Chevrolet Volt Sales Rise 17% In May


Chevrolet Volt takes home sales title in May

Chevrolet Volt takes home sales title in May

After setting a new year-high for sales in April, how would the 53 mile, extended range Chevy Volt do in May?  Almost as well.

Some 1,901 Volts were sold, which was 17.5% better than the 1,618 sold a year ago.

Finally! Deeper Chevrolet Volt inventory is arriving to dealers in US (photo via Jamie H at Pohanka Chevrolet)

Finally! Deeper Chevrolet Volt inventory is arriving to dealers in US (photo via Jamie H at Pohanka Chevrolet)

Once again this result was more than enough to put further distance between itself and the Nissan LEAF for the title of  “best selling plug-in in America”.

Heading into May the race for first widened by almost 1,000 units, and currently stands at 96,621 sales for the Volt vs 94,288 for the LEAF.

Last month we lamented that the inventory level of the next generation of Volt was frustratingly low (and possibly holding back sales) despite a February 1st kick-off for 2017 model year production.

Fortunately, we are now happy to report that someone at GM was paying attention to the situation in May, and dealer stock increased by about ~25% by month’s end.  Inventory stands at a little over ~4,100 entering June.

Still, it is hard to be too overly positive about this month’s result. A 17.5% sales gain versus a year ago is a relatively tepid result, considering it is just a slight improvement against the first generation model’s sales in May of 2015 – and at a time when the car buying public was already looking ahead to the Fall 2015 release of the new model.

Also during the month, GM sold 45 Cadillac ELRs as the remaining inventory of the now out-of-production luxury car (based on the first generation Volt) dwindles, while the Chevrolet Spark EV continues to enjoy its now ‘almost free’ nature to the under-employed in California (thanks CVRP) and sold 394 copies.

Of note:  We’d like to take a moment to shamelessly promote InsideEVs contributor – David Murray’s pretty great video review on the 2017 Chevrolet Volt – watch it here!

2017 Volt Now Available In Putrid Citron Green Metallic

2017 Volt Now Available In Putrid Citron Green Metallic

Separately this month on the Volt, and other GM electrification news:

With production of the Cadillac ELR wrapped up in Hamtramck, Michigan, only a few copies are left unsold

With production of the Cadillac ELR wrapped up in Hamtramck, Michigan, only a few copies are left unsold

*- GM introduced a new color choice for the 2017 Volt this month (details above), which is think is kinda…um, special

*- we ‘shook the tree‘ and found out that the 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV will end production this August in South Korea, possible to make way for the upcoming Bolt EV

*- self driving Chevrolet Bolt EV fleet was also spotted in San Francisco in May

*- “father” of the Chevy Volt, Bob Lutz, says the extended range Chevy was his favorite creation, while also casting doubts on Tesla’s Model 3 projections

*- Cadillac ELR production confirmed discontinued this past February, only a few copies left to buy on dealer lots

Category: ChevroletSales

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62 responses to "Chevrolet Volt Sales Rise 17% In May"
  1. Lou says:

    Starting to see new Volts in Philly. I have seen 2(just 2)in the area the last few weeks. I suspect that the full rollout to all states is just happening now.

    1. Brian Rose says:

      I’ve seen a marked increase in the amount of Gen 1 Volts driving around St. Petersburg, FL the last few months.

      In just the last 3 weeks I finally began seeing Gen 2 Volts. Albeit, a total of 3.

      I have a feeling that Gen 1 Volts are getting a popularity boost because of price discounts on unsold inventory, cars coming off lease, and a PR boost for the “Volt” brand due to Gen 2 reviews and general EV interest from media coverage of Model 3.

      Just my 2 cents anyway.

      1. John says:

        I completely agree. I just bought my wife a very low mileage 2013. I was irritated that I paid about $1,500 more than I would have a few months ago. The prices of the used ones been going up due to the interest in the 2017’s.

        1. James says:

          Thanks for posting the picture of the blue Volt with the black pocket wheels. It’s the first shot I’ve seen with that combination.

          Now that I’ve seen it, I prefer the A) Black one with black pocket wheels B) White one with black pocket wheels C) Silver with black pocket wheels D) Heather grey with black pocket wheels.

          I’m bummed my dream Blue Volt doesn’t come with the brandy interior for 2017. Just another change that GM made for 2017 that slipped under the radar. The black interior is too black…no contrast, just hard black plastic and soft touch leatherette…and black carpet and matts…I like black interiors, but GM doesn’t do them well…It’s like a black hole in there!

          My only solace is the windshield glare issue. The one I saw in my neighborhood was a tester given to a guy in my area for press review. His wife told me she hated the brandy interior as the dashboard reflects BADLY on the windshield and is a distraction. I haven’t driven one, but there is a test review on Youtube, and the Go-Pro view from the back seat shows MAJOR reflection in the windshield of the brandy… Maybe black IS the best choice…

  2. kubel says:

    lol putrid green metalic.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Yeah, the Volt is great, but that color…..bleh.

    2. Sydney Schneidman says:

      I have a 2017 in the green, and it’s really nice in the sun. Greener would be nice, but for what it is, the photos really don’t do it justice, IMHO!!

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        Meh… I saw one in person and I think the photos are kind. I thought it looked terrible.

        1. Larry says:

          Chacun à son goût.

  3. Jean-François says:

    I hope it is because there has not been a real roll-out across the 50 states so far, because it is quite deceiving as a result.

  4. David Murray says:

    I was really hoping to see over 2,000 sold.

    1. R.S says:

      I begin to wonder, if this is it. Around 2000 per month for the new Volt.

      That would be really disappointing, I originally hoped for at least 30k annually, but since GM isn’t really advertising it that much, the gas price is still pretty low and it isn’t a SUV, lower sales could be expected.

      That said, I do still hope for a significant increase in sales the coming months and that they break the 30k, even if that means selling 3k on average from now on…

      1. RexxSee says:

        Of course they sell well, do we have any other convenient choice right now?!?
        But they couls sell many more if they really wanted to promote EVs and this so called “bridge” to electrics… Lol! 20 years ago we were already on the “other side”…

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          ” Lol! 20 years ago we were already on the “other side”…”

          Stop your whining… 20 years it was a $80K 100 miles BEV with 2 seats and slow/ugly.

          Why don’t you trash your Prius and buy a real BEV if you are so insisting on it? (waiting for Model 3 is just your stupid excuse to be a Tesla cheerleader)

          LEAF with 107 miles is already here and cost less than half of what EV 1 cost back then and have 2.5x more seating.

          Lease one now if you want to wait for Tesla.

    2. SparkEV says:

      I was hoping to see over 10,000 sold! Why are people still buying the Prius when Volt is without a doubt better in all manners? Are they just stupid or is it just GM incompetent marketing? Hell, even a hybrid hater like me is almost convinced to take a spin in a Volt.

      1. JiminAtlantaIN says:

        Better in all manner than the prius except depreciation. I think Volts beat everyone in lost value per year relative to other vehicles.

        I think GM needs a better warranty or something on the Volt if they want to sell more. People are afraid of the reliability of the batteries.

        1. Robert Middleswarth says:

          I am sorry but nothing can beat a Nissan Leaf in deperactation.

          1. Terawatt says:

            Sure, many things can beat a LEAF and shed their value faster.

            Here are people sweeping up Hungarian Pengos from the street:


            In Germany in 1923 the Mark lost its value so quickly that prices doubled every two days. The exchange rate peaked at 4,200,000,000,000 Deutsche Mark to one US dollar.

            I’m sure there’s plenty of cars too that have held up their value worse than a LEAF. Though I doubt that the Volt is one of them!

      2. Brian Rose says:

        I’ve seen several 2017 Prius’ driving around. Baffles my mind.

        My experience with owning a Volt is that the general public, to this very day, is still skeptical of EV/PHEVs, and 90% of people are just as ignorant as they were 4 years ago.

        Co-workers and acquaintances still ask me regularly about how much my battery has degraded, if I need a new one yet, how many repairs I’ve had to do.

        There’s nothing wrong with that. Curiosity is great, and it refines their assumptions with real world information.

        When I respond to these questions and talk about Sparkie’s 100,000 EV miles and 300,000 total miles with no range degradation and no major maintenance people actually become MORE skeptical because it all sounds too good to be true.

        The gap between public skepticism of EVs and the reality of their performance, battery life, and (lack of) maintenance costs is so wide that the truth leaves people thinking you are merely a fan boy who is misleading them with cherry-picked info, and rose-colored glasses.

        Most people still don’t directly know anyone with an EV/PHEV, and often only know 1 person that owns one. Perceptions will not change until the average person knows multiple people who can all confirm that EV/PHEVs are an improvement in every way over something like a Prius.

        1. John says:

          Everyone seems to be forgetting that GM has a pretty nasty past to overcome. Build quality and goofy designs plagued them for the better part of two decades….it takes a long time for people to forget that.

        2. Nix says:

          Obviously GM secretly replaced your batteries and engine as some conspiracy…



        3. philip d says:

          I’ve had the same experience from my 13 Volt to my new 17 Volt.

          I even had a childhood best friend that came through town that I hadn’t seen in years. I showed him our i3 and Volt and tried to explain everything to him.

          He had all those same preconceived notions about expensive battery replacement etc. I told him about Sparkle and the Teslas that are approaching 100k miles with 10% or less range loss and how fast battery prices are dropping and he still seemed skeptical.

          The bottom line is how can one cram all that info into a commercial and have the general public not only get it but believe you at the same time.

          1. Brian Rose says:

            Phillip D,

            A commercial that simply and succinctly cites user satisfaction (highest of any GM vehicle ever made), and quoting reviews from professional sources (Motor Trend, Consumer Reports, etc).

            Then, fade out with a “Find out from owners why the Chevy Volt has the higher customer satisfaction of any vehicle in GM history”, or something.

            To coincide with this mass-marketing ad create a Volt-stats connected “vehicle” (A method of delivery like an app, facebook group, website, or all of these combined) that allows you to connect with Volt owners in your area, and “find out for yourself”.

            Many Volt owners, especially those who took the time to sign up on Volt-stats, are happy to turn others on to what the Volt offers (this would not work with owners of almost any OTHER vehicle, besides a Tesla perhaps).

            As an extra incentive GM could offer some kind of cheap, yet additionally promotional incentive for Volt owners to join the initiative – like a free branded coffee mug or bumper sticker or something.

            GM is simply NOT taking advantage of a great, free resource – the love that Volt owners have for their car, their desire to see more Volts on the road, and their wish that the average person was more informed about Volts.

    3. pjwood1 says:

      +1 Let’s hope lack of inventory was the story. I give GM high marks for product, but penetration looks dismal.

  5. AkransasVolt says:

    i have not even seen one on a dealer lot here in Arkansas yet. my 5 year old 2011 volt could use an upgrade…

    1. JiminAtlantaIN says:

      Have you looked to see what your 2011 Volt is worth? Probably less than a 2011 Cruze. Trade in value for my 2012 Volt Premium is $7500 with 70k miles. Volts are terrible at holding value even with the federal discount. I don’t think I will ever buy another new Volt. It will always be several years old.

      1. AkransasVolt says:

        according to KBB, it is worth about $10k. the 2011/2012 have been selling about 12k at the dealers here in AR. I would be able to get about $9k just trading it in.

      2. Brian Rose says:

        As battery tech rapidly improved both the MSRP and total electric range of Volt’s changed radically each year causing downward re-sale value on older Volts due to both the one-two punch of newer models having a lower MSRP AND a longer EV range.

        These influences are moderating and reaching a point of stability, thus resale value going into the future will be preserved much more than in the past.

        Once the Federal Tax Credit begins to be phased out the re-sale values will actually experience and upward pull.

        The key concept here is that re-sale values of vehicles are highly correlated to the price and capabilities of new models.

        If next years model is $3,000 cheaper, then the re-sale value of old models drops $3,000.

        If next years model has 5 more miles of EV range, then the re-sale values of old models drops even further.

        The range and cost changes are flattening, so re-sale value depreciation will ALSO flatten in the next 2-3 years.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          Brian, Compared with i3, and e-golf nothing “radical” made the Volt leap forward. It already had a big lead, with EREV range. All told 16kwh eventually became 18.4. They raised the discharge depth, which helped the big increase to 53 miles, but, again, nothing radical that should make price drop that much.

          GM cars lose value more quickly, in general. They fleet them, which has been written about on IEV where they show up on dealer lots based out, and cheap. That’s what I believe we are seeing. That, and $7k trade being too low, to begin with.

  6. Ziv says:

    The Volt is still too expensive, even with the tax credit. Chevrolet has built a reputation for boring, unreliable small cars and the Volt is inaccurately viewed as an expensive Cruze by a lot of potential car buyers.
    Low gas prices, no advertising to speak of and poor dealer promotion of the Volt doesnt help either.

    1. SparkEV says:

      At least regarding dealer promotion, ev-vin is doing a great job. Volt lease for $85/mo + $2700 down!

      Let’s get the word out and all chant “ev-vin! ev-vin! ev-vin!” intead of “jerry” 🙂

    2. Speculawyer says:

      $26k is too expensive? Really?

      1. Ziv says:

        Yeah, Spec, because perception is HUGE! LOL!
        People look at Chevy small cars as cheap and when they hear $33k for a Volt, the credit doesn’t even factor for a lot of them.
        Have you ever taken an Aveo for a drive? 😉
        The sad thing is that you can get a 2017 Volt for less than $31k so with the credit that nets you around $24k with the delivery fee included. That is a bargain!
        Still only 3830 Volts in North American inventory, which is a drag on Volt sales as well.

  7. Absidu says:

    2000 for best EV up to date in non-premium segment. That’s ridiculous, Chevy Volt is not even a direct competitor for Bolt and Model 3.

  8. Breezy says:

    These are the best ever May sales of the Volt. Previous record was 1684 in 2014.

    Inventory is at about 60 days, about industry average.

    It’s the best selling plug-in of all time in the US and Canada.

    This all looks good to me.

  9. tom911 says:

    The lack of having HOV access in CA is surely holding back sales in the state. 85K green HOV stickers are all gone at this point…

  10. Speculawyer says:

    Congratulations to GM. Well deserved. Actually, they deserve even better sales than that.

    LEAF is stuck in the mud due to Bolt and Model 3 anticipation.

  11. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I see a lot of the new Volt on the road these days…

    I also see a lot of used Volt being purchased.

    Both are good things.

  12. Larry says:

    Finally took the plunge on May 27, so may not be included in stats. Not a single 2017 in stock at any dealer within 75 miles of my home, so I ordered one factory-built. Anyone have any idea how long before it shows up? I expect 10-12 weeks, but fear it could be longer.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Larry, factory lead time out of DHAM is listed at 63 days on last update

      1. Larry says:

        Thanks. About 9 weeks, then. I can live with that.

  13. David says:

    I still get asked, “Do you have to plug it in?” Ugh. No, I get to plug it in.

    1. James says:

      Electric when you want it, gas when you need it.

      Tell ’em it gets 42 MPG Combined, like a 2009 Prius. Then tell them you never usually go there, because you’re too busy getting 250 MPG by travelling less than 53 miles/day. When they ask you, tell them the Prius switches on and off at every stoplight, every hill, every mildly hard acceleration and every startup. Say your Volt never does this nonsense – it’s like an electric car most the time.

      Not hard to put it in layman’s terms.

  14. kdawg says:

    I’m seeing more & more Gen 1 Volts. Not so much Gen2. And none of the dealers around me are stocking them. I wish GM could make its dealers stock 3 on the lot at all times, with different levels of trim & colors.

    You have to have them on the lot to sell in more significant numbers.

  15. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I am betting that 2016 will be the best Volt year ever.

    Considering the gas price and plenty of competition, I would say that is a sign of success.

    However, I think Volt is bumping up against its own ceiling in terms of demand.

    Time for a larger Voltec vehicle.

    1. JyTesla3 says:

      I don’t think we will see a 3rd gen volt. There are too many choices and the tax credit will run out.

      Once the outlander PHEV arrives, it’ll kill Volt sales.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        We will see.

        I won’t be surprised to a Volt 3.0 gets converted to Cruze PHEV.

        Outlander PHEV? If I only get a dollar every time people mention that it will arrive in the US “soon”, I will be able to buy a new Model S by now.

        Pacifica PHEV will be here in the fall and it will sell just fine.

        I am willing to bet that Model 3 will come off production line before we see an Outlander PHEV.

        (Now that Nissan bought Mitsubishi, it is possible that a rebaged Outlander PHEV might arrive earlier as a Nissan model).

        1. James says:

          Mitsubishi lied about MPG in Japan and got busted. Nissan bought a controlling share as Mitsu feared going under. Outlander stays off North American shores and is long-in-the-tooth already, and old design with a facelift. I wouldn’t hold your breath on the Outlander PHEV….

          Next, you mentioned Pacifica PHEV. FCE is spenind lots of money marketing the Pacifica gas pig. Do you see them selling many of the PHEV version. FCA’s CEO can’t keep his mouth shut about how stupid EVs are, and how any company selling lots of them is stupid.

          So many people on EV sites speak of Pacifica PHEV as if FCA ( Fiat/Chrysler ) is planning a mass market approach in 50 states. Don’t hold your breath. My prediction is: Pacifica PHEV will be a rare bird with a high MSRP. If they sell 400/month I’ll be surprised.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            YOu might be right that FCA has no intention to make more Pacifica PHEV.

            But the car itself looks to be important and desirable as it is the only PHEV that actually has enough EV range and people carrying capacity to be useful.

            I think FCA will sell every copy it makes, but you are right that they might NOT make more than 400 copies per month…

  16. wavelet says:

    What’s the YTD sales for 2016?
    I know car sales are seasonal, and GM needs to ramp, but if May is typical, 2K/month is actually pretty disappointing, as it translates to 25K/year.
    With ~100K already on the roads, many of them for several years already, the Volt should have decent word-of-mouth exposure by now.

    Decent sales would be 40K-50K/year.

  17. Chris B says:

    I keep waiting for the gen 2 Volt sales to really break out, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Disappointed.

    1. JyTesla3 says:

      Yes, one of the greatest tragedy in American automotive history.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Too many GM haters among EV buyers..

  18. William says:

    I am wondering if Nissan is going to let GM pull away with Volt Sales over the summer. I am betting not, starting in mid June. Look for some Leaf door busters to go out on Leases. But, still playing a close second to the Volt will have to suffice for the 30 KWh Nissan Leaf SV & SL. The 2016 Leaf S is still like an old first gen Volt, not really updated in EV range.

  19. James says:

    2,000/mo is about where GM wants Volt. If they sold in fairly large numbers, the Bolt EV would be on life support for the tax credit.

    It’s not so hard to advertise Volt on TV. You target current Prius owners and new Prius intenders. On the road the 4th gen Prius is ugly as heck. I got a gander and those rear taillights at night and I laughed out loud!
    – It’s THAT bad!

    I see Tesla S’s and have seen one X out driving near Seattle. The gen 1 Volts are a fairly common sight – LEAFs are all over the place. I wouldn’t doubt if Seattle is LEAF’s #1 selling city. I’ve yet to see one consumer-owned gen 2 Volt on our roads.

    Cruze is out soon as a wagon ( “hatchback” ). It looks like a wagon to me. I can see Volt in the same body type, giving it much more headroom in back and an inch or so more legroom. The added storage length would be sweet too.

    GM sucks at advertising. Those consumer focus group ads are getting stale, and don’t lend themselves well as informational Volt platforms.

    GM is fine with 2.000/mo. . I laugh when I think of a gas crunch, and thousands of Volt buyers at dealers pre-ordering Volts. GM is so afraid this might happen! They know they could aggressively go after Prius owners. That would only mean they would have to sell 5,000 Volts/mo. and then they would screw the tax credit for Bolt EV.

    1. Ziv says:

      James, I think GM is at 104,700 sales/leases for the Volt/Spark EV/ELR as of now. 7 months of 3k sales on the Volt with the Spark EV selling 2500 again and the ELR closing out with 500 more sales gets GM to 128,700 by the end of 2016.
      That leaves a huge window for the Bolt to sell well with the full credit for more than a year, due to the fact that the credit ends at the end of the second quarter after the 200k’th electric car is sold. So if GM sells 200k total on or slightly after October 2nd 2017, they get the full credit until March 30th 2018. So the Bolt would have at least 15 months of the full credit plus the following 6 months of the $3750 credit.
      And GM would have record Volt sales for 2016, if they increase the Volt inventory and push the Volt mildly.

    2. Larry says:

      “GM is so afraid this might happen!”

      Is this why one local Chevy dealer outright refused to order one for me?

    3. Brian Rose says:


      Excellent point!

      The promotional material for the Bolt has been very focused on including the Federal Tax Credit. I hadn’t quite realized that the price phrasing (including the credit) is an indirect signal that GM has run the numbers and settled upon a company-wide policy that essentially controls EV/PHEV sales until the moment they see as most advantageous.

      It will be very interesting if, as the magic 200,000 number is approached, GM begins a massive marketing campaign that causes a giant leap in sales through a “buy a Volt or Bolt NOW or pay $7,500 more!

      New consumers will have a choice: buy a Tesla with no tax credit (as delivery for new sales will be after tax credit expiration) , or buy a Volt/Bolt with a $7,500 discount!

      If GM waits TOO long, then the other auto-makers will be crowding out the “get the discount” slogan, and GM would have to compete on equal footing.

      GM has a unique position – it is far enough ahead of other automakers to make a run at maximizing branding and sales between the gap that exists between Tesla losing it’s tax credit and other automakers having legitimate competition.

      It is a short 2017-2018 window, but your explanation makes me think that GM is, very intelligently, planning on owning that window.

      Then again… it is GM.

      Wouldn’t put it past them to be completely blind to their massive lead on EV/PHEVs and miss this massive opportunity to own the “not Tesla” market just before it catches fire.

    4. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “I see Tesla S’s and have seen one X out driving near Seattle. The gen 1 Volts are a fairly common sight – LEAFs are all over the place. I wouldn’t doubt if Seattle is LEAF’s #1 selling city. I’ve yet to see one consumer-owned gen 2 Volt on our roads.”

      That is typical of Seattle area… EV people up there favor BEVs or LEAF over Volt since day 1. Incentives favor BEV and people hate GM/Volt up there.

      In SF Bay Area, you can’t drive more than 1 minute on the hwy without seeing a new Volt or more than 30 seconds without seeing a Gen 1 Volt…

      That is impressive on its own since Volt no longer gets any HOV stickers. So, that is selling on its own appeals. Gas is still relatively cheap, so that is a good sign for Volt.

  20. FMinMI says:

    Went into price a 2017 here in Michigan only to find out from the dealer they are being ‘allocated’ like the Corvettes. So how do they expect to sell them if they limit how many dealers can get? This dealer has only received 2 to date…

    1. Larry says:

      The dealer that took my order made no mention of an allocation situation. Of course, there’s no evidence they have ever gotten even one in stock – which is the same situation for almost all the dealers within 75 miles of my home. I’m really curious as to how Chevrolet is going to handle my order and whether the dealer will succeed in having it scheduled.

      1. Larry says:

        Correction: According to a local dealer has a newly listed LT in stock. This is the same dealer that flat refused to place an order for me. Maybe that fills their allocation.