GM CEO: Chevrolet Volt Price To Drop By $7,000 to $10,000 For Next Gen

12 months ago by Jay Cole 27

Production Costs Are Too High, Says GM CEO Akerson

No Profit Made Yet On Chevrolet Volt, But It Is Coming…Along With A Big Price Cut

General Motor’s CEO Dan Akerson was a speaker at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif on Tuesday, and he did not disappoint.

At GM, “green” equals all things Volt, and that is good for news-hungry starved Chevrolet plug-in enthusiasts.

CEO Dan Akerson Says The Chevrolet Volt Is Performing Much Better Than Another Product From Japan That Starts With A "P"

CEO Dan Akerson Says The Chevrolet Volt Is Performing Much Better Than Another Product From Japan That Starts With A “P”

During the conference, Mr. Akerson would hint at big things coming for the Chevrolet Volt, but first took a moment to reflect on what has transpired to date, especially in relation to the current “green halo” champion from Toyota…which the CEO refuses to name out loud.

“I’m not going to give them a free plug.  Anyway, for the first two years we outsold them, first year, second year, and this year.  We sell a couple of thousand a month in the U.S.  We’re exporting them to China.  We’re exporting them to Europe.  But, this is a car that from a physics, from a thermodynamics point of view, from an engineering point of view, is probably the most complicated car.  But, it’s been incredibly well received.  To give you an idea, in a consumer report two years running in a row, you know they ask for your rank at 5 for great, 4 for good, three average, down the line.  They’ve never had a car; they’ve never had a product that’s ranked 92 percent either a four or a five.  No threes, and all these tens of thousands of customers, no twos, no ones.”

After which, Akerson talked about the future of extended range Chevrolet, and drastically cutting the price while still making a profit, which the CEO says the Volt has yet to do.

“…in this next generation we think we can decrease the price on the order of $7,000 to $10,000, without decontenting.  That’s very important to us.  And at that point in time I think you’ll see the second generation be much more, hopefully, profitable.  I think it will be profitable.”

Currently, the Volt starts at $39,145, or $31,645 after the $7,500 federal credit.  If General Motors could cut the price by even the low end of Mr. Akerson’s $7,000 to $10,000 estimate, it would mean a drastic increase in the adoption rate of plug-in vehicles by Americans.  And in a American product.

We Have Sold Over...Wait, How Many Of These Things Have We Sold Again?

We Have Sold Over…Wait, How Many Of These Things Have We Sold Again?

The CEO also noted that Volts have 150 million miles driven on (them) electricity now in the U.S.  We’ve sold about 26-1/2 thousand of them.  There’s nobody else who has done as many plug-in electric miles as we have.  And the car is safe.  It’s a five-star rated safety car.” 

It is worth noting that Mr. Akerson really undersold the Volt’s credentials by quoting sales at “26,500.” In actual fact, GM has sold 35,702 Chevrolet Volts in the US; and we can’t help but feel a little uneasy about his pricing prediction after that guffaw.

The next most obvious question to be asked after hearing about a massive price drop is, “when will the 2nd generation be arriving for the Volt?”

And while we have no answer straight from GM on that yet (they would probably like to sell as many Gen 1 cars as the can before then), with the new Chevy Cruze platform (DX22) going into service next year for the 2015 model year, we think a safe bet would be a 2016 MY on a 2nd gen Volt.

The GM CEO had a lot more stuff to say about “green” cars, the Volt and the upcoming Cadillac ELR at the conference.   Thankfully, the fellas at Fortune had the good idea to make a transcript of the whole conversation and host it online.  If interested, you can check it out here.    (hat tip to Josh B on the transcript link)

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27 responses to "GM CEO: Chevrolet Volt Price To Drop By $7,000 to $10,000 For Next Gen"

  1. vdiv says:

    Just brilliant!

    So who in their right mind is now going to buy a Volt until the next generation comes out? How about aiming high rather than low, offering a new Volt (and service) that is much more “contented”, and considering the whole value proposition rather than just worrying about the price? The Tesla Model S is the proof that EVs do sell, even at a rather steep price, if they offer something that drivers really want.

    Did Mr. Akerson also just admit/reinforce the notion that GM has not made any money on the current Volt? Imagine the right-wing backlash that this is about to unleash, again.

    The biggest threat to the Volt is not the nay-sayers, politicians, and demagogues. It is not the oil companies, fuel prices and established interests. It is not the sensationalist media, the ignorant, or the haters. It is not even the competition from other plugin makers or propulsion technologoes.

    It is GM.

    1. Anderlan says:

      Meh. Who would buy, given the future price drops? How about the folks who see it being valuable even now? This is kind of like the “why buy a computer when next year’s will be better performing and cheaper” argument. But WE ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT CARS. This is the most awesome thing in the world. Death of the Electric Car; Revenge of the Electric Car; next movie–Dominance of the Electric Car.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      I can’t criticize anything Akerson has stated here. Of course the price will drop, just as computers and cell phones have dropped. He’s really not spilling any beans here. Why be so critical of him? Regarding the 26500, 30,000 + difference, this may mean number of cars manufactured vs number of cars actually purchased. He chose the lowball #.

      The VOLT really is a game changer if there have been more electric miles to date driven in this vehicle than any other, and its ok for him to gloat about that.

  2. GeorgeS says:

    As a Volt owner I think this is great news. I think that 7 K would be enough. Nissan just dropped their price to 29.

    Volt at 29+ 3000 is a screaming deal because of the TMS system and handling, accel, and NHV. Go Gm Nissan just called your card. time to put up or shut up.

  3. MrEnergyCzar says:

    My guess is the next gen Volt will be coming off the production line in the summer of 2015…..

    MrEnergyCzar

  4. danwat1234 says:

    Hopefully the next gen Volt drivetrain will have an Atkinson cycle engine (like the Prius), or a 3 cylinder engine. They’ve got to boost the extended range MPG of the car somehow or else it’s not going to sell well. Maybe HCCI lean burn or traditional lean burn if they can figure it out.

    Also reduce the curb weight by replacing steel with aluminum or high strength steel.

  5. scottf200 says:

    He has the 150 million EV miles driven low as well. Must be looking at old data.
    Via http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car.html
    For USA and those that opt’d in for OnStar it is …. 176.8 million EV miles!!!

    1. Jay Cole says:

      If you read over the transcript, there is a lot of head-scratching things said…but that has been the norm throughout Akerson’s tenure it seems with GM.

  6. Martin T says:

    Excellent news the Volt is heading in the right direction!
    Still very happy with my 2013 Volt and you just can’t beet that EV ride !

    Say the CEO should have his secretaries refresh his facts next time, poor guy understated all the great bits LOL (very unusual these days – must be too honest)

  7. shawn Marshall says:

    One might observe that the market is pulling down the Volt price projection. Time will tell. As a “right winger” and an EV fan, I find it a welcome sign. Conservative skepticism about governmentally planned markets should not be gratuitously dismissed by those who think they have all the answers, such as Al Gore.

  8. bloggin says:

    It looks like the price of batteries are continuing to drop. A 100 mile battery pack used to cost 12k-15k in 2012. It looks like that price is down to 5k – 8k, based on Nissan and GM’s planned price drop. Which means by 2015 model year, a 200 mile EV or a 100 EV mile plug-in hybrid should cost about $35k – $40k.

    1. Warren says:

      I have a 100 mile battery pack, that I paid $825 for. Battery packs don’t have a range. Vehicles have a range. People need to buy more efficient vehicles.

    2. JP says:

      Bloggin; I am not sure batteries have anything to do with the Leaf’s price drop. A big part of it is that they realized (wised up) that the Leaf is an econobox and should be equipped as such. So for the base $28K Leaf, Nissan removed the outrageously expensive Navigation system (I can get a 5″ GPS for $100, and a EV charger app for my phone), and also realizing it is a Nissan Leaf and not a Ferrari, they removed the alloy wheels. Just those two items brought down the price a few grant.

      1. Narg says:

        Most likely that will happen to the Volt too. Some less expensive components. Not necessarily less quality, but less expensive. The price drop won’t happen out of thin air, though some of it might with the price drop in components like batteries.

  9. Schmeltz says:

    Even if GM would drop the price $7000, that would be a major victory for the Volt. A plug-in range extended EV in the mid-20′s after the tax reduction would be huge for this market. I would venture that they could offer a version with less content (bells and whistles) also, just like Nissan did with the Leaf.

    All in all, Ackerson didn’t really spill any new info., but confirmed some of the good things we have already been anticipating for the Volt. I’ll take good news when I get it!

    1. Independent Observer says:

      In reality the $7500 tax credit will disappear. GM had this price drop in the planning stages for late 2015 as they figured they would already hit the 200,000 car trigger. Now it looks like the tax credit and cost decrease will be an advantage for about 2-3 years.

  10. Aaron says:

    Make a true hatchback form factor and I’ll be interested.

  11. kdawg says:

    Hmmm, I’m wondering if the “$7000-10,000″ price drop will coincide with GM selling 200K EV’s and no longer be eligible for the $7500 tax credit.

    End of 2012 = 30K
    End of 2013 = 60K
    End of 2014 = 110K
    End of 2015 = 200K

    I dunno, just a SWAG. Would be nice to hit the window of a $10K price drop and also be eligible for the tax credit.

    1. CowtownVolt says:

      if GM can produce the spark ev in numbers they could hit 200K very quickly. I know a lot of people looking to buy one.

  12. Anthony says:

    I think GM will drop the price 7-10K *from the current price* of 40K.

    However I think it’ll be in two stages – a smaller drop this summer (3-4K) and then a larger one (4-6K) for generation 2 in late 2015.

  13. Frank says:

    Put a sunroof on it (it doesn’t have to open). Solar panels would be good. Add power seats & I might buy one (You don’t keep adjusting them & draining the battery).

    1. kdawg says:

      It was the weight of the power seats that caused them to be nixed.

      1. kdawg says:

        Same w/the sunroof. Glass is heavy.

  14. James H. Van Houte IQ 142 says:

    The fact of the matter is this.
    The majority of the people who want it, can’t afford it and those who can afford it, don’t want it.
    Hopefully, this will eventually sink into the heads of GM corporate.

  15. Priusmaniac says:

    Make a full backseat version and I’ll buy it at even a higher price!

  16. Priusmaniac says:

    Put a Flex-Fuel generator in it too!

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