Chevrolet Volt Sales Plunge In January 2015 To Just 542 Units – Thanks Next Gen!

FEB 3 2015 BY JAY COLE 53

GM (and its CEO) Are Now Focusing On The Launch And Success Of The 2016 Chevrolet they should be

GM (and its CEO) Are Now Focusing On The Launch And Success Of The 2016 Chevrolet Volt…as they should be

With the introduction of the new 50 mile extended range 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the NAIAS in January (full details here), does anyone remember that the ‘old’ Chevy Volt is still on sale?  Does anyone care how many GM sold last month?

A Rare "Current" Generation Chevy Volt Startles A Hamtramck Assembly Worker - "Whoa!  We Still Make These?"

A Rare “Current” Generation Chevy Volt Startles A Hamtramck Assembly Worker – “Whoa! We Still Make These?”

Well, we do.  Ironically, we might be the only ones looking at the sales for January.

GM themselves seemed to have mostly abandoned volume 2015 model year production since the Volt’s Hamtramck facility went on a 8 week lay-off in the fall in preparation for the next generation Volt.

This all translates into some pretty hideous sales for January as just 542 Volts were sold, which represents a 41% drop from the 918 sold last year.    You have to go back to August of 2011 to find a result that low (302) when the Volt was still in limited production.

Managing new model year inventory ahead of the next gen car’s launch in the fall of this year seems to be the modus operandi in Detroit these days, as for the umpteenth month in a row, only about 2,000 units of the 2015 Volt has been stocked nationwide.

For 2015, 18,805 Volts were sold, which was off almost 20% from 2013 when 23,094 were sold.

But once again, sales right now aren’t a reflection of true demand – although it is certainly low.  Quite honestly the current iteration of the Volt is just place-holding until the 2016s arrive.

Really…who wants a 2015 right now? Especially before the next generation is priced, as the rumor mill is suggesting it will start a few thousand dollars less than the current plug-in.

Separately, the Cadillac ELR did quite well, up 124% from 2014, as 92 were sold in January.

Video (below): January saw the first advertisement for the next-generation of Volt

A Look Inside - 2016 Chevrolet Volt LTZ w/Jet Black-Brandy Leather

A Look Inside – 2016 Chevrolet Volt LTZ w/Jet Black-Brandy Leather

Also of interest in January in relation to the Volt:


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53 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt Sales Plunge In January 2015 To Just 542 Units – Thanks Next Gen!"

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The REAL question (which we just won’t know the anser to for a while) is: “Is THIS the start of the public’s reponse to low gas prices?”. The Leaf also had a drop in sales. Yes, January is slow, but honestly, if gas had been this cheap back in 2012 I probably would not be driving my 2012 Volt today as the “gas savings numbers” were a big part of what made me initially consider it (before I dicovered the joys of EV driving).

Can’t wait to see what kind of conclusions the media jumps to here.

Edmunds already released its findings last month, that electric car sales are taking a hit from low gas prices. It’s a no brainer.
I have an electric car, and still I’m driving in the gas car as it is so cheap now, and no need to look for charging spaces. If gas goes up, I will start driving the electric car more often.

You know what they say about correlation and causation. Unless Edmunds did a statistically significant survey that shows EV demand is lower because of gas prices, they can’t really say lower EV sales at this point is because of that. There are many other factors that can contribute: the tax rebate, model year change, etc.

I don’t understand the thinking process of running a headline, “Volt Sales Plunge” with a photo header of the 2016 Volt which goes on sale in six months. Can somebody explain why on the header of the website, this is the photo that goes with that line?! You see, when a person on the fence about electric cars – or a casual observer looks at that – they see the image with the line and associate the two. How is that appropriate on an electric car site? I feel so many things on this site are unprofessional – that things like that should be considered. It could be said that it’s an underlying belief from decision-makers here that the Volt, or any PHEV is not a true electric car – or perhaps someone really wants GM’s car to fail…? I’m not sure. I know there is a huge bias here on BMW and anything they make. Is it that that feeling bleeds through in identifying ( and rightly so ) that Volt is a competitor with ReX i3 at not much more than half the price? I’m just seeking answers here – perhaps it’s just a bonehead move…a mistake.… Read more »

I say it’s a no-brainer that if you run a story that current Volt sales are falling….and perhaps, it’s the view of many that a factor is the reveal of the new car – don’t give the message that the new car is or will be a failure too. Because that is exactly the message I got, and my wife, and I think – anybody else would think as they see that shortcut/photo up top of the website with a picture of 2016 Volt. Maybe it wasn’t intentional, but it surely is bad-think.

James, your line of thinking isn’t unreasonable, though it didn’t occur to me initially. I do agree the casual observer would come to the wrong conclusion.

“It’s so cheap now”

Still not as cheap as driving our Leaf, so wake me up when the price of gas is lower than $0.60 per litre. I think just the *tax* is more than that.

I still find it hard to believe you have an electric car. I also don’t think anyone would drive their ICE over the EV unless they needed the range, unless of course it’s a Think City or something like that.

I own my electric car, and I’m worried about its loss of range after many thousands of miles ( 30K?). I hear many Leaf owners complaining about serious range loss after just 2 years.
So, preserving the long range of my EV for later, when gas may go up up is not insane. I’m fine with both electric and gas cars. I’m not a fanatic of either.

You do realize that time alone has a negative impact on battery capacity, and that a BEV that sits is still losing range? I say use it or lose it, and I generally find the EV driving experience to be superior to an ICE.

“I have an electric car, and still I’m driving in the gas car as it is so cheap now, and no need to look for charging spaces. If gas goes up, I will start driving the electric car more often.”

Well, for me, my electricity costs the equivalent of gas at $1.20 per gallon, so I’ll keep using electricity in my Volt.

Heck, even if gas went cheaper than that, the silent electric drive is simply superior. There’s more than one reason to drive electric.

A person who consistently bashes Tesla on here with bad or false information…A person who calls themselves, “See Through” on an electric car website. A person commonly called a “troll” and who is… Says, “I own an electric car and don’t use it”.

I don’t think the word liar is all too inappropriate to use here.

Even when they lie and say they own an electric car – This troll says, “oh, but I don’t use it because I’m afraid the battery won’t last!”….AHA….See what they did there? I SEE THROUGH See Through.

And the amazing thing is – This person comes in here almost every day to troll electric cars and just-won’t-give-up.

As usual. Anything that doesn’t line up with your thought must be a lie 🙂

Sales of an existing product always decline just before the announcement of it’s replacement. And if the replacement looks a lot better, the decline continue after the announcement. And in the cold northern states, January is not a popular month to buy cars regardless.

I’m not surprised by the temporary sales decline. Water always recedes before a tsunami.

I believe it comes down to this: 2016 Volt is far more profitable for GM. GM is putting its resources into the ramp up for the 2016 Volt release.

I see 3,467 new Volts available in the U.S. on If sales hold steady at 542 a month that is 6-months worth of supply. Hmmm, what’s happening in 6 months? Oh, right, the 2016 Volt will be hitting dealerships.

I don’t think GM will be building any more 2015’s. But unless GM makes the 2016 launch date earlier than mid-year Volt sales will be dismal for the next six months.

Yes, the lack of dealer-level incentives from GM to move car is showing up here. About 1,600 of these are actually 2014 models, with just north of 2,000 2015s.

I bet you GM is waiting until Gen 1 Volt stock gets down to a particular level before they will release pricing for Gen 2. Might as well milk the remaining Gen 1’s for all they’re worth. I have a feeling they are content with sitting on current stock levels until the ’16 Volt is ready for production.

Yep – I’d be mighty surprised if GM started another production run of Gen-1 Volts this close to the release of Gen-2.

Do you know how many 2015s were added to the inventory in Jan? Do you think GM have stopped building Gen Is?

Very few 2015s really…AFAIK at this point, it is a matter of dealers wanting to pull from GM’s holding. And with GM not yet pushing extended clearances on old/existing stock, there is little incentive to do so.

542 Volts sold? I understand we are already impacted by the Gen II 2016MY Volt, but this foreshadows a whimper sort of an end to the Gen I Volt. I kind of hoped that GM would drop the price on the Gen I’s to move them and at least go at with a semblance of a bang. Well, maybe they will do so in the spring market.

I love the EREV concept. I do not understand how a limited utility vehicle like the Leaf is going to pass it in overall US sales of electric vehicles this month.

I take that back. I do know why the Leaf is going to pass the Volt. It is $5,000 cheaper and it is built by a foreign company. $5,000 is a lot of money. And domestic automakers have disappointed so many car buyers for so long, that GM has to work twice as hard to sell the Volt, even though it is a much better car. Then there is the purist approach to electric cars where people turn up their noses at the Volt because it “has a gas tank!”

It’s $10,000 cheaper in Georgia.

Every vehicle is of limited utility. Not one is infinitely useful. For myself, the Leaf has more utility than the Volt. Not because of the 5th seat so much as the trunk space.

I think it has less to do with utility and more to do with the fact that Nissan has been pushing harder to sell the Leaf than GM has pushed the Volt. Why is that? I don’t know. One possibility would be that the Leaf is already profitable for Nissan, but the Volt won’t be profitable until the 2016 arrives.

But the issues you point out are also valid. Domestic automakers have an uphill battle thanks to decades of declining quality. The Volt is a higher quality vehicle than the Leaf, but the Nissan name has better rapport than the Chevy name. And you just can’t ignore the $5k-$10k price difference.

Totally agree that Nissan is pushing the Leaf more then Chevy is pushing the Volt. I went into my local GM dealer in Canada twice to run numbers on the Volt and always left with irreconcilable differences on payments (several hundred dollars apart). Plus my wife couldn’t get over the 4 seat compromise.

Nissan put a Leaf lease out for 2.49 percent in the fall which got me out of the Tesla Model 3 waiting room and into an electric car. Thanks Nissan.

I hope GM puts out a compelling price for Gen 2 Volt so we can watch it sell well.

Ziv said:

“I love the EREV concept. I do not understand how a limited utility vehicle like the Leaf is going to pass it in overall US sales of electric vehicles this month.”

Read this article; perhaps it will give you a different perspective on why many buyers would prefer a Leaf over a Volt, even if the price was the same:

“Forget Range Anxiety, Chevy Volt Owners Have Gas Anxiety”

According to the survey in this article, Volt owners stop for a recharge (not refueling) more often than do Leaf owners!

As a Volt driver, I can tell you that my “gas anxiety,” while technically real, has to do entirely with statistics and leaderboards. I don’t want to break my streak of days without gas, I don’t want to lose my position on the EV% leaderboard, I don’t want to reset my time since last fillup, etc. These are entirely superficial concerns and are just a game. I have no qualms blasting the heater when I have passenger(s), even if it means I’ll break my EV streak. Stats be damned. But the idea of comparing stat-gaming “gas anxiety” to the much more serious anxiety of being towed because I ran out of charge is… not plausible. Even though my daily commute is within the Volt’s AER (and therefore well within the Leaf’s range) and I’ve driven over 90% EV in the Volt, I never even considered getting a Leaf instead, and I’d be even less likely to now. That 10% of non-EV miles in the Volt were completely seamless and presented no hardship or obstacle at all. Getting a call at work and finding out that I need to drive 100 miles in the opposite direction when I get off is… Read more »

Dan, I am doing something similar. I plug in and opportunity charge fairly frequently, not because I need to but because I like to go months without using gasoline. Most of these opportunity charge sessions, though, wouldn’t happen if I had 50 miles of EPA AER instead of 38.
The fact that Volt owners drive more electric miles than Leaf owners do, and then drive an extra 25-30% on the genset just reinforces the idea that the Leaf is a limited utility, short ranged BEV and the Volt is a full utility vehicle.

As I told my wife once, “The car doesn’t suck, the infrastructure sucks.”

If you could quick charge an EV at any gas station, the problem is basically solved. There’s a few places in the world where this is the case already.

However, it’s also worth noting that there’s only one place where all-electric cars are selling in any significant percentage of total new car sales. And the primary reason for that is that EVs have a drastically lower operating cost, and in that one place, the initial sticker price is about the same as most gas cars thanks to punitive taxes based on how much gas a car uses.

So honestly, I think that once the initial sticker price isn’t an issue, it’s pretty much game over for the gas engine.

Yeah.. I would say the deal would have to be spectacular to make me consider a 2015 Volt right now, as compared to waiting a few months for a 2016.

Given the substiantial step-change improvements in gen 2, it makes almost no sense to buy a gen 1 Volt, especially with these low gas prices. Maybe fleets can manage to negotiate a bargain for the close-outs, but consumers are much better off holding off until gen 2 arrives.

I just hope its July/August, not October/November.

It depends I guess. There are a lot of people in this country that commute less than 20 miles a day. A Gen 2 Volt doesn’t give them much advantage over a Gen 1 from a practical standpoint.

Then again, once people get hooked on that silent electric drive, they want as much of it as they can get.

Whenever the NextGen Volt is priced, I’m sure GM/dealers will throw a big discount on Gen1 Volts. We may see a sales spike that month. Volt shoppers are probably waiting for this as well, sitting on the fence for either the NextGen pricing or a great deal on a 2015.

Good point. Not only are some people probably waiting it out until the ’16 Volt is released, but there are probably others that are also waiting for Gen 2 to be released so they can grab leftover Gen 1’s at firesale prices.

I know if I was in the market, I would fall into one of those categories. The Volt (and most/all plug-ins) are still mostly purchased by those who do their homework first. Very few people just walk into a Chevy dealership looking for transportation, and drive out in a Volt. As a result, most of the potential buyers will fall into those categories as well.

The Volt 2.0 should be able to break out of that and reach a much wider market. Most of 2015 will be painful to watch, but 2016 will be exciting.

Brian, I agree, most of 2015 will be painful to watch. I too am waiting for the 2016 Chevy Volt. The second generation Volt is an improvement over the first generation Volt in almost every way, and it has seating for five. Why not wait a few months? In my opinion, the 2016 Chevy Volt is the second most desirable electric car on the market today (second only to tesla model S). When it comes to market it will sell like hot pancakes on a sunday morning.

I propose that because it’s 2015, very, very few people walk into a dealership looking for “a car” and walk out with whatever the salescritter suggested. Advertising would have more to do with a customer’s decision than the sales department these days, and people like to shop on the internet.

The link for the stress test at the end of the article seems wrong.

Whoops, your right Herto! Thanks for noticing. /fixed

There are going to be some amazing deals on Volts in a few months as dealers start to pay flooring on those older (new) volts sitting on the lot.

Yes, at approx 500 units/month, there is now a 7-8 month supply of Volts out on dealer lots. That’s not sustainable.

So when should we realistically expect the Gen II to hit the market?

Obviously, the sooner would be the better for them.

Sometime between mid-October and late-November. When I talked to a GM insider who shall remain nameless, I mentioned that the Gen I Volt was release so late in December that when the car mags got them to test, the temps were low enough that the AER looked pretty bad. The GM person said that if things work the way they look now, it will come out before that. But it will be in the Fall Quarter. So Sept to December is the window they are working with.

Volt buyers are informed enough to buy 2015 cars, say, in the south, or for uses where going through its 17.1 kwh aren’t apt to happen.

When GM did its 5k drop, prices didn’t fall 5k. Its anecdotal, but as one of the last 40k MSRP buyers of a ’13, I note that standard (stair step/volume dealer) discounts allowed 4-5k off. When the price fell to 35k, those fell to 0-2k or went away, and the financing deals were harder to come by. It took a couple seasons, or year, before I think you started seeing ~4k, or more, off again.

If 30k is the announcement, it won’t be “5k off” for a while. Having to sell 4k Volts, is nothing like 1k ELRs.

Interestingly, sales dropped when GM cut the price by $5K, and at the same time got rid of the roughly $5K in incentives they were throwing on the hood.

The $5K lower starting price didn’t attract as many buyers as the $5K sales incentives.

Nix, sales dropped after the price dropped but so did inventory. So it is a chicken and egg question. Not so much which came first but what caused the drop in sales, the price drop or the drop in inventory? I would tend to think that a lack of inventory would be the more likely suspect. Chevy had 9000+ Volts in inventory in June, July and August of 2013 when they sold 7800+ cars in 3 months. Then the inventory tanked and the sales dropped too.

500+ units? Wow, I’m seriously surprised they sold that many. I was expecting less after the big reveal of the 2016 and all the buzz that came with it.

I’m not bashing. GM isn’t even trying to sell Volts. They have a $500 dollar incentive right now, compared to $1,500-2,500 dollar incentives on the lower priced Malibu.

The Malibu is also being revised for 2016, so if GM really wanted to sell Volts, they know exactly how much incentive they need to put on them. They just aren’t interested in selling them. It looks like they are just trying to keep inventory on the lots until the 2016 is shipped.

Which makes sense to me, if they really did cut out $10,000 in costs for producing each 2016 Volt. I wouldn’t put much effort into selling something to customers if I knew I could make more money selling them a newer, better product later in the year.

I’d thought there would be a mad rush for the better looking 2015?

Looks like people with no car design taste are waiting for a 2016.

So Glad I have Volt 1 body type, the 2016 just isn’t anything special other a copy of others makers products.

If there are people out there who think the i3 looks good, I guess I’m not surprised that there are also people out there who think the gen1 Volt looks better than the gen2.

GM will face stiff competition from May manufacturers with about 17 new models of EVs in 2016-2017. Pricing will be competitive as those new models try to steal market share with incentives and all will have significantly better batteries and range.
The federal govt will also likely increase the 7500 incentive to $10000!
This will become a REBATE instead of the current TAX write off that not all buyers qualify for…causing immediate price reductions for the consumers.
Many states will increase incentives as well. We will all win:)
I love my Fusion Energi titanium with mega features, looks and comfort but I wanted the Volt range! However I will never buy a car without a power seat in any price range!!
Maybe GM can add a power seat for 35-40k?? If so I will buy a 2016 Volt.

maybe customers are Bolting.

This is has happened before with small cars when gas went down in price. Everyone went out and bought big gas guzzlers. This is what is making a drought in California. No one wants to accept all the pollution and heat made by gas guzzlers does anything. However at the gas stations a label at the pump says ethanol creates less pollution. Does that also mean gasoline creates pollution. As for now electric motors create no pollution. Oh I forgot the electricity comes from coal. O Ye of little understanding about electric motors. Efficiency of electric motors is so huge compared to gas guzzlers. There is a reason all manufacturing in America uses electric motors and not any type of fueled engine. Electricity is available and longevity of electric motors. It is time to take electric motors to the road and get away from polluting gas guzzlers