Chevrolet Volt Sales Drop Low In November As New Production Just Starts To Head Out

DEC 2 2014 BY JAY COLE 32

Also Attending The LA Autoshow In November Was The "Old" Chevrolet Volt - 2015 Edition

Also Attending The LA Autoshow In November Was The “Old” Chevrolet Volt – 2015 Edition

There has been a lot of distractions from the current state of Chevrolet Volt sales of late.  For this month that distraction included the next generation Volt being more fully revealed at the LA Auto Show.

On the plus side we learned that the 2016 Volt will have seating for 5 (kinda), but the L2 charging speed will be mostly be left unchanged (as we predicted) at 3.6 kW.

So onto those sales. 

For November 1,336 Volts were sold, which again is a disappointing month compared to both earlier in the year numbers and last November, when 1,920 were sold (off 30.4%).  This month’s result is the lowestfor the Volt since the doldrums (February when 1,210 were sold) of last winter.

For the year 17,315 Volts have been moved, which is off 16.4% over 2013 when 20,702 were sold, which guarantees the Volt will have back-to-back years of sales drops.

Future demand for the 2016 Volt was not the primary issue affecting the sales lag however – it was the multiple month Hamtramck assembly plant shutdown that began in August.

Production resumed in the third week of this November; however that did nothing to cure an unbalanced national Volt inventory, nor did it fill any outstanding customer orders of significance.  Inventories of the 2015 edition of the Volt thinned (for a third month in a row) by a further 1,000 units during the month.

Will sales bounce back in December?  We think so.  Can sales improve on the impressive 2,392 that GM sold in December of 2013?  Quite possibly…well maybe.

We Went To The LA Show Expecting The 2016 ELR...And Got The 2014 Instead

We Went To The LA Show Expecting The 2016 ELR…And Got The 2014 Instead

Separately this month, the Cadillac ELR sold 155 copies…although we have to note that the 2016 ELR was a big ‘no-show’ at the LA Autoshow in November.

The reason given? Apparently more “system integration issues” in regard to future autonomous functions  needed to be worked out (this despite the debut announcement only being given a couple month’s prior).

Also ELR-related from LA show, new Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen took the time to throw some cold water on the future prospects of the ELR and other plug-in technologies at Cadillac.

As for the Spark EV, sales stayed fairly low on the tiny all-electric Chevy with just 61 sold, but that did give the EV 1,014 for the year so far, making it the 13th mass produced electric vehicle in America to pass the 1,000 mark.

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32 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt Sales Drop Low In November As New Production Just Starts To Head Out"

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ziv

GM really needs to reduce the MSRP on the current Volt in a public manner. The dealers coming off the MSRP is nice but most people have no clue that you can get a Volt for $32k.
And the Gen II Volt can not come too soon.
But I am not sure that GM is building any Volts right now, or rather, that they haven’t just started building Volts this week. I have been watching Cars dot com for Volt inventory for quite a while and the Volt inventory in North America has been dropping since late August and is continuing to drop this week. The question is, how long does it take to get a Volt from the very start of the production process to the paint shack where the VIN is assigned. Because we may not see any new Volts for a week or more if that is how long it takes to go from casting the platform to the paint shack.

Nix
You would think that lowering the MSRP would be the way to go, but this doesn’t actually always work to sell more cars. GM buyers are typically what is called in the industry “Price Point” buyers. Traditionally, sales to this category of car buyers has responded more to cash incentives to increase sales instead of lower MSRP prices. Higher MSRP’s actually help this sales model more. That way they have more room to throw thousands of dollars of discounts on the hood to incentivize sales. We saw this with the Volt before. Right before they cut the price by $5-6K, Volt sales were at their highest when GM was throwing $5-6K on the hood in incentives. Sales actually slowed once they cut the price by the same amount, and stopped the huge discounts. It is counter-intuitive to car buyers who don’t fit in the “Price Point” category of car buyers, but for their market it works. It works the same way Bed Bath and Beyond sells lots of stuff by pricing everything at 10% over MSRP, and then handing out 20% off coupons like they were candy. Folks see 20% off, and ignore the higher sticker prices compared to other… Read more »
N22Tango
I believe what GM needs to do is to advertise the darned car! And I’d hit advertising hard, starting at the point of contention (Fox News) where too many people who can’t seem to “think outside of the Fox” have believed all the libelous and slander that Neil Cavuto and others have slung at the Volt. And GM needs to hit them with ads showing right-wingers (and there are many) who have bought Volts and are seeing and realizing the value and many benefits of owning one of these remarkable cars. The ad agency who produced the few TV advertisements about the Volt (years ago I might add) had idiotic commercials with space aliens, a robotic dog and a young woman Volt owner who couldn’t remember where the gas cap was located on her Volt. And if it is true in the words of GM’s guy who is in charge of marketing, “We will fish where there are fish” in regard to where they plan on advertising Volt’s in the future, sales of Volt’s will remain stagnant in the Heartland. My two Volts, “Dusty” and Dusty Too” have done so well out here in the sticks, that they easily prove… Read more »
Big Solar

Too bad they arent selling like the LEAF. They should be outselling them 2 to 1.

Stan

Yesterday I got a call from a nearby Volt dealer. “You expressed interest in the Volt previously. We have a fire sale going on, are you interested in buying one ?”
A: “no, I’m waiting for the next generation Volt”
“But we have the 2015 on the lot !”
A: “By next generation I mean the 2016 Volt”
…silence…
A: “You know, the one that’s going to be revealed at the NAIAS ?”
…silence… (20 seconds)
“We’ll keep you updated, sir”

Victor

Stan,
I got a call from my Chevy dealer about a month ago and the conversation went pretty much the same way. I’m waiting for the second generation Chevy Volt. I know I can get a great deal on the Chevy Volt that’s on a lot now, but I have 3 kids and I really need the bench seat in the back. The extra all-electric miles wouldn’t hurt either.

Jean-François

Do you think GM could take a lot of people by surprise and start to sell MY2016 (Gen II) in 1st half of 2015?

Thomas J. Thias

+1

william edwards

I know many are hoping so… why else shutdown the factory for so long? I am hoping they unveil and announce an early date for the 2016MY along with delivering a 2016MY to every dealer for test drives for orders.

ct200h

YES, I think thats exactly what they will do.

Thomas J. Thias
Thank you, Jay for this review of Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle New Vehicle November Sales Report. You wrote, “Production resumed in the third week of this November; however that did nothing to cure an unbalanced national Volt inventory, nor did it fill any outstanding customer orders of significance. Inventories of the 2015 edition of the Volt thinned (for a third month in a row) by a further 1,000 units during the month.” OPINION/ Some of us believe that the DHam shut down in August of this year, is now the official “changeover”, the traditional Automotive Industry, stateside plant retool for new fall release, that normally occurs in July/August has happened. A study of new Chevy Impalas and new Honda Accords on Auto Trader Dot Com currently available nationwide shows: 39,642 MY 2014, 2015 Chevy Impala’s Link Goes To Auto Trader Dot Com- http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/Chevrolet/Impala/Grand+Ledge+MI-48837?endYear=2015&makeCode1=CHEV&mmt=%5BCHEV%5BCHEVIMP%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&modelCode1=CHEVIMP&searchRadius=0&showcaseListingId=384140883&showcaseOwnerId=68996131&startYear=1981&Log=0 32,781 MY 2014, 2015 Honda Accord’s Link Goes To Auto Trader Dot Com- http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/Honda/Accord/Grand+Ledge+MI-48837?endYear=2015&makeCode1=HONDA&mmt=%5BHONDA%5BACCORD%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&modelCode1=ACCORD&searchRadius=0&showcaseListingId=379949098&showcaseOwnerId=67557027&startYear=1981&Log=0 — Just 2,433 My 2014, 2015 Chevy Volt EREV’s, with a few My 2013’s thrown in! Link Goes To Auto Trader Dot Com- http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/Chevrolet/Volt/Grand+Ledge+MI-48837?endYear=2015&makeCode1=CHEV&mmt=%5BCHEV%5BVOLT%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&modelCode1=VOLT&searchRadius=0&showcaseListingId=378174272&showcaseOwnerId=68996131&startYear=1981&Log=0 The Chevy Volt EREV Gen 1 is literally SOLD OUT! GM has built, thus, 100,000 Voltec Platforms… Read more »
Jay Cole

Hey Thomas,

I wish that the 2nd Gen Volt was going to be a surprise early debut and was in production now, but you would have it as an orderable vehicle now if that was the case (and it would be on their build-out sheet)…and we would have seen the bi-product of such new production from disclosures from 3rd party suppliers.

It also would be epically bad inventory management as GM build a ton of 2014s in early summer in anticipation of the extended shutdown. GM has about 5,000 Volts in inventory today(albeit regional problems throughout), almost half are 2014s still.

You can imagine what releasing a newer/better 2016 would do to those cars.

I just don’t see it…although would love, LOVE to be wrong on this one.

Bill Howland

GM, to their credit, has, with the VOLT, competed quite Politely.

Nissan ran those adds of smoke generating shavers, microwaves, and office copiers implying that such silliness extended to vehicles, by showing a Volt at a Gas Pump.

GM could have said that the avg volt goes more miles electrically than the ave Leaf, but they were too polite to mention that. They merely stated they were glad people were purchasing alternative fueled vehicles, of which the volt is an example. That’s pretty mild, and not cut-throat at all.

I find it distasteful when a manufacturer goes too much out of their way to shame the competition, when, as mentioned, the case could be made that the Volt is, overall, the greener vehicle, since it eliminates the necessity for obtaining a second car.

Josh Bryant

GM took their shots at the LEAF, even if it was a little more indirect. GM did take out a trademark on the term “Range Anxiety”. http://jalopnik.com/5626306/how-gm-will-use-fear-to-sell-you-a-chevy-volt

Their entire initial ad campaign was based on EVs running out of charge.

ModernMarvelFan

I call that BS.

The range anxiety term was derived from GM’s EV1 experience.

It has NOTHING to do with the LEAF in particular. It is just LEAF fans or BEV purists like to protect LEAF as their shining example.

The STupid ad from Nissan took a direct shot at the Volt but it failed in the real world by averaging less EV miles than the Volt.

GM never took a direct shot at the LEAF. It never mentioned LEAF’s range or its crappy battery protection system or poor IIHS crash results.

Bill Hobwland

Intersting point MMF, on that new 2016 volt sae article, they mention the existing lg chem battery cells used for the past 5 years have been incredibly long lived- and have not lost much capacity at all, even after almost 4 years. I know I can’t see any decrease in my 3 3/4 year old volt.

My tesla does have the expected battery aging, but it is not as severe as the typical Nissan as has been mentioned here by several bloggers, even those not residing in Tucson.

Nix

GM has been hit so hard by politically motivated attacks on “Gov’t Motors”, union workers, and against anything green, that they have been forced to take a very passive position in marketing the Volt.

Nissan hasn’t faced that same kind of full-frontal assault, and have been able to be more aggressive on their advertising.

Lou

Bill: I concur on the actual EV mile/usage on the Volt being higher than many LEAF owners. As you know, I had been driving a Mitsu I-MiEV, with 62 miles range. There were more than a few occasions when I was forced to drive my older ICE van becaause the “I” simply could not handle the full trip I was taking, and I could not afford to be stranded. It had no QC option, and a slow on board charger. Pretty much ruled out many trips. With the Volt, I can at least use the car for those longer tips and when it switches to the iCE generator I am getting 35-40 MPG(my old van is probably at 15 MPG(at best). Even using the ICE generator, I am driving more than 85% EV, so it has been a perfect mix for me.

Bill Howland

Hi Lou, Yeah, several posters here (it happens to me all the time also), say they just get on their street and the engine starts running. So that’s 35-40 miles. Obviously if you had an EV with that much remaining range, you couldn’t daily make your 35-40 mile trip if you were going to go dead a block before your house. So it makes sense that the VOlt battery, although smaller, is so much more fully utilized that THe volt overall is more ‘electric’ miles wise, than the Leaf.

Brian Henderson

Has availability for the Spark EV expanded beyond California and Oregon?

After all it has now been on the market for 18 months. Perhaps time to add Georgia and Washington states … the two hottest markets.

tASER54

The Spark EV will be replaced by the Sonic EV, so expanded availability is not expected until the Sonic EV platform arrives.

Tesla Fan

it says 2016 volt but looks like a honda civic

Anon

GM let too much info about an updated vehicle out into the public, hamstringing their ability to sell current units…

They could learn something from Tesla… Model S magically gets refreshed AWD and Driver Assist, while still keeping wraps on (suposedly soon to be released) Model X, and the later arriving III Series vehicles.

pjwood

You could also say Tesla didn’t get the job done, perpetuating delays, while people know GM is going to deliver.

Rob Stark

I have been waiting for GM to deliver since 2000.

ModernMarvelFan

The difference is that GM never made a claim and then failed to deliver on time.

It didn’t deliver based on your hope.

Tesla made claims but can’t deliver on time.

Anon

No. My point was: Tesla knows enough not to over-hype / drive demand up for the next model, waaaay before it’s ready to ship.

As for being ‘late’… The only time limit that actually counts, is Elon’s. So, by that definition; products are ready only when they’re actually ready. Your personal timeline does not matter.

Bill Hobwland

GM has said the new Volt will be ‘Better in every way’, or was it ‘Slightly better’?

I’m looking, but I can’t find any falsehood in that statement. Styling of course, is subjective, and people tire of that basic teardrop shape which almost all cars have these days mostly due to aerodynamics. So, on that score, you can never please everyone.

But the new volt is on track to have higher efficiency (both gas and electric operation), more all electric miles, more gas miles, more seating, more spirited performance, cheaper fuel (87 octane), lockable and longer electric charging cord,etc.

So nothing earth shattering, and no bigger charger which many here would like as an option (myself included), but all in all, it is looking to be truly better in every way, as GM has stated….

What’s wrong with that?

BC

I love my ’12 Volt and my lease is up Oct 2015 so I’m definitely hoping the Gen2 is available then!

Frank

The saddest thing, next to the lack of Volt sales which can directly be attributed to the lack of advertisement, is the cluelessness of GM as they relinquish the space shot technology edge and leave charging at a paultry 3.6 kW.

Barbara

Sales down partly due to clueless Chevy dealers who know little about the Volt.
I really wanted one. This saleslady at work has my dream car in jet black, exactly the car I wanted.
The Chevy dealers wouldn’t answer my questions, instead tried to push selling me the Cruze.
Another I asked said “it’s truck month”, tried to sell me a gas guzzling Silverado.
I bought another Honda Civic hybrid, a car with as much pep that I’m just as happy with.
For those Chevy salesmen, you blew a sale on your own.
Give a lady the car she asks for and don’t treat us like werwe’re stupid

Bill Howland

Its not just ladies who are stupidly treated. My local Gas company just collapsed the sewer to my house due to violently digging up the lawn, and they are in a round about way saying it is totally an act of coincidence, and that city water pressure can ‘sandblast’ an adjacent steel covered pipe if it freezes…

GIMME a break….. Naturally I get to pay for fixing the sewer they broke. If I had been home at the time, I wouldn’t have let them near my lawn.