Chevrolet Volt Sales In February Continue To Feel The Impact Of Upcoming Next Gen Car

MAR 3 2015 BY JAY COLE 27

Pressure!

Pressure!

The moment General Motors rolled out the second generation, 2016 Chevrolet Volt (details) at the NAIAS in Detroit in January, you could feel the wind being let out of current Chevy’s sales (pun intended).

GM-Sourced Articles About How Current Volt Owners Saying What They Want Improved In The 2016 Model Isn't Helping Current Sales

GM-Sourced Articles On Current Volt Talking About The Improvements They Influenced In The 2016 Model Over The Current Gen Isn’t Helping Sales Today

With limited production, few incentives, and the full force of next generation hotness on display, just 542 copies of the original edition were sold in January – dropping the Volt to the 4th position for EV sales in America for the first time.

That malaise continued into February, although the overall number rebounded a little, as 693 were sold, off 48% from 2014 when 1,210 were moved.

For the year 1,235 Volts have sold versus 2,218 a year ago.  Off 42%.

And while some special interests groups with a point to prove will surely highlight current Volt sales  as an indicator of what the current public demand is for the product, we know better.

The fact is, the 2015 model year Volt is just playing out the string, waiting on the summer and the arrival of the 2016 car.  That being said, we still have a job to do.

But if one is looking for some highlights in February for the plug-in Chevy, all is not lost.

Despite General Motors shuttering the Volt’s Hamtramck production facility for a week this month, the company has seemingly decided they do need to produce more inventory of the current car, and national stocks of this year’s model grew by around 40% in the month, up to about 3,000 2015 MY units.  The first sizeable gain pretty much since the plant was idled for 2 months last fall in preparation of new models.

How many more 2015 Volts will GM spit out before they draw the curtain on production for good, and are they producing them with the intention of selling a quantity at a reduced rate to take advantage of the profit usually found at the end of a platform’s life?  We won’t know for sure for a couple more weeks.

What Is Up With The 2016 Cadillac ELR?

What Is Up With The 2016 Cadillac ELR?

In other related plug-in news this month at GM:

  • GM North America President Batey had nothing but good things to say about the Volt recently, and confirmed that the Spark EV will remain in the Chevy lineup into MY 2016 (details)
  • In February GM confirmed production of the 200 mile, 2017 Chevrolet Bolt in Michigan
  • We learned the 2016 Volt interior was actually completed in 2013, which pretty much means that the Bolt is already in production lockdown at this point  itself
  • The 2016 Cadillac ELR with “enhanced performance” which was originally scheduled to debut at the LA Auto Show in November (it was pulled at the last minute), was re-scheduled to appear next week at the Geneva show…now it has been pulled againWhat’s up with that? 

Separately, the Cadillac ELR continue to outperform last years results, with a respectable 127 moved in February, almost 120% better than a year ago when 58 were moved.  Also, the Chevrolet Spark EV had a pretty decent month, selling 119 copies, 67% better than a year ago.

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27 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt Sales In February Continue To Feel The Impact Of Upcoming Next Gen Car"

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kdawg

Would be good to know how many used Volts are being sold. Lots of great deals now.

Brian Rose
kdawg, Not a huge statistic, but I bought a used 2013 Volt 10 days ago. Base model, 46,000 miles with a lifetime mpg rating of 52.5mpg. I roughly estimate that the engine has 32,500 miles on it due to this info. It’s a Chevy Certified Pre-Owned with all the warranties that includes (12-month bumper-to-bumper, 24-month free maintenance). All together, after taxes, dealer fees, title, etc, etc, etc – total out the door cost was $18,200. Certainly felt like a great deal when an equivalent used Prius is going for $23,000 BEFORE any taxes and fees. It is truly mind boggling like a vehicle like the Volt is selling at a significant discount to a Prius. Prius owners want to burn less gas and have minimal maintenance issues, and I would bet big money that 95% of Prius owners would burn less gas AND have less maintenance costs with a Volt. People are naturally skeptical of the Volts concept and believe range deterioration and unique design will lead to higher maintenance costs. In a few years time the public, especially the hybrid buying public, will see that the Volt’s battery use was designed to prevent ANY range deterioration. For now there… Read more »
kdawg

I think $18.2K out the door is a good price. Somewhat let’s me know what my 2013 is worth. Is it leather trim, polished aluminum wheels?

Lately, I’ve had more people asking me about my Volt. I think it’s due to all the deals on used ones popping up. The cars are now affordable to many who couldn’t get a new one or qualify for the tax credit.

Brian Rose
My 2013 Volt is a true base model with stock everything from fabric seats to standard sound system, no back up cam, etc. I’ve been surprised how many people have asked me about my Volt. I was talking about getting one for about a year now (waiting for the right time), and EVERYONE was disinterested and disregarded it because I lead with the “it’s a plug-in gas/electric!” statement. My friend who used to own a Prius said I should get that instead, and cited the usual misinformed reasons why a Volt is best avoided. I was pretty surprised since he’s generally very well informed. Once I got the Volt and drove around in it he completely changed his stance. He hadn’t seen one before, and his only “electric car” image in his head was a LEAF or Spark, so immediately he was sold on the aesthetic. The acceleration, infinity mpg for daily commuting, and total gas/electric “road trip” range of 300 miles completely flipped his opinion. He only went from “I would never” to “I want this” only after seeing it and being in it. Up to then no words would sway him even slightly. I feel like most people… Read more »
George Bower

Good story.

Sounds like you got a good deal. With only 52 MPG lifetime the battery has hardly been used.

I’d consider doing what you did when my lease runs out on my 2012 as I could pick one up for a whole lot less than my lease buyout.

That’s not going to happen though as I have myself talked into a Gen 2….can’t resist having the latest and greatest. 🙂

Eric Cote

+100

kdawg

Yes, it really comes down to getting butts in seats. That’s what sold it for one my co-workers; the smooth electric drive and instant torque.

LEAF_n_PiP

Sounds like an amazing price. May I ask what state you are in? I doubt you’ll be able to find that kind of price in Southern California.

Brian Rose

I live in St. Petersburg/Tampa, FL

Ziv

I hope GM announces the MSRP of the Gen II will be $29,990 and then moves up the release date to July. Then they can announce even better deals on the Gen I Volts in dealer stock.

Yeah, I know. Fantasy. LOL!

I think GM waited until August 5th of 2013 to announce the 2014MY price cut.

pjwood1

More 2015’s?

“the company has seemingly decided they do need to produce more inventory of the current car, and national stocks grew by around 40% in the month”

@500 units sold, per month, didn’t GM have the stocks to get to the 2nd half 2016 Volt2 roll-out??

This is where people (and yesterday’s WSJ) get their fodder for “EVs don’t sell” and “EVs depreciate like nothing else”. Can you say “Fleet auctions”? GM must have made such cheap deals to fleet buyers, that the savings from electricity didn’t matter. Why else did so many Volts, with so few electric miles, start hitting the market last year?
http://insideevs.com/perfect-storm-used-chevy-volts/

This will help feed an untrue cynical narrative about EVs, but when you dust it off, it actually doesn’t speak well for GM.

Bonaire

That’s easy, pj. The GE employee fleet was coming off lease. What happened there? They got GE employees Volts and then they gave them GAS CARDS to charge their gas purchases on. Then we wonder why the electric miles were so low.

pjwood1

..cars.com already shows 3,998 “new” Volts still available. Not sure when the extra “40%” (or 800-900) add to this. (3,998+900)/5 months would require a sales rate of ~1,000 per month, to clear.

Jay Cole

Hey Pj,

The 40% increase only related to new 2015 MY inventory. There is still currently some 1,300-odd MY 2014 and older cars as part of the overall national inventory.

From the article – “Despite General Motors shuttering the Volt’s Hamtramck production facility for a week this month, the company has seemingly decided they do need to produce more inventory of the current car, and national stocks of this year’s model grew by around 40% in the month, up to about 3,000 2015 MY units. “

Just as a sidenote as to why ‘more’ 2015s could have made there way out and come further come online. Winter is a notoriously slow season, but past that, there is some value to automakers doing an end run on production of a long in the tooth model that is soon to be replaced, and then sell those out at a lower/discounted price.

Basically all the costing is at its lowest point for the gen 1 Volt, and all the R&D/tooling paid for…no re-investment. The most profitable “bottom line” year for any model in production is generally always its last.

Speculawyer

Yeah, there should be some really great deals on old Volts coming off leases and the new Volts languishing in inventory.

GM has definitely invoked the Osborne effect on themselves.

And damn it GM, put the Voltec drivetrain into another body style instead of just the econohatchback.

elctrNmbliT

In the other article by Jay, Nissan is claiming lower Leaf sales are due to bad weather. Should this be included as a factor in lower Volt sales as well?

Or is Nissan underestimating the impact of the longer range EVs that have been unveiled at the recent autoshows going on sale later this year and next?

Taser54

People are waiting for the 2016 Volt price announcement. That way they can decide if used Volts makes better deal

Many are waiting for the 2013 models to come off lease: Hold-mode models.

ModernMarvelFan

Good Point!

Lou

Upgraded from Mitsu I to 2012 Volt a few months ago. Used Volt(23K miles, 70% electric), base model, immaculate interior, was a great deal at $17K. Upped my monthly payment a lot, but the improvement in driving experience was much greater. As far as total EV miles, it is probably about the same. However, I get 35-40 MPG on the Volt, whereas I had to take an old mini van for trips beyond the Mitsu’s 62 mile(summer, non heater use)range.I guarantee that my overall gas miles are much less because of the Volt. I hope to be able to get a 200 mile EV in a few years. I love driving electric, hard to beat the feeling of an EV. It will be interesting to see if there is a glut of the smaller battery EV’s in the future.

Lou

Martin Tesar

By the sales it appears Americans are holding out for Volt 2.
It must be for the performance improvements as it certainly cannot be for the Volt 2 look.
Volt 1 is an icon design and way better.
Volt 2 needs some serious work to make it attractive and not a market segment profile copy cat type design.
At least Bolt has the design presence and style.

They should have got the prototype Bolt team to design the Volt2 to make it more desirable to car enthusiasts.

Brian

Well, that is your opinion. I certainly agree that the Volt 1 look is more of an icon and the Volt 2 look is more of a mainstream look. However, I disagree that it is not an improvement.

I love the look of Volt 1, but I love the look of Volt 2 even more. The outside is more “mainstream”, but the hood also has a more sculpted look. More importantly, the inside (dash and controls) are a huge improvement. I for one hated the look of the central console in the Volt 1. The Volt 2 is gorgeous. And as a driver, I spend far more time looking at the dash of my car than the outside.

Spider-Dan

When discussing the looks of Volt 1.0 vs. Volt 2.0, just keep in mind that there are people out there who bought the Prius because of its looks, and that this subsection of people are nearly all green car enthusiasts.

In other words, there is a segment of buyers who prefer their green cars to look as different from “traditional car styling” as possible. For this audience, cars like the Prius, Leaf, and i3 have desirable styling, while cars like the Fusion Energi and Volt 2.0 are at the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Volt 2.0 is clearly further towards the “traditional styling” end than the Volt 1.0, so some people won’t like the revised look.

Brian

Absolutely true. And it is time for the Volt to move beyond those “green car enthusiasts” and into the mainstream. Because the car has a whole lot more to offer to a driver than its “green creds”.

Drive a Prius and a Volt back-to-back and you’ll know what I mean.

Bill Howland

Hi Martin… You’re from down under and have one of the few Holden Volts don’t you? Or am I confusing you with someone else?

I’ve never test driven a Prius, but those who have stated the VOLT is more solidly built.

As far as the 2016 volt goes, there are some features i’m underwhelmed about such as that minimal 5th seat, but the rest of it I can’t really comment on until I see it in person.

The Caddy ELR I really wanted to like, but it was such a disappointment in person I was really surprised. And unfortunately, I didn’t see any comments about it anywhere, other than the lack of rear seat headroom.

SO, I guess we’ll have to wait. ONly thing I can say, is that, from a distance, there doesn’t LOOK like there would be anything to disqualify it as being a nice car.

The best feature I like is 50 miles of all electric range.

Martin Tesar

Hi Bill,

Yes – that is why I chose a Volt over a Prius it actually looked good without being over the top or “common” like the Volt 2 with the ugly lower Ford type chrome grill that only a mother could love.
Front and rear look of Honda, Personally I think Honda do some of theirs BETTER, sides from Mazda.
If this is what it takes to be main stream or a “nice” car states side – I’m sadly disappointed. The Volt2 I have shown people locally agree it doesn’t have the ” I want one look” to it and that to me signals it could have been MORE successful if it was properly aesthetically designed for desirability.
Hey it may work for the states as Americans in the past have had “strange” tastes compared to the rest of the world, so who am I to say -LOL!

Joe
I drove a Chevy volt and it was the reason I did not buy one. It reminded me of the excitement I had driving the 1997 Honda insight, but more like a, hmm, in 15 years, instead of 75 combined it gets less. I’ve driven a Prius and a leaf, both only interesting if gas saving is all you want in a car. The volt styling was better than any of those others, wow, until you sit in a Tesla. I talked to many volt owners too. No one seemed to notice the super long charge times, or wearing gloves in the cool weather. I laughed at the “infinity MPG” dash display. I guess they downplay the MPGe still exists as if electricity is free or doesn’t count as fuel. Charger inefficiencies and Pre-conditioning is also not counted in their fuel estimates either. After being disappointed with the volt, leaf and Prius, I spent a year figuring how to beg and borrow from retirement and extended low interest car loans to just get the Tesla. Tesla doesn’t display total energy use either by the way. I get 109 MPGe, on the Model S, but after manually calculating based on total… Read more »
Joe

I forgot to add, I have 2 friends that are holding out for the volt 2. So yes the reveal of the new update is causing a decline in sales, combined with low gas prices it’s killing them. If Chevy volt 2 had a sport edition, bump up the motor output, better handling, like a cavalier z24 or something at least you’d draw some more interest in the current model.