Chevrolet Small Car Sales Up 15.4% in Q1 2014, But Chevy Volt Sales Are Down

MAY 2 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 12

In touting the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze that debuted at the 2014 New York Auto Show, General Motors made this statement:

“Cruze is the cornerstone of Chevrolet’s North American small-car lineup; Cruze is also Chevrolet’s best-selling car around the world, with more than 2.5 million sold globally since its launch in mid-2010.”

Followed by this statement:

“Collectively the lineup in the US—including Spark, Spark EV, Sonic, Cruze and Volt—saw a 15.4% increase in overall sales in the first quarter of 2014. Since Cruze’s launch about four years ago, and the additions of the Spark and Sonic, Chevrolet’s overall share of the small-, compact- and mini-car segments has more than tripled—up 221%—with nearly half of the customers new to Chevrolet.”

Although we support all the plug-in cars available to today, it seemed odd to include the Volt in the list as it ignored/overlooked the fact that Q1 sales of the Chevrolet Volt are actually down for 2014.

  • Chevy Volt sales Q1 2014 – 3,606
  • Chevy Volt sales Q1 2013 – 4,244

It is curious that sales in the plug-in vehicle segment itself are growing considerably for most models, yet the Chevy Volt is not following that trend.  We blame this on two aspects that General Motors could easily remedy if it decides to:

  • Lack of marketing
  • Low production volume

But if General Motors doesn’t want to sell the Volt in volume, then neither marketing nor production will get the necessary boosts.

Editor’s Note:  For the first month of Q2, Chevrolet Volt sales were 1,548, up 17.5% from 2013 at 1,306.  For the first four months of the year, a total of 5,154 cars have been sold, which is down 7.1% from 2013 when 5,550 were moved.  Heading into the next two months of Q2 GM is up against a prior year result of 1,607 (May 2013) and 2,698 (June 2013)

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12 Comments on "Chevrolet Small Car Sales Up 15.4% in Q1 2014, But Chevy Volt Sales Are Down"

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“Low production volume”

I don’t know why you claim that there is low production volume. Cars.com shows that there are 603 Volts on dealer lots within 200 miles of San Francisco. The two big Silicon Valley Chevy dealers show 112 and 129 Volts in stock.
Cars.com shows 5,555 Volts in stock nationwide on May 2, 2014.
To me, that level of inventory is not low production, it’s low advertising and therefore, low sales.
For comparison, Car.com shows 3,460 Leaf vehicles on dealer lots nationwide, and 651 in the Bay Area (200mi of SF).

Hey Mike,

That inventory is mostly a result of very recent activity. If you check back at prior monthly reports you will see inventory has been far lower since well below Christmas. It was very low all Q1

In fact, what is happening so far this year is eerily similar to last 2013 when GM actually had to make a statement to address low inventory in early 2013.

However, just before summer shutdown in 2013 they ramped production through the roof (north of 10,000 units) before the price drop and big clearance deals on all the cars they just made. 2014 production/inventory never came close to these levels as GM sold down 2013s.

Considering 2014 summer shutdown and the start of 2015 production is earlier this year, we fully expect that we are right in the middle of that same program cycle again – and inventories will continue to rise until mid-June.

So, in the leading plugin market of SF Bay Area, there are more LEAF than Volt in stock…

It is the rest of the country that is holding up the LEAF sales…

I wonder how much of that difference is solely based on GA sales where the LEAF is free for 2 out of 3 years?

As good as Volt is, it can’t beat free cars…

Any #s on how many new unsold 13 leafs are on dealer lots?
With 14’s out and 15’s in production

people who buy the Volt are usually more informed than the salesmen. What do you want to bet that sales are down because a lot of people are waiting for Gen-2 at this point? The Leaf suffered a similar problem when the gen 1.5 Leaf (2013 model) was around the corner.

The Volt also has more competition than it did a year ago. That could be diluting the market a bit.

That’s exactly what’s happening. Gen-2 is rumoured better and cheaper. I’m waiting.

That’s what far too many people ignore – the Volt has nationwide competition in it’s class, and the LEAF doesn’t (The FFE not being advertised at all and lacks QC, and the Smart ED’s not comparable). PHEV sales as a class are doing fine and should do even better once the A3 e-tron, Outlander etc. arrive, but BEV sales have been largely made to look good by Tesla, because only the S and LEAF are selling in anything other than nominal numbers. And the Tesla and LEAF are in totally different classes.

I’m definitely interested in the Volt. I’m just waiting for the next generation. Which can’t be to far away considering the fact that spy shots are circling the internet.

The volt is doing just fine

I wish it was so but the sales figures are horrible. The Volt is one of the poorest models in the Chevrolet line-up. It’s sister car, the Cruze, which is the same basic design with a gas engine outsells the Volt 20,000 plus vs 1500 a month. So it isn’t the size, nor the looks. A lot has to do with cost despite the subsidies federal & state govt give.

Until Battery technology advances in range, recharging, & costs drop dramatically the market won’t take off. One has to put EV sales in perspective. Chevrolet sells more gas-powered Cruzes in one month then Tesla, the most sucessful EV, makes in a year.

Build a better, cheaper EV and the people will buy it. The real problem is can they?

Chevy does a horrible job selling this awesome car. The sales staff know nothing about it. I had to teach them.

It takes too much effort for the sales crew to learn about it and then sell it to the average guy. Too bad. We were going to buy a Cruze until I test drove the Volt and was blown away. Then had the wife drive it (she was against it because of percieved cost vs Cruze and four seats) and she had to have it. The deal was done when she made a spreadsheet up and realized the total cost over the life of the car was the same, possibly lower, with the Volt.