Chevrolet Volt Posts Strongest Retail Sales For January Ever

FEB 2 2016 BY JAY COLE 74

2016 Chevrolet Volt Sales Easily Surpass A Year Ago

2016 Chevrolet Volt Sales Easily Surpass A Year Ago

When it comes to the next generation of Chevrolet Volt, we know there is a lot of demand for the 53 mile, extended range car.

Mary Barra Introduces The 2016 Volt In Detroit A Year Ago - January 12th, 2015 (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

GM CEO Mary Barra Introduced The 2016 Volt In Detroit A Year Ago – January 12th, 2015 (InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney)

The only question is “How long will it take GM to satisfy that demand?”

In January, GM sold 996 copies of the Volt, which easily beat a year ago’s result, up some 84% when just 542 copies were sold.

Historically, this was GM’s best performing “retail sales” January to date (2013 noted more sales overall), so thing are definitely looking positive for the car demand-wise in 2016.

We should note that a year ago at this time, demand for the older Volt was obliterated when the all-new 2016 Volt hit the stage for the first time at NAIAS in Detroit.

That lack of demand in 2015 continued all the way until the new car’s arrival in October, and while we had hoped that sales would immediately return to surpass past glories (see chart below) in the Fall, the 2016 Volt was later announced to initially roll out to 11 select states before a nation campaign would begin.

That nationwide announcement was also ultimately overturned, as the 2016 model year production was stopped early, to make way for a slightly improved 2017 version.  The result of that decision has been very limited inventory in those initial states, and has caused the potential for a short term sales hiatus going forward from today.

Heading into February, GM has about 2,000 new Volts on lots for sale, but the production of the 2017 edition just began yesterday (February 1st, 2016), which means it will now take GM some ~8-12 weeks to fill in national inventory decently.

Therefore, it would not surprise us to see a sales chasm open up in late February, keeping sales artificially low (as compared to demand) until things really pick up around April.

A Look At The All-Time Monthly Sales Of The Chevrolet Volt And Its Relative Market Share in The US

A Look At The All-Time Monthly Sales Of The Chevrolet Volt And Its Relative Market Share in The US

Chevrolet Volt sales in U.S. – Through 2015

Chevrolet Volt sales in U.S. – Through 2015

Everything EV Was Over Shadowed In January By The Introduction Of The Chevy Bolt EV

Everything EV Was Over Shadowed In January By The Introduction Of The Chevy Bolt EV

Also of interest this month:

*- Cadillac sold 67 copies of the ELR, off about 27% from a year ago

*- Chevy Spark EV also carried some decent sales momentum into January as the 2016s had just arrived the month prior, selling 139 copies.

*- GM introduced the production-intent version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV at CES, then later revealed the specs on the 200 mile EV at the NAIAS in Detroit

*- we spoke to the Chevy Bolt’s EV Chief Engineer Josh Tavel and found out lots of interesting tidbits on the car (article here)

*- 2016 Volt vs Prius?  When it comes to cost of leasing, the Volt wins

Categories: Chevrolet, Sales

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74 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt Posts Strongest Retail Sales For January Ever"

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How is it the best january ever? January 2013 beat it.

Best January for Gen 2? :p

Only January for gen 2 ?

I usually don’t comment but here is my take.
The EV’s are coming, the EV’s are coming…. Why? Smog in cites, low maintenance, 54.5 mpge DOE goal in 2025, potential longevity of electric drives, transition to newer batteries or fuel cells, potential for higher gas prices, good interface with autonomous vehicles, etc, etc. The cons are less dealer service profit, lower manufacturer profit vs ICEs, lack of convenient charging, retraining of service techs etc, etc. Seems pretty convincing for EVs from customer viewpoint.

GM has Technically Blown Past the Toyota Prius.
This is an embarrassment for the Japanese.

And then there’s TESLA.

And Honda, what ever happened to Honda.
They’re a technical joke now, Thanks Dealers!

Honda is working on robots and there new jet.doing like gm use to do ,selling the same crap with a new look!

That’s a bit premature. The next gen Plug-in Prius is coming this fall, and Toyota has said it will have increased AER and an increased ability to drive in EV mode. Meanwhile, drivers of the 2016 Prius hybrid are seeing real world MPG in the very high 60s and low 70s without hyper-miling. The Volt won’t be able to touch MPG efficiency of the 2017 Plug-in Prius in range extender mode. The big question is what the AER will it have.

I came across an short interview with the Toyota “HV development chief” in charge of developing the next plug-in Prius. He said the following:

“To ensure EV driving performance, we will employ a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery and motor that are different from those of the new Prius. The Li-ion battery of the new Prius is focused on output density. Because EV driving will be prioritized for the next Prius PHV, we are currently developing a battery with a focus on energy density. Also, we will employ a drive motor larger than that of the new Prius.”

“The current Prius PHV basically requires charging at home for EV driving. But, for the next Prius PHV, we are considering enabling the engine to rotate the generator more and storing more electricity in the battery.”

Uh oh . . . it sounds like someone is not completely convinced that hydrogen fuel cell cars are the future!

I am not a volt fanboy for sure, but I did talk to some volt owners that commute 20 miles each way every day, charge at work, and have an MPG of several hundred because it is rare that they need to have the gas engine kick in. And that is not with hypermiling. So Prius < Volt for sure.

“The big question is what the AER will it have.”

That’s not the only big question. Will it have full driving performance in EV driving like the Volt? Mostly certainly no.

Will it cost less or the same as the Volt after tax incentives? No. After incentives and including destination charges the base msrps are only different by $1500 favoring the regular 2016 Prius. I would be very surprised if the plugin Prius isn’t more than a $1500 premium. Add the CA rebate and the Volt becomes even cheaper that the regular Prius.

I bought a new Honda Crosstour in 2014. My wife already wants to sell it. It is to boring for her. The sad part is I agree, but cant afford to sell it yet.

Honda has stagnated. I think they got side-tracked chasing the fuel cell boondoggle. And their IMA hybrids were pretty weak-sauce compared to Toyota’s Synergy drive.

GM and Toyota are BOTH limiting production on Volt and Plug-in Prius. Neither WANTS to win. They both want to drag their feet and sell big ICE vehicles for as long as possible.

Think about it, KIA shows more technical achievement than Honda!

Umm…article titles says best ever January, but in Jan. 2013 over 1,000 units were moved?

Looking at the charts the cumulative US sales for the Volt and Leaf were exactly tied at 116,597 at the end of 2015. How crazy is that?

It looks like the Volt will pull ahead as it is on the second generation and the only comparable EREV competitor is maybe the i3. The Leaf is now competing with the i3, Kia Soul, e-Golf, and Focus. The 107 mile range appears not enough to break out.

I think the ‘all sales’ is all plug in sales for that given year. Looking at the cumulative U.S. numbers for Volt I get 89,746, and for the Leaf 90,346, which is exactly 600 more Leafs vs. Volt. With the 2017 Volt hitting all 50 states this month, I think the Volt will once again take the total plug-in sales crown from the Leaf in a month or two.

You can’t compare a Volt to a Leaf! One is a BEV and the other is a hybrid!


Had to get my sarcastic comment in before the Puristas get their harsh on. LOL!

I don’t think the Volt and the Leaf are really all that similar cars but it is kind of cool how their sales figures have stayed so close with the lead going back and forth.

Reality check:

Unlike the followers of automotive blogs, everyone in the tech/auto/finance industries has already figured out that the private car for the masses is dead. Rent-a-ride to your next temp job is the future.

And yet car sales overall are at record highs. Go figure.

Bad car loans, the next junk loan bubble?

That could become a disaster if gas prices shoot up. Lots of people probably bought gas guzzlers that they can barely afford . . . and if gas prices go up, lots of people might walk away from their underwater gas guzzlers.

They deal with that with license plate readers and 30 day REPO after first missed payment.

Saw an auto carrier with four shiny new Volts perched on top headed to a dealer in NoVA. Like them or not they are coming and they are selling.

It will be interesting to see what percentage of Gen 1 owners upgrade to Gen 2. With a high customer satisfaction and high lease percentage the demand could be high, or not.

It will be time for a new car in the next couple years but I am torn between a Bolt or Volt. I am thinking we might keep the Gen 1 around as a travel car and get a Bolt or Model 3. It is hard to justify hauling the ICE drivetrain around when it is used so rarely.

Winter time you love that dino juice burner as it keeps you warm and it gets you places. I have a feeling that a number of gen.1 Volt drivers have replaced it with an i3 or a Model S.

“what percentage of Gen 1 owners upgrade to Gen 2”

I would upgrade but I still love my gen 1. =)

Hoping the Bolt is the beginning of a sea change at GM, with respect to long range BEVs.

Traditionally, GM’s never had to built gas stations to fill their cars, so company execs are simply AGHAST when people ask them if they’re going to make High Speed EV Charging Stations for the Bolt. I get that.

But I also hope the Bolt opens minds within the company, to providing a fuller understanding, and appreciation to support fully electric vehicles that don’t use gasoline to run.

It seems a reasonable question to me. I mean GM cannot really ignore the elephant in the room, Tesla, with which whom they are being compared. People say hey this little nobody company built, is still building, an amazing
charging infrastructure across the world, why don’t you?

At GM they are thinking, like you allude too.”Homey don’t do that,” and they won’t.

In literary terms Tesla is like Sir Galahad, and GM is like Lancelot, in the search for the ‘Holy Grail’. For those not familiar, Lancelot slept and missed his chance to recover the grail.
In other words Tesla has truly seen and quests after the vision of the ev future, GM is just going along for the ride, like Lancelot mounting his charger with a fanfare of trumpets as he loudly proclaims his intention to seek and find the grail.

Yup. GM’s lack of interest in high speed charging infrastructure is my gripe against Bolt. When I state as such in comments, people call me a Troll. If GM don’t get in on EV charging, Tesla will eat them alive (in EV).

As I wrote in my blog, doesn’t GM want to test Bolt to see how quickly it’ll charge? At 3X SparkEV battery, it could charge at 150kW. Then the unit made to test it could be commercialized and sold or leased.

I think we need to see how Tesla’s charging network functions when there isn’t a ~$90k barrier-to-entry.

If the MIII is released and SCs are overwhelmed, or Tesla switches to a per-charge fee for new owners and the prices are unattractive, I doubt GM (or anyone else) will be in a big rush to get into the utility business.

Tesla barrier is $70K, but you’re right, still high for now.

But GM doesn’t have to get into retail charging business. They could simply make 150kW units available for sale / lease, and have Chargepoint or Greenlots take care of the retail side. Kia is using Greenlots for this purpose, though they are using other maker’s 50 kW charger hardware. But with Bolt, GM need to do a bit more as there aren’t 150kW.

Now Tesla may be in a pickle in this case, because they may have to get into retail business. They could contract out to Greenlots, etc, but combining free + non-free may make minor blip.

You’re framing the issue as a shortage of DC EVSE equipment manufacturers, which seems pretty dubious.

The more glaring issue is in building and continually funding a DC charging network, and the only automaker willing to do so at this time is the same automaker that’s selling EVs with an average price of $90k. Let’s see how the Supercharger model scales down to ~$40k cars before we declare it the ultimate weapon.

When it comes to 150kW DCFC units at reasonable prices, there is a shortage. Why? I frame it as lack of scale, which GM certainly can assist.

As for Tesla’s “free”, we’ll see how it goes. I am strictly against free charging as that just invites abusers. But if Tesla can apply nominal fee for Model 3, well that’s big IF.

Yep. If the two cars are identical, who would buy a Bolt instead of Model 3 when the Model 3 can access the supercharger network and the Bolt only has access to a small number of 50KW DC chargers that were placed haphazardly?

There’s no question that building out the Supercharger network for Tesla has been great for their sales, but long-term, it’s ridiculous to claim that every EV maker should build its own separate nationwide / worldwide network of EV fast chargers.

When there are sufficient plug-in EVs on the road to generate customers for third-party fast (and eventually superfast) EV chargers, then entrepreneurs will build them. Ford, General Motors, Duesenberg, Studebaker, etc. didn’t each need to build their own network of gas stations, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to claim that EV makers should, either.

At worst, the various PEV makers should pool their resources to build a network at a shared cost, as an interim measure until the EV revolution is well advanced. That would, of course, require them to agree on standards for charging and for plugs; and that would be a great step forward, too.

At 53 miles electric range, the Gen 2 Volt is about 90% of thd EV Range of the little Mitsubishi iMiEV, and that car comes standard with DC Fast Charging, in the CHAdeMO format. So, if GM wanted to do something nice for users, they could add CCS to the 2018 model year Volt (too late for the 2017’s!).

That would be a good time as well to at least give an option for a 6.6 or 7.2 kW AC charging capabilty!

Why would GM want to add DC fast charging to the Volt? Makes absolutely no sense in any argument scenario. Most Volt owners charge at home and don’t even use level 2 charging. 110 is fine, we do our thing, park at home, plug in and the next morning we have a full battery and we are on our way.

Unless you’ve used DCFC, you have no idea how it works. It’s like telling gas car drivers how EV is quicker to “fuel” than going to gas station; it won’t makes sense until they actually do it.

With DCFC, even 100 miles trips are possible with Volt without using gas (ie, shopping malls 50 miles away that doesn’t have L2 or the beach). 20 minutes at Starbucks is all one needs. DCFC would make it a Rex EV, not just a hybrid.

Beside, it would be an option, so one may or may not take it. Choice is good.

Why not?

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a smaller 12 kWh battery and supports DC fast charge.

Well, word is that Mitz is removing the DC fast charger from the version that will come out in the USA.

It really doesn’t make much sense since it adds to the car’s cost and does not add much value. I’m sure it would be much cheaper to fill up gas than charge up at a DC fast-charger in most situations.

EVGuy said:

“Most Volt owners charge at home and don’t even use level 2 charging.”

Do you have actual statistics to back that up, or is that just a guess on your part?

According to at least one survey, Volt owners stop for en-route charging more often than Leaf owners:

GM has stated many times that the majority of Volt owners only use L1 charging. Here is a direct quote from GM: “60% of volt customers only charge on 110v rather than 240v.”

I don’t necessarily disagree with GM’s choice of charging rates give their desire for mass market appeal.

However, the way they reference this data is bogus. As an analogy, “We gave 1000 people a case of fresh oranges, and rotten apples. We found 90% of people chose to eat the oranges.”

Referencing existing data that shows limited use of the existing and slower 3.3kW Level 2 charging is NOT proof that people are not interested in 6.6kW charging. It’s like saying people don’t like apples because they didn’t eat the rotten ones.

Of course if you have a 16kW battery like the Volt, and have gas as a backup, then 110V is enough. But thats an entirely different use case from a pure electric vehicle with a larger battery where you have to refill not just 16kW but 60kW and also don’t have the gas backup in case you didn’t get to fill up all the way today.

i wouldn,t mind to recharge my Volt,and not to poison the thin O2 layer,as an idiot!

Lol, you don’t even own an electric car do you, EVGuy… 110V is not fine at home thats charging like 3 miles per hour. It can hold you over if you get to charge mostly at an L2 charger at work, but anybody seriously driving their EV the distance is going to install an L2 charger in their garage to be able to fill up a 24kW battery in 4 hours. The bolt will have two to three times that much capacity and will take respectively longer to charge. DC Fastcharging is what allows you to go past your single charge distance in a day. I have done it and I have not regretted giving NRG EVGo $10 per charge for the few times where I had to. Mostly I charge for ‘free’ at home (solar + L2 charger) and some when parking at an event or garage when going out.

Or did I miss you meant the Volt doesn’t need more than 110 charging? That may be so, but the Bolt certainly does need L2 and DC fast charging to be attractive.

Folks, we all need to remember that the Volt has a DC fast charger: Its 1.5L gasoline range-extending engine. I get it, some people want to not use gas on long trips, and would rather drive for 100 miles, charge for 30 minutes, and repeat. If that’s the case, the Volt is not for you. It is designed to eliminate gas usage for all but your longest daily commutes, with 53 miles of all electric range. If you need to go further, it will use its engine to make electricity from gasoline as long as you need it to… with some clever tricks to bypass the inefficiency when it makes sense to. By doing this, people can take a 1000 mile trip and not need to change their habits over any traditional vehicle made over the last 50 years. It’s a car for the mass market consumer. As such, it was intentionally designed without a port that would require a user to wait 30 minutes for an 80% charge to simply travel another 50 miles. This is not a limitation, it is something that will let this car (and plug-in tech) appeal to the mass market as a stop gap,… Read more »

Still deserves waaaaay better.

The very cramped back seat is really holding back sales of the Volt. GM needs to stuff a bigger battery in the Malibu Hybrid and make it a plug-in if it wants to sell a plug-in sedan in big numbers. And while they’re at it, do the same for the Impala.

Back seats are not cramped and no one will ever be back there in my Volt

Volt would be better as a coupe

I would like it better if it was.

I agree. A big battery in the Malibu and making it a PHEV would allow it to compete with the Ford Fusion Energi. I think the Fusion Energi looks good but that battery is too small and takes up too much space.

And how did Ford Fusion Energi sell last year?

GM needs a Voltec Equinox with 25 miles of range and sub $40K price tag!

I’m 6 foot and have ridden in the back of a Volt. It definitely was a bit tight manageable as long as you don’t do it often. And would be fine with kids.

I think the VOlt is fine for a small efficient car. But IN ADDITION to the Volt, GM really needs some larger VOltec SUVs, minivans, pick-ups, larger sedans, etc.

“The very cramped back seat is really holding back sales of the Volt.”

No, my personal opinion is that “bow tie” on the grill that is holding back the sales…

If Volt was under a different brand such Ford, Toyota or Honda, it would have sold way better.

True. Better to have used the Buick badge or create a new division. Chevrolet does not have a reputation for quality.

The Corvette seems to do fine.

And average Corvette buyer’s age is?

The answer doesn’t speak well for GM’s future.

Then again, probably people needs to be that old in order to have money to buy the car…

We’re talking about reputation, here, not actual buyers. That is, unless you’d like to discuss the average age of Model S owners.

Furthermore, if we’re going to talk about young vs. old, I’m 100% certain that if you ask drivers under 30 whether they’d rather have a 2016 Model S or a 2016 Corvette Stingray, the answer would be the latter in a blowout.

American muscle cars sell well regardless of how poorly they are made.

The volt is a relatively low cost vehicle, as it must be to have a chance against the sure to be popular next-gen PIP.

So its not going to have the best charger, the biggest battery, cadillac escalade leg room, etc.

So the Volt will be #1 in sales in the US, Jan 2016? It’s been awhile…

(well, if you don’t count the October spike.)

What would sales be if GM actually tried to sell the Volt, like by running commercials on TV and by incentivizing car salesmen to sell it when people walk into the dealership instead of steering people to gas burners like they do now?

10% more at best…

People just don’t want to buy Chevy.

Chevy isn’t a cool brand to most leading edge buyers. It is just a damaged brand.

GM should started a sub brand like Saturn to handle PEVs only.

But Chevy wanted the car as a way to draw more/different buyers to the Chevy brand.

At the time, it was very hectic, and they were lucky to pull off the Volt by Dec 2010. But now that they have the Volt under their belt, and some more breathing room, I wish they would have created a new line of plug-ins. The dealerships for these cars would ONLY carry plug-ins (for new cars).

Just saw a Volt ad on TV (The one against Prius)…

Sorta off topic, but with ’17s being shipped now, I won’t be surprised if the $2,500 Volt rebate currently offered on several Chevy vehicles expires for good after this month or next.

I think one of the main reasons for offering the rebate to Volt owners/leasers was to make sure they stayed in the Chevy family until the next gen Volt arrived everywhere. Now that that’s about to happen, don’t be surprised if the $2,500 goes away.

Just ordered my 2017 Volt last week! It is slated to be built the week of Feb. 22. I can’t wait to park that beauty in my garage!

I had to give back my lease for a 2013 Volt in the beginning of Jan. It feels so weird driving around my wife’s gasoline powered car!

I have a 2016 Volt, 750 EV miles, no gas, 40 miles per day commute. Using only 110V 12 amp charge over night. Love everything so far. Heating works great, been good in snow, I am 6’3″, and have been perfectly comfortable. Always had performance cars, manual trans, and the Volt in SPORT mode has been fun to drive! Would consider an EV Equinox or an SS Coupe …if GM makes it.
If you have not test driven one – GO DO IT!