, where toyota and Ford dominates.

        Headline of WSJ regarding GM:
        1) on Apr 26th, 2017: GM sales has dropped to the level not seen since 1929, and has a market share of 7%.
        2). On July 12th, 2017, GM has been accused by communist Chinese government of stealing national secret from SAIC, and there is a 5 year ban on any GM product in China.
        3). On Sep 30th, all major suppliers have request collateral equivalent to 150% value of parts (supplied to GM) before shipping any parts to GM factories.
        4). On the eve of thanksgiving, GM filed Chapter 7 worldwide, Ford take over Cadillac (the old Henry Ford Company) and become the dominant US automaker, with 27% market share, followed by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Nissan at 26%, 20%, 15%, 7%, the remaining goes to MB, BMW, Volkswagen.

      2. KenZ says:

        As one of the buyers (well, lease) this past month, only price was in your list of things that we wished were different. We think it’s a fine size!

        It does, however, have two major flaws in our eyes: poor visibility for checking blind spots, and a horrendously awful center console of touch points all over.

        1. KenZ says:

          PS- we test drove a Spark and a Leaf the same day. We both hated the Spark, and liked the Leaf. If you think the Volt is small… I dare you to test drive a Spark. Even my 5’2″ fiance thought it was cramped.

    2. Ocean Railroader says:

      What is interesting is that the closed thing it’s competing with is Ford and Ford is slowly starting to raise it’s sales with it’s line of Plug in Cars which is showing the idea of a plug in car is not a bad idea. Also if Ford Cuts the price of it’s plug in hybrid cars to that of the regular hybrid it could really dish out a crippling blow to the Volt.

      The King Kong in the room is Tesla in that if they come out with generation 3 Tesla at the same time volt two comes out it’s could to be like them getting sit on by King Kong in that will most likely be the crippling blow to the Volt.

      As for the Nissan Leaf I always thought that the volt would sell more then the Leaf do to it being a plug in hybrid while the leaf can only go 80 miles on a charge. But the leaf in many cases has been able to sell more then the volt.

  5. GM Insider says:

    Anyone who is saying Toyota is stupid now must realize that Toyota spend 50 billion Yen just to study the feasibility of PHEV, but decided against it, I don’t see how GM can survive when they are >20 years behind Toyota in HEV (their own HEV is a junk, sells extremely poorly), they can never catch up and sales will collapse like WTO building when HEV become the dominant vehicle type!

    1. pjwood says:

      50 million dollars is not a lot.

      1. zivbndi says:

        $500,000,000US is a lot of money.

  6. David Murray says:

    Anyone thinking GM is going to cancel this car, think again.

    First of all, if they cancel it then they’d wind up having to buy ZEV credits from Nissan or Tesla. Whatever loss they incur from the Volt is bound to be preferable to that.

    Second of all, they realize at this point that Tesla is on the verge of changing the market forever. They know Tesla will have a cheaper car for the masses in a few years. GM is working hard to make sure they are ready with a competitor. Right now the Volt is their stop-gap. I suspect they will “make their stand” against Tesla with their 2nd generation Volt.

    1. GM Insider says:

      Their ballyhooed battery from Envia Systems has very poor reliability, that is why they showed zero REAL COMMITMENT to make $30000 EV a few days ago.
      The real risk is not they lose $3 billion, the real risk is they have no real competitor to Prius. It does not matter how advanced is your product, if few people buy it, it is POS!

  7. Bloggin says:

    The Volt is not competing with a $199/mo lease, because 76+ mile full EV consumer is not the same as the 380+ mile plug-in hybrid customer.

    I think the Fusion Energi $5,500 incentive had more to do with it.

    Currently the 2013 Fusion Energi SE has 0% for 60 months and $3,000 Bonus Cash, or $4,500 Cash Back, then add the $1,000 Competitive Lease Cash if you are getting out of a another automakers lease.

    With most trips less than 20 miles, and owners charging the 21 EV mile Energi vehicles ever 4 trips or just 6 days a week, if you can upgrade and get a nicer, larger 5 passenger sedan for the same money, why not.

    But we will see once Ford decides to offer the electrified vehicle sales numbers later this week.

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      The Nissan Leaf along with the Tesla could become a challenge for the 380 mile plug in volt if they start raising their ranges from 75 to 120’s and 200 miles and if some type of 300 mile or 400 mile range car battery system comes out in the next five years it could very well be the flood lapping at around GM’s feet.

    2. Jay Cole says:

      I’m not suggesting Chevy should offer a $199 lease at all – the Volt has all the advantages you point out as an EREV, but their current offer is not reflecting the price reduction vis-à-vis what customer could on the car get last year, and to what the rest of the market is seeing (rightly or wrongly) in the market now.

      Something like a $249 with $1,999 down, or a flat $299 (nothing down) deal is probably the sweet spot for GM. I think that is probably what we will see…they tried out this lease deal to see if it would fly, doesn’t look like it.

      Sidenote: We’ll get Ford’s numbers mid-afternoon tomorrow, I’ll pencil your guess in on the Fusion Energi for like 2,200 to make up the Volt’s number? …I’m just kidding

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        If they fix the lease like with what you are saying it could help improve things. As for the Fusion Energi going up to 2,220 to make up the Volt’s sales number that could happen if they cut the price solidly by $4,000. But most likely I think it couldn’t be out of the question for the Fusion or the plug in C max to break 800 or even get up to a 1000 this month considering how steadily it’s sales have been going up even with the existing prices.

      2. Bloggin says:

        lol…that would be a huge sales month for Fusion Energi if that happened. It would just be nice if Ford could hold on to the 600 monthly for each Energi vehicle for Sept.

        Yeah, GM should drop the lease price and down payment since the vehicle price has dropped by $4k. Zero down seems to work for Toyota when they want to move inventory. Even if they raise the monthly lease price a bit.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          I think Ford would be tickled pink to have the Fusion Energi above 600 each month…that’s a great result. But for sure they want the C-Max Energi to sell in more volume than the Fusion.

      3. Thomas J. Thias says:

        Jay, The day the BMW 3, Mercedes Benz C-Class, Acura TL, Lexius IS gets ripped on this fine blog or it is argued that the Volts’ costs are to high is the day that I will gain respect for certain antiVolt types rendering opinions here.

        Us News and World Reports rates the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle as 10th best in a field of 20 of the ‘Best Upscale Midsized Cars” in the world.

        http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/Upscale-Midsize-Cars/

        1. Jay Cole says:

          I’m not a fan of the C-Class, Acura TL or Lexus IS if it helps. I am a fan of the Volt though, (= I think sometimes when we try to project/explain sales or a particular soft patch of any EV it sometimes gets interpreted as not being positive on a car…which is not the case.

        2. Charlie H says:

          Thias,

          Each of those cars offers a level of refinement that the Volt does not touch. And they are cars that people want, will buy without tax credits and which make money for their manufacturers. They are successes.

          1. David Stone says:

            because the fuel they buy is subsidizes, both directly and indirectly, leading to a cost of ownership credit.

            1. Charlie H says:

              I would support a very significant, behavior-modifying carbon or gas tax.

              But the marketplace is what it is. People see gas as cheap – cheaper than an EV fuelled by electricity. The Benz, Acura and Lexus sell because they appeal to people.

          2. Nate says:

            HA!

            If you have an issue about tax credits, get rid of all subsidies to the oil and gas industry. We spend billions in ANNUALLY in defense outlays to maintain the capability to defend the flow of Persian Gulf Oil. The TL, C-Class and IS are more dependent on this than the Volt. They fail for that reason alone.

            The TL was once the 2nd best selling luxury sedan in the US. Its sales for the last FOUR years are less than 50% since then. Maybe it was the the ugly new styling, or was its reputation for quality plagued by its repeated transmission failures. To you, this is a great success. Get a life and move on.

  8. Stan says:

    I did some extensive research between Volt and Prius and almost bought & 2013 Volt during the Labor Day weekend. A very well equipped Volt comes (after tax credit) at the same price as a Prius with trim level 4. The only thing you don’t get is the navigation but google maps on my smartphone does the job fine + you get onstar directions even without the nav. The Volt handles great on the road and looks so much better than the Prius (imho) but I don’t know what GM was thinking when they added such a small trunk , require premium fuel and have relatively poor gas-only MPG. During my testdrive I was only able to get at most 37 MPG which I almost get with my current car as well. Based on what I read I was hoping that Volt 2.0 was going to resolve/improve all of these points in their 2015 release but it seems there’s not a lot of motivation to actually bring it out that year. I emailed the Volt advisor team the same stuff I just typed and they said they value the feedback and check the website for future updates but I’m always wondering if somebody actually really reads and cares about it. Instead of spending their engineering resources and money on the cadillac ELR they should have directed it to Volt 2.0. A major contributing factor to poor sales is also the ignorance of the dealer network because I was clearly educating the sales guy during the testdrive. Toyota sales folks at least knew what they were talking about.

    1. Mark C says:

      Maybe they are trying not to do what Nissan has done in the past, speak of better range and lower price coming soon. Shortly after Nissan made their upcoming announcement, sales fell off a cliff.

      If I wanted to continue sales, I would not say something stupid like {as an example, since I don’t have inside info}: Next years car will have 50 mile AER, run on regular unleaded getting 45 mpg doing it and be $3500 cheaper. Coming soon to a dealer near you!

      This years cars would sit stagnant on the lot if they did that, selling only to people who do absolutely no research.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        As a possible car buyer I’m waiting for the Nissan leaf to have a 100 or 120 mile real world driving range of real world driving which would make me go jumping out to buy one. Even right now it could make my needs but I would feel far safer with the extra 30 miles considering by rural suburban area and lack of charger stations. So for the time being I’m sitting on the sidelines and any news of a new updated car with a cheaper price and updated range coming out in a few months only makes me wait longer. I feel so good right now that I waited and din’t buy a Prius.

      2. Stan says:

        Still, I’ll be waiting for Volt 2.0. My current car still has 2.5 years to go before it will break even with the cost of a Volt. I’m hoping Volt 2.0 is announced/out.

        1. pjwood says:

          Stan,

          I don’t know your miles profile, but consider the engine mpgs always come after what most would suggest is an average ~40 miles. Owning one, it sounds so irrelevant to me what the city mpgs of the Volt are. I get over 40 mpgs on the highway, and typically never have an amount of city traffic that can eat through the battery’s charge. I’m only speaking from experience. You’ll get upwards of 60mpgs on long <200 mile trips, and a $1.50 worth of electrons.

          1. Stan says:

            Hi pjwood,

            I took the 40 electrical miles into account. The main problem is that I can’t always recharge in the office and that 2 times per week, after my 9 mile commute in the morning, I have to drive an additional 50 miles. I keyed in all of that info in the fueleconomy.gov plug-in hybrid calculator which resulted in a cost (gas + electricity) of +- $ 1000 for Volt , $ 1200 (gas only) for Prius and $ 2250 for my current car.
            My current car is 1.5 years old and a trade in right now for Volt would cost me +- $ 8000 in depreciation given the amount of miles I already have on it. (I used to have a 140 mile commute when I started working) So yes, Volt would save me $ 1250 per year in gas but I would incur a cost of 8$ K right now by just trading in. Not to mention the increased county taxes and insurance fees since the car is valued higher. And in the event the Volt 2.0 would come out in 2015 and I feel the unstoppable urge to trade it in I will again leave a lot of dollars behind.

      3. evnow says:

        What exact event are you talking about – in terms of Leaf ? If someone like me who follows Leaf sales and future announcements closely can’t remember the sequence of events you mention, I doubt the market was paying attention – anyway.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Fair ’nuff about the gas mileage, but to be fair, if you’re running for any extended period on a daily basis using the gas engine you’re doing it wrong. I 90% electric in mine, but I wouldn’t have got one if I couldn’t do that.

      Docking points off due to premium gas is a bit harsh to me, since part of the reason for GM to specify premium is that the system is designed to be able to have gas sit in the tank unused for multiple months, and premium survives that better than regular. I still think they should have put flexfuel capability into the Volt and decreased its fuel burnoff interval (when non-premium is detected).

      If/when GM does a Volt 2.0 on a battery-in-floor “dedicated” platform with a more-efficient, more purposed-designed engine, its niche may widen, and I certainly hope they do a CUV like that since I would love the headroom.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        I had a car that once ran of Premium gas and that was not really a factor in owning it.

      2. Stan says:

        I know about the reasoning behind the premium and I’m not killing the car based on that. But in our particular situation where we like to do long road trips the extra cost of premium becomes a problem. For example, my current car gets 34 mpg HW with unleaded while with the Volt I could get 37 mpg when I drive exactly the same way. The 40 cents extra per gallon I would have to pay doesn’t offset the extra mpg I could get. On the other hand, if they would say “it’s totally fine to fuel up with regular if you know you’re going to burn it right away” then it would not be a problem for me. But nobody representing GM could give me that confirmation.

        For my daily commute I can survive on battery alone but since there are not very many charging stations here in NC, any extra detour I would do will end up in burning gas. So yes, it’s a great commuter car but paying 30K to drive gas-free to the office is an expensive investment.

        So if they just could make it a bit roomier and a bit more efficient with a better suited engine and allow the regular fuel more people would consider it.

        1. MTN Ranger says:

          I took a 1200 mile trip to Florida and it cost me a whopping $6 more to fill up with premium than regular. For the past two years in my Volt, I have spent $19 more for premium than regular gas. Premium gas is a non-issue.

          1. Stan says:

            You’re entirely correct. All things considered the cost of premium gas is negligible but for for a car that is aimed at saving money at the gas station the choice for premium is strange. Even more so because I can’t find any technical reason to justify the need for premium. The engine in my car has a higher compression ratio and is perfectly happy with regular. Toyota lists prius-is-happy-with-regular as a competitive advantage over Volt.

      3. Charlie H says:

        “Fair ’nuff about the gas mileage, but to be fair, if you’re running for any extended period on a daily basis using the gas engine you’re doing it wrong.”

        That’s not “doing it wrong,” that’s “selected the wrong car.” But, for $35K (formerly $40k), it’s a disappointment that GM didn’t work out a 50jmpg CS-mode EREV that beats the Prius in all regimes.

        1. Stan says:

          We are a 2 car household and already thought about trading one car in for Volt and one for Prius. Volt would be for all the short commutes in order to use the battery range and Prius for all long distance travel. Unfortunately, I can’t print money to pay for all of that. Would be cool though 🙂

          1. Charlie H says:

            We’re in a similar situation but the EV-type car for us could very easily be a pure EV, so the rock-bottom price of the Leaf would be most attractive. We may make the jump to an EV the next time we must replace a car (we already have the Prius).

        2. Nate says:

          I’m glad gen 1 did not go for a longer range. Last months driving 1000 miles we were over 95% ev. At our current rate we won’t be filling up for several months. If I would have bought a Prius I would have filled up already. You mentioned the Prius, and mentioned disappointment in Volt CS-Mode in the same sentence. What a joke, because if you truly cared about Cs-mode range you’d be crying about the PIP.

          The Prius is to drive disappointment to drive in comparison to the Volt. The Volt is quicker and handles better. Most Prius variants rate lower in safety, especially the Prius V flunking the IIHS test (along with the latest Camry). TCO is pretty close with the Volt, but the Volt actually comes in lower than the cheap Prius C for my location (which happens to have NO state tax advantage for the Volt).

          The advantage of the Prius is it does have better space, and pans out well for fuel efficiency for the small minority of drivers that drive more than 70 miles a daily basis. Typically someone driving that much is driving highway miles so they might as well get a TDI, so they’ll have car with better safety and driving dynamics.

          1. Stan says:

            2 weeks ago we drove 2000 miles and based on the places we went to and stopped we would have had 3 places to charge the Volt. (supposing we had one). For this trip, the amount of gas used by my current car or the Volt would have been +- the same so there would be no benefit.

            I test drove the Volt and Prius over the same stretch of road which included some 70 mph highway , some 45 mph stretches with plenty of traffic lights and some neighborhood driving.
            Prius came in at 45.8 mpg
            Volt came in at 37.5 mpg

            We can’t get the PIP in NC so I did not test it. Don’t get me wrong , I like the Volt more than the Prius and I’m convinced it’s one of the best cars out there but there’s no financial benefit in trading a new car in for Volt right now.

            I had a Golf 5.5 2.0 l TDI 110 HP in Europe. Purchased in 2008. After 37K miles
            city : 43.5 mpg
            highway: 48 mpg

            brand new golf from vm.com with cleanTDI:
            city: 30 mpg
            highway: 42 mpg

            I don’t want to give money to VW knowing that buying the same car 5 year later is actually less efficient.

            1. Nate says:

              “I like the Volt more than the Prius and I’m convinced it’s one of the best cars out there but there’s no financial benefit in trading a new car in for Volt right now”

              I can relate. Our Volt replaced a very old car that was past its prime – an ’86 Volvo that I was driving. Got the Volt for the wife to drive mostly, and I’m driving her previous car now. I’d prefer to drive the Volt, but she typically drives 30 miles per day and I drive way less. Replacing a almost about new car, with another brand new car only pans out if your just about new car is coming off lease, or maybe if your driving habits have completely changed. Its like replacing an iPhone 5 with a 5s. I’d wait for whatever the next generation brings from GM, Ford, Nissan or Tesla if I were you as well.

      4. Charlie H says:

        “Docking points off due to premium gas is a bit harsh to me, since part of the reason for GM to specify premium is that the system is designed to be able to have gas sit in the tank unused for multiple months, and premium survives that better than regular.”

        That is entirely bogus. Long-term fuel storage is no more a problem for regular gas than it is for premium. If Chevy was going to solve the long-term storage problem by requiring regular gas, why did they add the burn-off mode? If they had burn-off mode, why bother with requiring premium gas for storage reasons?

        The real reason it wants premium is simple… GM cheaped out on the engine. It was cheaper to improve the efficiency of the engine by raising the compression on that off-the-rack iron block Family 0 engine than to build a faux Atkinson cycle alloy engine, like Toyota and Ford did.

        The “leapfrog” effort of the Volt, where GM approved the program on faith, was intended to mask the fact that GM does not have what it takes to build a Prius.

        The Volt has a high CD, a lot of mass and a (comparatively speaking) primitive engine. This leads to a higher CS mode fuel economy on premium but it was “good enough, ship it” for GM.

  9. MTN Ranger says:

    Jay, any word on how the domestic LG Chem battery factory stoppage is affecting 2014 Volt production? The switch back to Korea-sourced cells may be causing a delay.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Production of 2014 has been low at DHAM lately, how low would have been easier question to answer 4 months or so ago. GM decided to withhold all production figures from their assembly plants from the public…the only major OEM to do so.

      However, the answer is no, domestic production has no effect on sales this month or production. LG’s Michigan lab finished the test cell verification this summer, and was indeed producing production cells to go into 2014s, but like all lithium batteries today, they have to “settle,” so GM wasn’t expect any local shipments until this month. They should still have a decent stockpile from Korea on hand.

      1. David Stone says:

        Production should be 0 when you think about it.
        It is still 2013.

        A 2014 model should be the result of development in 2014, developed by 2014 or ready for sale in 2014.

        Otherwise, why not sound even more progressive and future orientated and bring out the 2020 model NOW.

        Kind of like the Knight Industries 2000 😉

  10. Nate says:

    As a buyer it is harder to get the configuration you want on the Volt right now. It is important for dealers to clear out 2013’s before 2014’s to avoid paying flooring costs. At the same time, the remaining inventory of 2013’s is much lower than a month ago. I picked one up in August, and already at the time it was hard to get the color/options I wanted without a bunch of extra options I didn’t want to pay more for. There was a point I wouldn’t let the price creep over. Without the right car available I wouldn’t have gotten a Volt. Also, 2014’s are not shipping in big numbers so it is tough to get what you want in those either. This situation is not unusual on the cusp of model years, and it just happens to be affecting the Volt at the moment. Its not the only factor, but it is definitely a factor.

    1. Stan says:

      The dealer I talked to didn’t get rid of his 2013 Volts but did offer me the option to configure my “own” options on a still-to-be-made-in-factory 2014 Volt via their internal ordering system. A sale is a sale.

      1. Nate says:

        Did you take delivery in September?

        1. Stan says:

          No. They told me a custom configuration would take 3-4 months.
          In the end, I did not buy one.

  11. pjwood says:

    Schmeltz posted four slow selling reasons. I’m going with no. 3 “Missunderstood”. Something merely being more expensive, invites the mental reasoning to exclude it. Shoppers don’t understand the Volt’s most basic virtue. Good luck BMW.

    The drivetrane makes up for the dash, IMO. It’s not just about efficiency. The torque in smaller ICE cars is closer to 100, than 200ft lbs. And those engines WORK. The diesel VW 2.0’s got raves for 236ft lbs, yet the Volt delivers ~270. It feels like a six off the line, anywhere below 40mph. Sometimes I think the last thing folks are about this car is “objective”. Sorry to preach.

    1. Schmeltz says:

      Preach it brother! 🙂

      Going along with what you said, I think the Volt is the most misunderstood car out there. It’s a real handicap. Even if it were $25000 out the door, a larger Malibu sized car, and GM never had the political and bankruptcy scars for all to see, the fact remains that people struggle to understand plug-in cars. It will take time to address that issue, but few people or companies for that matter have the patience to see things through.

  12. Nelson says:

    2014 makes me wonder.
    What will existing 2011 Volt lease holders do in 2014 when their lease is up?
    Will GM consider a 2 year lease for 2014 Volts knowing Volt 2.0 is just around the corner?
    Will GM release the 2014 Electra with 200 mile range before Volt 2.0?

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

  13. Shafton says:

    Well I just picked up my 2013 Volt, loving it! Work:32mi round trip, Church 42mi round trip. Free charging station for home, hey I got it made! Jeep Liberty was costing me $250-300 month in gas. The Volt get’s 380 miles off a full charge and full tank, what EV doe’s that.
    And yes you can use regular gas if you dot’t let it sit too long

    1. Ambulator says:

      Reports are that you will really kill the mileage using regular, though.

    2. Stan says:

      The problem is that nobody from GM will put “regular is supported” on a piece of paper and sign it. What will happen if something goes wrong with the engine for whatever reason ? I expect a “sorry, you voided mfg specifications so you’re responsible”

    3. Gdavid says:

      Shafton:

      We also bought a new 2013 Volt in September. We paid $33,000 (because of the $5K credit), and we also received the $7,500 tax credit, so it cost us about $25K.

      Personally, I find the car to be absolutely amazing!!! I’ve been fortunate to own lots of great cars over the years – including several very nice Porsches – but the Volt is my favorite car of all time. I’ve used 2.4 gallons of gas so far in 1,100 miles. Driving carefully gives me an electric range of about 40-50 miles. I just use the 110V standard charger, and every morning I wake up with a full tank! The electricity is costing me about $5 per week, but I was spending $40/week before on gas. I don’t see how anyone can fault this car – it is close to perfect in my eyes, and a joy to drive!

      In my book, GM hit it out of the park with this car. Everyone who sees my car and hears that I am paying $5 per week for fuel is very jealous and wants one. If GM can just hang in there awhile and get the price under $30K then I think they will sell a zillion of these cars. And, contrary to other comments, I think the size of the car is not too small but just right. Please don’t change the size (but perhaps GM should eventually offer larger models down the road – an SUV would be AWESOME!!).

      I was one of those folks who disliked the federal bailout and swore I would not buy a GM again, but the Volt has changed my mind. If everyone bought a Volt, then we would never need Middle East oil again! Thanks GM for a job well done.

  14. ModernMarvelFan says:

    The Volt problem is that other auto makers are discounting their plugins like crazy.

    Back in 2012, there were few options. eRav4 was too expensive, Tesla wasn’t available until later. Leaf had issues with heat and no warranty on capacity yet. Also, the Leaf price was high. Ford’s energi wasn’t available either. Prius, well, was Prius…

    In 2013, the game has changed. Leaf came out with better warranty, lower leasing price and a price drop (along with more state incentives). Honda dropped price on leasing. Fiat joined and dropped price on Lease. Toyota followed suit with its lower lease price and 0% on all Prius (which is a threat to all EVs anyway). Ford is adding more capacity to Energi models and more incentives. Tesla is taking over all the media attention. BMW is annoucing i3 which will potentially hold off buyers and GM is no longer the “king” in town. So, it had to drop price and face increasing competition from other automakers.

    Sure, Volt is still an excellent car with the MOST EV range. But the fact is that there are other choices and with given price, there will be a limited amount of buyers for all Plugin cars.

    Hybrids are only about 3% of the market. So, even if all plugin car makers double the production, the cars will still NOT overtake hybrids in today’s market without significant price reduction to make the “switch” a no brainer.

    If the Volt was $25K (sweet spot for the size and cost), it would have outsold every Cruze, Corolla, Civic or Sentra in the country. Even though that $25K price is possible with federal and state incentives, many potential buyers still won’t shop for anything higher than $30K.

    Leaf came down that $30K barrier. That is a major hurdle to Volt success.

    Of course, the current GM CEO doesn’t help the case by keep “repeating” that next gen Volt will be $10K cheaper and better while it is less than 3 years away….

    1. Nate says:

      I agree. A lot of buyers won’t shop higher than a $30k sticker price. This is the 1st vehicle I’ve had with an MSRP > $30k. There is price competition, but the advertising sucks so the perception of how much it cost to own a Volt has always been out of wack. I think the difference between August and September has more to do with selling days and being later on the cusp of the model year. However, I don’t think the overall sales trend will improve unless advertising does. I think it would be different if they marketed better.

      About pricing — When I was shopping this summer I noticed Edmunds TCO is lower than the econo Prius C in my zip code (97008), but I doubt that is common knowledge. Volt lease quotes came in less than Prius Plug in quotes I got. Energi lease quotes came in way high. The Volt still leases out well — the higher tax credit compared to PIP and Energi’s really helps. While the 2014’s may not lease out quite as well (yet), the quotes I see people asking about on gm volt forums are still competitive — even w/out taking into consideration you’d be able to get higher ev% Volt than those PIP or Energi’s. Too bad it doesn’t matter if people don’t know about it. I just don’t see any local dealers advertising it. I see a lot of adds for Nissan Leaf, Prius variants, and recently Ford Energi’s.

      There is more than price. Volt is rated 5 star overall from NHTSA and a top IIHs pick. I don’t see them advertise this. Leaf, C-Max, and Prius Plug in are 4 star overall.

      The company I work for has barely over 100 people, yet we have 2 Leafs, 2 Model S’s and a transplanted 500e in the parking lot. Driving around I see about 10 Leafs for every Volt, and just as many Model S’s as I do Volts. The Portland metro area is not a bad market for plug ins. I saw it was the highest per capita in the US and 4th in the world. So, yeah I know Portland metro is only 2-3 million people, so it just can’t compete in sales unless we talk per captia right? But wait, Portland is a top 5 market for the Leaf TOTAL (not per capita) sales. Hmm, but why not for overall plug in sales? There is no tax advantage on the Leaf over the Volt or any other plug in here. If there was decent advertising support for the Volt, like there is for the Leaf, there would be a lot more Volt sales here too.

      Anyone in other markets see advertising for the Volt? If so, how does it compare to Nissan’s advertising?

      1. Nate says:

        Note – where I say there is no tax advantage for Leaf vs. other plug in I was talking about state/local. Obviously Leaf and Volt have the advantage at the federal level. My point is, the Leaf may have an advantage in some cities (Atlanta?), but that is not the case here.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Yeah, but Leaf is cheaper than Volt by at least $5K after incentives in CA. In my work place, we have signifcantly more Volt. 7 Volts, 3 Leaf, 2 Prius plugins. And we are running out of charging spaces… =) That makes Volt even more appealing.

          But most people don’t care. Many of my co-workers just look at monthly cost. They have NO desires of owning any EV for the long term. They think the technology will change fast, so why lock yourself in with a purchase when you can lease. Plus, most of them only care about cost. For $199/Month, it covers many people’s daily commute. So, to them, it is just gas money to try out something new…. $199 buys about 50 gallons of gas in California for a 30 MPG car, that is good for about 1500 miles per month or 50 miles per day with free work charging….

          But I am still curious how Nissan is going to handle all those off lease Leaf in 1-2 years. There will be a flood of 2011/2012 models coming off Lease and with changes in technology, I can’t see how those “used” models can hold their value. If they don’t, it will make the Lease more difficult in the future for Nissan to keep up….

  15. Paul Stoller says:

    Could the Impala production have had an impact on Volt production numbers?

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      I see plenty of Volts on dealer lots. So, it is NOT limited inventory that is slowing the sales.

      I think it is lack of ads and price war that is impacting the Volt sales.

      1. Paul Stoller says:

        I am not sure I agree, there are roughly 4000 available but only a quarter of them are 2014s. Most of the volts sold were 2013s perhaps sales were lower due to an inadequate supply of 2014s in the markets that needed them most. If I were in the market for a new car I would want the current model year unless steep discounts were available for the prior year.

  16. Dave K. says:

    In Ga. the $5K state tax credit applies only to pure EVs, so a Volt is $11K more expensive than the Leaf S. That said I think it’s a great car, and many are still sold here in Atlanta. All things considered I think G.M. will suceed with the EREV technology in the long run, it’s a “one car solution” and doesn’t really compete directly with the pure EVs. I personally drive a Leaf and my wife drives a Prius, but would gladly replace the Prius with an EREV or PHEV if someone made one my wife liked. (Are you listening VW? She likes Beetles!)

  17. Shafton says:

    I think the biggest problem GM has with the Volt is poor advertising, If you look at TV, print they are hitting the spot with how they advertising Cadillac, Trucks and Chevy. I don’t see any ad’s for the Volt and If I do they don’t make any sense.