Chevrolet Volt Sets All-Time Monthly Record For Sales In August

SEP 4 2013 BY JAY COLE 38

How Did Consumers Like A $5,000 Price Drop On The Volt?  We'd Say They Cared For It A Great Deal

How Did Consumers Like A $5,000 Price Drop On The Volt? We’d Say They Cared For It A Great Deal

As foreshadowed by GM North America President Mark Reuss, the Chevrolet Volt beat its best result, set last October (2,961) this month.

2014 Chevrolet Volt In New Brownstone Metallic Color (we aren't fans)

2014 Chevrolet Volt In New Brownstone Metallic Color (…would not be our first choice to be sure)

In fact, it set the all-time monthly record for plug-in sales of any car with 3,351 sold in August, which was an increase of 18.4% over August of 2012 when 2,831 Volts were sold.

What was the secret sauce that lead to this extraordinary result?  There wasn’t any – just a good old fashioned price drop of $5,000, which pegs the 2014 model year Volt at $34,995 (details here) – meaning the Chevy is finally “comfortably under $30,000” with the federal credit applied at $27,495.

For the year Chevy has now sold 14,994 extended range plug-ins, versus 13,397 in 2012 – up 11.1%

The new “top 10” looks like this:

  1. Chevrolet Volt – 3,351 (Aug – 2013)
  2. Chevrolet Volt –  2,961 (Oct – 2012)
  3. Chevrolet Volt – 2,851 (Sept – 2012)
  4. Chevrolet Volt – 2,831 (Aug – 2012)
  5. Chevrolet Volt – 2,698 (June – 2013)
  6. Chevrolet Volt – 2,633 (Dec – 2012)
  7. Nissan LEAF – 2,420 (Aug – 2013)
  8. Tesla Model S – 2,300* (Mar – 2013)
  9. Chevrolet Volt – 2,289 (Mar  – 2012)
  10. Nissan LEAF – 2,236 (Mar – 2013)
Cadillac ELR Production Will Begin Alongside The Volt In Late Fall AT GM's Hamtramck, MI Facility

Cadillac ELR Production Will Begin Alongside The Volt In Late Fall AT GM’s Hamtramck, MI Facility

Of the Chevy Volt’s record setting August, the bulk of the sales still came from 2013 models (heavily discounted to compete with the new 2014 pricing) as near 3,000 units sold were last year’s model.

As predicted, 2014 MY production began in mid-July, and the fruits of that labor began to show in late August as GM managed to pump up local dealer inventories to almost 1,200 units.

General Motors likely will continue to produce the Volt an a accelerated rate in Michigan as the company as averaged about 7,000 units in stock over the past 12 months – and still has to stall Volt production somewhat to begin producing the limited-run Cadillac ELR sometime around November.  The ELR is scheduled to arrive in customer’s driveways in “early 2014.”

Just of interest (because we love lists), here are the “top 10” single selling month’s by brand in the US:

  1. Chevrolet Volt – 3,351 (Aug – 2013)
  2. Nissan LEAF – 2,420 (Aug -2013)
  3. Tesla Model S – 2,300* (Mar -2013)
  4. Toyota Prius PHEV – 1,889 (Oct – 2012)
  5. Ford C-Max Energi – 1,259 (Nov – 2012)
  6. Ford Fusion Energi – 416 (May – 2013)
  7. Mitsubishi I-MiEV – 337 (Mar – 2013)
  8. Honda Fit EV – 208 (Jun – 2013)
  9. Ford Focus Electric – 180 (Mar – 2013)
  10. Fiat 500e – 160* (July – 2013)

Update of randomness:  Just spoke to a Chevy rep and updated our Monthly Scorecard product update to reflect Spark EV sales numbers for August (which GM does not split out over the gas Spark in their official press releases) – 102 for August

Categories: Chevrolet, Sales

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38 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt Sets All-Time Monthly Record For Sales In August"

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GeorgeS

Yeh but I have heard that it now costs MORE to lease a 2014 chevy Volt.

What’s that going to do to sales?

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

The lease price is going up by $30/mo. So, $1,080 more over a 36 month lease. Nothing like the tax credit disappearing, but could push some away at the bottom end. However, with the MSRP drop also cut sales tax, excise and insurance(?), they should get some potential lessees shifted to sales and increase sales nationally.

KenZ

We looked at leasing a 2013 this weekend, but all the low trim models were gone in our area, so we went with a 2014. But yeah, we were a bit irritated as had be been three days earlier, we would have saved some cash. I mean, it’s just a lease vehicle!

Spec

Well done GM!

If they can redesign so they have a 5th seat, they should be able to sell even more.

Assaf

Awesome. Let all those “GM is desperate with the Volt” idiots eat their hats.

Even better news is that they are cranking out Volts at increased capacity now, rather than stalling them as happened in the past.

Ziv

A nice result for GM. If they had dropped the price by that much and not gotten a record people would have been lining up to bash them. As it is, the 2013MY Volts are disappearing fast. I think Autotrader has 3244 2013’s, that is down from over 5000 just a month ago. And the number of 2014MY Volts is climbing pretty slowly, as they get bought almost as soon as they get built. They have 941 2014’s listed and they have been building since mid or early-August, I believe.
Too bad GM is getting paranoid about their production numbers, they stopped publishing them a couple months ago.

Spec

The Chevy Volt deserves more press coverage and I hope they get it. The Tesla Model S seems to get all the coverage but the Chevy Volt is handily outselling the Tesla Model S.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

The Model S may get more press because:
a) It’s a more im_press_ive vehicle to drive. (According to drivers).
b) It’s part of the Tesla story, which is far more interesting than the GM story.

You may find that really it’s Tesla getting more press.

Spec

Oh I understand why they get more press but it has become ridiculous. Every tiny little thing from Tesla gets a flurry of stories while everyone else is completely ignored. It creates a misperception. The Tesla is NOT the biggest selling plug-in car. Teslas make up probably less than 1/4 of plug-in sales.

Dan Frederiksen
It’s the only one that’s even a little interesting. It looks good, it moves fast, it goes far and it charges quickly and has an emerging fast charge infrastructure. Do you know what the others have? **** The Leaf is ugly and slow. The Volt is boring looking and slow. The prius is lame and boring. You see a pattern? There is a sense of revolution attached to Tesla Motors. The others have the stench of corporate soul death on them. Fine for the hardcore treehugger but not inspiring. BMW i3 might get a bit of play, they have some excitement but it might not be enough to distract from Tesla. It’s not fast and its appearance is not loved by all. Tesla have had an almost magical sequence of events that kept them in the press every single week. One could suspect masterful PR work but I don’t think that’s anywhere near true. It seems more like divine providence. It succeeds despite every obstacle. Even bad press like the Broder incident made them even more famous and the fanboys even more excited. TM has sort of become synonymous with the electric car revolution, they were first in that they… Read more »
ClarksonCote

I would say that most people find the Volt attractive, and most people also find the Volt and Leaf very quick and sporty. While they won’t smoke a sports car, they certainly are in a different class of acceleration and performance than a typical hybrid like the Prius.

Ocean Railroader

The volt and Nissan leaf don’t look to bad I think the bulk of the wow factor with Tesla is the range and the superchargers.

David Murray

I wouldn’t say that it “doesn’t cost anything to make a racer.” I mean, you need a more powerful battery (not capacity, but higher power rating) and a bigger electric motor, bigger inverter, etc. It DOES cost more money to make it faster. On the other hand, there is not much penalty in efficiency like there is in a gasoline car.

I think the biggest problem Nissan and GM have had is that from the beginning the believed the market was treehuggers. I think now they’re beginning to understand the diverse market that is interested in these cars. I’m willing to bet the next generation of EVs will all be a little faster on the 0-60.

J Peterson
Good points David. However, I think that if GM and Nissan want to attract a greater diversity of buyers the 1st priority will be price, and the 2nd priority will need adding a model with a third row seat. Oh, and it has to be forward facing to work with child safety seats. 0-60 times might get the people who read & talk about cars often and care enough to post on boards like these really excited. However, they don’t do much for TCO comparisons or sales volume though. Its all relative, and when there is a post like Dan Frederiksen saying ‘X is slow’ without more context it leaves me wondering what thinks he is comparing X and Y to. Is it a logical competitor, meaning it is in the same price range? Or is it something that has no business being compared? Volt is faster than a Prius. It feels faster than its 8.5 second 0-60 time. It handles better than the Prius too. Yet, a lot more people buy the Prius than all of these EV’s combined. I think it would be smart to go after the Prius segment — making a nice dent there could mean… Read more »
TSLA

volt is more than half the price

KenZ
Jay, do you have any insight or even pure speculation into what GM loses (or makes) on every Volt? Given the legend that Toyota lost money on every Prius for the first several years, a bet that clearly paid off, obviously a car company such as GM has accepted that a car may not be profitable for a while. But if that’s still the case, I’d think GM would simply cap the number of Volts at, say, 2,000/month and NOT have dropped the price by $5k. 2,000 Volts/month is still a lot of EVs, enough to satisfy the die hard enthusiasts, enough to seed the country, and enough to get a massive amount of customer usage and system performance data without losing an ever increasing amount of money on increased sales quantities. Thus, one could speculate that their willingness to drop the price by $5k means that they’re no longer losing money on every car sold/leased? The counter to that is that maybe they’re losing money on every car, but that’s offset by the value of the EV compliance credits or whatever they’re called, thus increasing sales is still worthwhile to GM, even if the Volt itself is losing money… Read more »

Jay hit the nail on the head. Too often people confuse the arguments of Chevy not making money on the Volt. They absolutely sell it for more than the labor and materials that go into it. So every Volt sold goes towards paying off the investment. Only GM and their accountants know where the crossover point for the Volt program will happen. The ELR is an obvious attempt to speed up that timetable.

As far as credits, the Volt does not receive the California ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) credits that have been heavily discussed with regards to Tesla (and their profitability). Are there federal credits that the Volt qualifies for?

pjkPA

I own a Volt bought in Dec 2012…. I can see why sales keep going up.
I have not been to a gas station since I bought the Volt.
I have been back to the dealer once to have the tires rotated in 8 months and 6000 hard city miles. The ride of the Volt is like no other car I’ve ever driven… even better than the EV1 I rented in 1999.

I’m getting over 1,000mpg in addition to spending $4 to $5 per week for electricity.
The Volt is costing me about 2 cents per mile to fuel… plus much less maintenance than any car I’ve owned in 40 years.

The Volt costs $80,000 because of unfair trade in Japan Germany UK and Korea while we give them $7500 for each electric car they dump in the US.

The Volt is performing much better than expected for me… the best car I’ve ever owned in 40 years of buying cars.
The ride is smooth quiet powerful and relaxing.. the no shifting is so effortless when you get back into a ICE car the shifting and noises are annoying.

Martin T

Agree, has the performance of a V6, very nimble responsive to drive.
Best car so far. Makes ICE cars so Vintage.

Others talking waffle either have not driven a VOLT or do not own a VOLT
or
are retarded into somehow thinking GM should have given them a Tesla sports car for a sub compact price 😉