Chevrolet Volt Sales Reach 2015 High In December

1 year ago by Jay Cole 38

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Sold Well In The 11 States It Was Available In For December

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Sold Well … In The 11 States It Was Available In For December

The New 2016 Volt Features 53 Miles Of All-Electric Range, And A 1.5L Generator That Nets 42 MPG Thereafter

The New 2016 Volt Features 53 Miles Of All-Electric Range, And A 1.5L Generator That Nets 42 MPG Thereafter

Of all the months, December is known as the easiest environment to sell a plug-in vehicle.

Add in the fact that the all-new Chevrolet Volt just completed its 2nd full month (in limited release) for the US, and we knew December would be a fairly decent sales month for the plug-in Chevy.

As it turns out, it was a year best.

For December, GM sold 2,114 copies of the plug-in Chevy, which represents a 42% gain over the 1,490 sold a year ago.

Despite being a 2015 high for sales, they could have sold more, as demand for the new edition was high.

It was no secret that the 2016 model year for the new Chevy Volt was going to be a short one, and limited to just 11 states…but what we didn’t know at the time was that GM didn’t intend to produce too many copies of the inaugural edition.

That much is now clear, as inventory levels of the new Volt are woefully low and falling fast (current inventory stands at ~half of what it was a month ago at under 1,000 units).  2016 production is now wrapped up in favor of the slightly upgraded 2017 model year car, which starts rolling down GM’s Hamtramck, Michigan facility on February 1st.

So while we had assumed that the arrival of the new Volt meant a long term resurgence to sales starting this Fall, it now appears we might be taking a couple month pause on the expectation…at least until nationwide/2017 deliveries get underway around April.

GM ends the year having sold 15,393 Volts, which was down 18% from 2014 when 18,805 were sold.

Our expectation for 2016 is for GM to easily surpass all previous calendar year results for the Volt…even the 23,461 high set back in 2012.

2017 Chevy Volt Arrives Nationally In The Spring

2017 Chevy Volt Arrives Nationally In The Spring

Also of plug-in interest from December :

...we hardly knew you

…we hardly knew you

*- the 2016 Chevrolet Volt heads out for a “real world” range and mileage test on the highway

*- despite limited inventory, the 2016 Volt managed to go on sale in Mexico in December – which isn’t known for having much (if any) demand for PHEVs

*- hypermiler Wayne Gerdes managed to coax 111.9 all-electric miles out of his 2016 Volt in December (full story here)

*- GM trademarked the name “e-Ray” on December 16th – new electric Corvette coming?  Pr just e-squatting on the name?

*- Cadillac ELR had a pretty decent month with 135 sales in Decemeber

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38 responses to "Chevrolet Volt Sales Reach 2015 High In December"

  1. R.S says:

    They will need strong US sales, since besides Mexico and Canada there isn’t any market left to sell the Volt

    1. SJC says:

      If GM can sell twice as many Volt 2s over the same period compared to Volt 1, it will be a success.

      1. Bonaire says:

        It may be similar to Gen-1 sales but many of us Gen-1 owners are happy and don’t need to get involved in more monetary exchange in order to get a few more miles. Conversely, GM also faces “future Bolt owners” as those who may not buy a Gen-2 Volt right now – and who would wait the year to see if they can get a Bolt. I am not entirely sure Volt will do all that well other than the 2000 or so per month in N.A. They should consider exporting it to Europe to add to the sales.

        1. kdawg says:

          Unless they can tap into the remaining 99% of the market not driving plug-ins right now.

  2. vdiv says:

    Happy that it is a success, even see it quite a bit here on the roads and at the dealerships in Virginia were it wasn’t supposed to be sold yet, but still cannot get past by the looks of it.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Still have not seen a single ’16 Volt in MD in the wild. I know they are out there though…

    2. Speculawyer says:

      Have you seen one in person? They look great to me. It looks like a shark.

      The problem though is that it is too small for us fat Americans. GM REALLY needs to put that drivetrain into other body styles.

      1. vdiv says:

        Yes, I see it quite often and even testdrove the Premier version. There are notable improvements, but I still prefer my old raspy engine and lower range first gen. Volt (first EV is like your first love and such 🙂 )

      2. Scramjett says:

        I have started to see them in the wild. I’ve seen a couple where I live including one plugged in at my neighbors house (probably a visitor). I also saw a couple down in SoCal when we were visiting my in-laws. I have to say that the pictures don’t do it justice. In person it really is a beautiful car. Not quite Tesla beautiful, but better than a Civic for sure (my way of saying that in person it looses its Civic-like appearance).

        I test drove one a couple of months ago while waiting for my Prius service to get done (the Toyota and Chevy dealers are neighbors, go figure). While I didn’t love it, I did have a lot of appreciation for it. With the seemingly never-ending delays of the Outlander, I’m taking a harder look at this as a Prius replacement.

  3. E-lectric says:

    A number of sales came from buyers racing to get a CA green HOV lane sticker. Now that they’re gone, CA Volt sales will be low.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      California should give out more green stickers but with more strict standards. My suggestion:
      1) Car must get at least 40 miles of EPA rated range on electricity alone.
      2) Car must be able to go 65 mph on electricity alone.

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      I have seen over 20 new 2016 Volts in the SF Bay Area already…

      Not a single 2016 Volt has the HOV sticker on them…

      Maybe those are just “early adopters”.

      1. Scramjett says:

        Ditto here. None of the 2016 Volts I’ve seen in the wild here in Sac have the stickers. It could be because the dealer didn’t put them on in advance (which they can) and they applied for them, though I doubt it since the cap was reached a couple weeks ago.

  4. Ziv says:

    It is interesting to see how after 5 years of sales, the first two mainstream electric cars are really close in total sales. I know a lot of people don’t like the BEV vs. EREV comparison but after all these years the two cars are just 1148 sales apart which is kind of interesting. 88,424 for the Volt vs. 89,572 for the Leaf.
    The sad part is that Volt sales peaked all the way back in 2012 at 23,461 and have been dropping ever since. This year could see a recovery, but with the HOV passes disappearing in CA, it might be a mild one.
    Leaf numbers peaked in 2014 at 30,200 and dropped in 2015, but that is in large part due to the new model arriving soon.
    Neither car has ever had a lot of vehicles in North American inventory so it is possible both cars have seen lower sales due to lack of inventory.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “Leaf numbers peaked in 2014 at 30,200 and dropped in 2015, but that is in large part due to the new model arriving soon.”

      I think the ending of GA heavy incentives is the bigger factor.

      1. ggpa says:

        Volt did not sell well in GA, their big incentives were for BEVs only

  5. Speculawyer says:

    The Volt sales should be double that amount. It is really a great car.

    1. ggpa says:

      +1

      I wonder how long before Volt reclaims the lead of total sales in the USA

  6. And, with all the challenges of being a much more expensive vehicle, Tesla sill kicked A _ _ over all the cheaper EV’s! I guess that is what is meant by designing a ‘Compelling’ Vehicle!

    I know the new goal is the 200 miles Electric Range, but I wonder what a $20,000 list price would do for the iMiEv, and the Smart ED? Imagine 62 to 68 miles, but at some $15,000 or so net of taxes plus tax credit, that too might draw sales up!!

    1. Warren says:

      We can get all the low mileage, factory warrantied i-Mievs and Leafs we want here for $8K-$10K. No takers with gas at $1.72.

      1. KenZ says:

        Warren’s got a good point…

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Tesla didn’t design the car to compete on “cost” alone.

      It is designed to beat all ICE cars in its class in performance, “cool technology” and efficiency.

      1. Bonaire says:

        P.C.E. only goes so far. Corvettes beat all other GM cars for performance, cool tech and in some cases efficiency too. However, they sell poorly compared to mainstream sedans.

        Cost is very important to maintain high volume sales and not face huge headwinds should there be a recession or other matter. The market for $80k to 100k new car sales has always been limited. Review the historical sales of BMW 7-series, Audi A-8 and similar. And Tesla has sold numerous cars to the same family in some cases where the wealthy family can afford to equip multiple members with the car or the owner just wanted to trade up quickly as Tesla put out new units.

        1. Stuart22 says:

          Sure the Model S is a fabulous car, but even so, I doubt it would have reached the success it enjoys without the presence of Elon Musk. People buy his cars and shares of his stock because they not only admire him, but they believe in him and his visions.

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          ” Corvettes beat all other GM cars for performance, cool tech and in some cases efficiency too.”

          Actually it doesn’t.

          It beats other cars in terms of performance, but it is a 2 seater which is limited in itself. It doesn’t beat other GM cars in efficiency and it is certainly NOT “cool tech” for sure. CTS-V matches it well.

          Then again, you are talking about Corvette matching up with rest of GM cars.

          Tesla match up against the World cars in its class…

          Corvette doesn’t match up with against world cars in its class except for value/performance. Certainly not on cool tech or efficiency.

  7. James says:

    The entire “strategy” GM is following in selling their new Volt just speaks volumes as to just how “niche” and “controlled” they want the car to be. Labeling it a halo car as they did last year gives them a rational justification in the eyes of GM employees to treat the car as a sideshow.

    While much of this awkward rollout seems due to compliance and 2016 plans to build more of Volt2 in the USA – it also puts to question the whole Tomorrowland advertising blitz and such nonsense. Bolt was in the wings the whole time and GM has to go easy on the throttle with Volt to stay below the governments 200,000 electrified vehicles sold ceiling per manufacturer in order to still qualify the consumer for the full $7500 tax credit.

    It’s complex, and outwardly appears to be in disarray. Inwardly, it’s calculated to build as few Volts as to give 40-50,000 potential Bolt buyers that benefit for however long it takes to build and sell that many.

    Big question is – what happens when the tax credit goes away for them? Will Bolts sell for $43,000? Not many. Will a Volt Premier sell for $48,000? Likely not too many. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens come time of low or no more subsidies.

    This is, in my opinion – a major driving factor in GM allowing Honda to use Voltech. Like Ford and Toyota with HSD, it’s very expensive tech to develope whose cost can be spread around by selling it to car companies that are behind the curve as far as electrification goes.

    For EV enthusiasts like me, it’s painful to watch GM and other auto companies play around with their electrificaton plans. Meanwhile we listen to throngs of folks literally shouting at GM, Toyota, Mitsu and all the rest to build viable electrified CUVs, larger sedans and trucks — Vehicles the market wants and needs.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Where are you getting these 43k and 48k prices from? The price of a Volt isn’t going to INCREASE $7,500 over the MSRP if the credit ends. Instead you will have to pay either $34k out of pocket for a Volt or ~$37.5k for a Bolt. Right now you can subtract up to $7,500 from those sticker prices.

      So why you are ADDING $7,500 to the MSRPs is boggling my mind.

      1. James says:

        Thanks for catching my err. I was typing too fast for my own good! 🙂

        Truly, I meant $42,000 ( + – ) for Volt.

        As for the $43,000 ( + – ), that is what I meant. GM said during the 2015 NAIAS ( including an interview of Ms. Barra by TFLcar on YouTube ) that Bolt would be just around $35,000 AFTER $7500 tax refund.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Bolt is $37.5k before the $7.5K federal incentives…

        2. Nix says:

          I am of the strong opinion that GM left quite a bit of discount on the table when they priced the 2016 Volt. They will discount the Volt as the federal tax incentive sunsets to make up for part of the lost tax incentive.

          I base this on the fact that GM announced substantial price cuts in production costs, and we didn’t see the MSRP cuts that we all expected.

          Only time will tell.

          1. Phr3d says:

            +1

            early adopters get to pay a larger percentage of the R&D, always have, always will. If it sells well, like Twice the Bolt I, (and it Seems to have hit that mythical consumer-compelling look that will allow it to do so), at least Very attractive leases could show up by late ’16.

          2. James says:

            I really hope you are right on that one. Naturally, economies of scale would make up for it – if GM could or will sell the heck out of the Volt.

            I see the Lyft-GM partnership as a real positive. This seems to reveal a new revenue stream in the new energy car market heretofore untapped. I can see Bolts replacing the hordes of Prius taxis nationwide – something the Volt could never do because of it’s back seat area. It makes me wonder why GM didn’t go that small extra step of placing Volt on the actual gen2 Cruze platform ( meaning a stretched D2XX ). Cruze v.2 has that added rear seat room which – even with the hump in the center – would have made such a difference in Volt. Of course, the car guy in me knows that would mean an end to the rakish coupe-like sloping roof form factor – something I like a whole lot about the Volt. The center section still would lack headroom aplenty also.

            With energy density ever-increasing, it makes me wonder if Volt3 ( if there is a 3rd gen Volt ) could have a Bolt-type setup under it’s floor, but with shorter, more energy-dense batteries. This might allow an actual spare tire! – Hopefully, they wouldn’t raise the floor so high as to make it cramped inside.

            Let’s hope GM continues exploring new income streams for EVs and EREVs – as this seems a sure way to nudge legacy ICE-makers into giving up more of their juicy service dept. and parts business models which would surely bow over time to a new normal.

  8. James says:

    Just imagine how big Volt sales would have been ( even in this environment with record low gas prices! ) if GM had chosen to market Volt like any other new model! In other words, run those Tomorrowland Volt2 ads nationwide as they did, AND sell Volt nationwide then or soon thereafter! Just think what Volt sales could have been if GM managed to convince it’s dealer network to support and push the car!…Maybe GM could have given a dealer incentive to grease the rails…? Just think if GM just distributed the car to all 50 states, Canada and Mexico all at once – and had no slowdowns, lags or sags in production or rearrangement! Just think – a very large percentage of those 2000 sales are from California alone! GM evidently had some small agreement with Mexico to sell a small amount of the cars there since that is where the 2016 1.5L range extender is/was built. This may dry up quickly as production of the range extender moves to the U.S. this year.

    Point is – it’s more compliance car than not. All who are in denial of this haven’t been paying attention. All this control and jostling of inventory is unconventional at best, and downright silly at most. My local dealer in the Seattle area will sell you a Volt if you insist. But take you over and show you one when you share you are seeking fuel economy? No. You’ll be asked if you have seen the Eco model of a Malibu or Cruze…Bend his arm or mention Volt outright – he or she will unenthusiastically take you out and show you the Volts they have on the lot.

    Perhaps Volt is in a total category of it’s own ( just like it is as an “EREV-PHEV”, and not distinctly a pure PHEV in the widely-accepted description as such. In that, it could be labeled a semi-compliance car.

    I would venture to say a car of Volt2’s size with it’s cramped rear passenger space and likely child-only middle seat space in the rear – even with it’s very practical hatchback area ) would never be in the Corolla or Camry-buyer space. It’s just not that workable as an only car for a family with teenagers or who often carry adults in the back seat. That said – Volt2 is so unique in it’s abilities – So sensible in this world where a pure BEV requires actual work to find fueling opportunities that may or may not be available for use – and will only give you low double digit miles per hour of charge… The Volt, even with it’s limitations could very well sell 50,000-60,000 units/year. It’s just that sporty, innovative and superior to mere mortal hybrids and PHEVs. If Chevy would just market the car in a normal way – it would quite likely prosper quite well even with gasoline at it’s current relatively low cost per gallon.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Marketing got nothing to do with it.

      Nissan spends 4x more on marketing of the LEAF than Volt. It basically sells about the same amount of car as the Volt.

      Ford doesn’t even market its Energi cars and it sells nearly as many since its launch as the Volt.

      Tesla doesn’t market its cars at all except by its owners and fans..

      Marketing is often “over rated” in my opinion.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        Yeah, I agree with this.

        Those interested in plug-ins certainly know about the Volt and they’ll buy one if they want one.

        The education needed is more general . . . people need to learn about PHEVs and EVs. They need to learn about the tax-credits, the HOV lane access, the cheap cost of fueling them, the reduced maintenance, etc. We need more people interested in plug-ins.

      2. Fail Cells says:

        +10000 It is all about the product. Marketing is nothing.

        1. James says:

          Funny when you get a bunch of tech-heads or engineers together. When you do – you begin to hear such statements as “Fail Cells” blurted out: “Marketing is nothing”. LOL!

          C’mon, Fail… You have to be real here, it’s a marketplace out there filled with advertising. A large part of the preparation process by any auto company includes a big chunk for marketing the product. Anybody who says, “Marketing is nothing” needs to come back to earth and get a grip on the reality of things in a free market economy. Sometimes, marketing is “everything”.

          If between-the-lines, some folks are thinking about Tesla when they make such comments…Tesla is all about marketing. It’s just that Tesla has such a unique product and such a small target audience so far ( meaning top earners ), they can rely on creating buzz on social media and YouTube-Vimeo. When a rogue, visionary tech billionaire who loves to take huge chances; owns a rocketship company and throws Hyperloops out for public discussion – PEOPLE LISTEN. Our world is fascinated ( and rightly so, in my opinion ) by such a story – and Mr. Musk was raised in the Internet age – where this medium can be played for public splash like never before in history. Yes, Tesla tapped into excitement ( speed, exclusivity, wow-factor ) in it’s very expensive product.

          Unfortunately, in the dog-eat-dog real world of cars that cost under $90,000 ( U.S.D. ) a large car company must advertise. One reason why is competition. Name a category of automobile, and you can then name five or six specific vehicles that duke it out for public attention and purchase. In such an environment – exposure doesn’t come easy, nor cheap. One you claims “marketing is nothing” forgets just how many millions of dollars McDonalds or GM spends/yr on peddling their wares.

          In some utopian world, where everyone had sexy products like Apple and Tesla – perhaps public buzz would suffice and a company wouldn’t have to spend so much on advertising in all sorts of media. But that is not the case and never will be. Believe me, as Model III comes to fruition and Tesla begins bucking up against competition it never has faced before ( Bolt is already a reality ), it surely will advertise in more conventional ways.

          PR works. I have been reflecting upon history lately, what with CNN running it’s documentary on Steve Jobs. If you read the Jobs book, you know he literally broke the bank to make the now-legendary “1984” TV commercial which aired during the Superbowl that year. That ad, introducing the Macintosh computer to the world – skyrocketed Apple into ultimate success beyond anyone’s dreams. In that case marketing WAS everything!

          It’s always funny when marketers and engineers get together because their brains are just wired completely differently. When common folk go in to buy a product in the retail space and the salesperson tells them, “IT SELLS ITSELF!”… That is such a voluminous lie! NOTHING…no, nothing sells itself. From the dawn of time – mankind has had things he wanted to convince others of – that they needed, and could have for a transfer of wealth. That process takes convincing – especially if there is competition out there trying to do the exact same thing.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        ModernMarvelFan

        “Nissan spends 4x more on marketing of the LEAF than Volt. It basically sells about the same amount of car as the Volt.”

        For the North American market only. On the international market, Leaf sales are quite close to exactly twice as many as Volt sales.