Chevy Volt Was A Huge Success In Certain Areas Of U.S.

DEC 10 2018 BY MARK KANE 120

Volt was Chevrolet’s ace in some ZIP codes, which are now dominated by Tesla.

According to an interesting article about the Chevrolet Volt from the Los Angeles perspective, maybe the Volt is scheduled for its end because of its general sales result (as well low sales for its sibling the Chevrolet Cruze), but there were areas where the Volt was a huge success.

In California, GM’s market share was over the years gradually replaced by Japanese and German brands. Having the Volt brought Chevrolet back to the top of the charts in some regions in California.

“Eight years ago, two upscale areas that I know well in Los Angeles were pretty much solid German and Japanese brand enclaves. Places GM brands had been ousted from years ago.

And arguably, the first mass-market, long-range EV. Technically, it was a plug-in hybrid (with a range-extending gas engine that added another 300 miles) but for many owners it provided enough battery-only range (up to 40-45 miles) that it was a pure EV most of the time.”

“GM would not have penetrated those upscale, foreign-brand-dominated neighborhoods with any other car, save possibly the Cadillac.”

Now, the situation changes as customers are switching to the Tesla Model 3 on a mass scale in the Los Angeles area.

“Those same neighborhoods are now home to a decent number of Volts, a smattering of Bolts, and lots of Tesla Model 3s. The latter is quickly overtaking the Volt — and displacing older hybrids like the Toyota Prius.”

The answer for the future of GM in California must then be a new high-profile electric car that would be able to compete with the Tesla Model 3.

Chevrolet Volt

Source: Forbes

Categories: Chevrolet

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120 Comments on "Chevy Volt Was A Huge Success In Certain Areas Of U.S."

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Chevy Volt Was A Huge Success In Certain Areas Of U.S.

Fixed that for you.

Never really sold outside the US. Not sure if that was because it couldn’t sell outside the US, or because they didn’t try to sell it outside the US.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

They sold Gen 1 in Australia (Holden) and Europe (Opel Ampera).
They didn’t sell Gen 2 outside the USA.

The generation 2 Volt not only sold outside the U.S. but is manufactured outside of the U.S. by GM Shanghai. Sold under the Buick brand and named the Velite 5. So while axed in America, Volt lives on in China. Some said the Chinese Volt could live on and be shipped stateside as the Buick. I wonder if the margins would be higher for GM as Chinese labor is less expensive. Even so the Velite 5 isn’t rocking the Chinese auto world. The highest monthly sales numbers I can see so far are 447 sold in July 2018. The Chinese are into big back seats. GM needed another Buick hybrid to accompany the Lacrosse Hybrid already sold there. Badging it as a Buick makes sense there because it is one of China’s best selling brands and the best selling American brand by far. In having a cramped, sparce back seat, I can’t foresee success for it in China, in another, “what was GM thinking?” moment. Selling Volt here as a Buick makes much more sense than as a Chevrolet at It’s current price point. Americans think of Chevrolet as an entry level everyman brand. So why sell a $40,000 4… Read more »
Do Not Read Between The Lines

I forgot about the Velite. I kind of excluded it since it’s so made-in-China-for-China.

There was also the guy-at-gas-station commercial, that seemed designed to make people who already knew how it worked feel clever, while confusing the rest of the world.

There was nothing at all confusing about the TV “focus group” ad comparing Prius to ’90s tech. It was OK – and actually one of the better Chevy Volt commercials.

Thanks for your notes.
But Chinese bought 20,000 units of BAIC EC-Series in 2018-11 which is much smaller than Volt. So definitely there is a market for Velite, but GM does not want to sell it.
They are going to suffer as the plugin sales increase there.

So GM used Volt as some sort of scapegoat and then killed it. Horrible company.

Gen 2 was sold outside USA. There is a couple thousand of them in Canada

Also sold as Velite 5 in China.

They didn’t sell because they didn’t try, at least in KS. The dealers here actively anti-sold them. I bought mine from PA, and bought my wife one from CA. I’ve since sold mine for a Model 3. She will likely hold out for the Model Y.

Bought my 2016 Gen 2 in NC before you could officially buy it in NC as a PA dealer trade.

The Volt was / is very popular in Canada, due to its comparably low price, independence from a dense charging infrastructure and winter safety (gas backup when battery runs out). Outside of urban areas, the Volt concept still rules ! I can drive long distances to the beaches and mountains in my state on weekends without worry and commute fully electric during the week.

They didn’t even try to sell it INSIDE the US. What a shame, because it was a great car. I’d still have mine if I hadn’t gotten my Tesla.

Let’s look at historical Volt US sales data from inside EVs:

2012: number 1 PHEV, number 1 plugin.

2013: number 1 PHEV, number 1 plugin.

2014:number 1 PHEV, number 2 plugin.

2015: number 1 PHEV, number 3 plugin.

2016:number 1 PHEV, number 2 plugin.

2017: number 2 PHEV, number 5 plugin.

2018 (YTD): number 2 PHEV, number 5 plugin.

GM can read numbers and do math and see the writing on the wall. PHEVs are on the way out and BEVs are next. Time to move on.

1. The Volt was never a success in my opinion. The car was a niche product. The 1st Gen had too many compromises. GM should have launch the Volt starting with the 2nd Gen but did not have the right leadership. 2. Success should not be measured by units sold (e.g. leaderboard for niche products). For example a car company can always sell units based on price, e.g. Yugo ($4K at the time), Hyundai’s Excel ($5K at the time), etc. Separately, Tesla demonstrated people need to look at total revenues (which is a function of units sold and avg price per unit) and not just units sold because the average selling price is important. 3. A product’s success per Corporate Finance Theory should be the amount of wealth created (and resultant consumer utility / satisfaction / joy) from using said product. Think about the amount of wealth that was created by the iPhone and think about the (assuming you can find it) the wealth created by the Volt. The ROIC metric captures both revenues, costs, and capital employed which is why it is a superior metrics to units sold, total revenues, etc.

More like strategic sabotage.

I love my gen 2, but then I’m a bit weird. I can put up with the crunches width. They could have easily and cheaply added a couple inches width. The almost insurance back seats, all 2 of them. A seatbelt does not make an arm rest a seat.

The sabotage that does get me is the parts bin cheap twisted beam rear suspension. Most non-american economy cars have rear independent suspension

All car models are niche products; some niches are large (Ford F-150), some small (Rolls-Royce – any variety). The Volt has a market that no other car can rival. With a little design tweaking and a bit of educating the public, IMHO that market would be much larger. I’m keeping mine.

If only GM made the Volt Gen 2 in RHD they could the at least say they tried.
Sad to see GM go under again, will the USA tax payer bail them out again?

People here in Austin certainly bought a lot of them and virtually all of the Volt owners I talked to came from other brands. Many of those people had a very negative perception of GM prior to buying their Volts but once the Volt proved GM can make a reliable car that perception changed. Now GM just needs to follow up with PHEVs and BEVs for the most popular vehicle form factors.

I came from Honda. Now looking at the Clarity and I3Rex and Model 3 lease

I came from Honda, Toyota, and Kawasaki.

Conquest sales are only good if it grows market, adding to sales from loyal customers.

GM did not achieve that; instead, it was a flurry of pricing bargains combined with tax-credits. That’s in unsustainable approach. High-Volume profitable sales are required to compete with the true competition, other vehicles sharing the showroom floor.

The next step of integrating Volt’s tech into something like an Equinox is looking overdue.

GM had years to do this, and still nothing. Don’t hold your breath.
I expect nothing from GM.

EV1: Cancelled.
Volt: Cancelled.
Bolt? If history is our guide, soon to be cancelled.

Ev 1 GM killed it
Volt dying? or Dead
Bolt who knows
GM Factories closing 4- 5 plants
Bob Putz Retired, would like to hear from him about those plant closings and the Volt s future.

Heheh, I was reminded of the “father” of the Volt too, and his recent claim of Tesla being headed for the graveyard… He got the event right, but not the subject 😉

You guys constantly insult the man (who has a life time of huge achievement) – and now he’s gone – NOBODY likes being constantly insulted.

Now you big expert Geniuses – who besides Japan and Tesla is going to come out with any EV’s?

At least Honda has the clarity, and Toyota the PIP. You pinning your hopes on an FCA Pacifica?

People wouldn’t be so hash on Lutz if he could simply stop trying to come up every year and make a stupid statement like Tesla is going to die every time.

He should be more worried about VIA than trying to grab headlines bashing Tesla.

Aka, the insults are what is called karma.

Much of his “achievement” was riding great company to near death.

“I expect nothing from GM.

EV1: Cancelled.
Volt: Cancelled.
Bolt? If history is our guide, soon to be cancelled.”

Did you lease an EV1? No.
Did you buy a Volt? No.
Did you buy a Bolt? No.

If history is our guide, EV community is full of people who whines but never put money where their mouth is. The only thing limiting Volt sales is the fact it has a GM brand which is damaged among EV buyers.

I do. I’ve owned a 2011 new, 2012 used, and currently own a derivative 2014 ELR – all GEN 1’s. Besides the first 2017 BOLT ev in Western NY. But I fully expect GM to discontinue the BOLT ev as well – the VOLT (both GEN 1 and 2) sells VERY WELL in my area, and as others have noted it is the best selling plug-in of all time in the States – soon to be eclipsed by the M3, of which I’ve seen exactly 3 to date.

Tesla is simply too expensive for my area, but the VOLT has always been a BIG seller here.

The Impala is also a car I’m sorry to see go – I can’t believe that if they put a volt powertrain in the thing as is (or perhaps with a little larger battery), the car wouldn’t sell like hot cakes. I understand they don’t want to electrify ANY of their trucks since Mary Barra would then take a pay cut.

I’ve noted elsewhere GM is acting like Scrooge. US and Canada taxpayers give GM plenty of $MILLIONS and this is the thanks we get.

Uh, it was a damaged brand before the ev-1.
cimarron anyone?

My first car, a 1972 Datsun, rusted through at the firewall, broke in half, and the engine fell out. Luckily I had just gotten off the highway onto an arterial or the consequences might have been dire. Does that mean no one should ever buy a Nissan?

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Some people in Austin bought some.

People in Texas bought a compact car instead of a giant truck?! GASP!!!
Quick! Has anyone told GM that yet? Perhaps that could change their mind…

Austin is not really politically-representative of Texas. Austin is a university town, with left-leaning politics.

Austin is not the only city in Texas either. Plenty of people in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston drive a Volt.

So, maybe someone can help me understand this… if you are GM and build a car that suddenly gets you market in areas you didn’t have before, why not take the part people liked, the EV part, and extend it? Why not simply offer a pure EV version of the Volt along with the Bolt? Why was this too hard for GM to figure out? What stopped them?

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Demand for the sedan/sloped hatch is declining.
In China, the Buick Velite 5 is like the Volt, but the Buick Velite 6 will be a taller crossover.

GM is battery limited. The Bolt is a small-volume vehicle and earns 3 times the credits of a Volt.

All GM is doing in killing the Volt, is killing a low volume vehicle it no longer needs, allowing it to shut down a factory that it no longer needs.

It doesn’t mean that GM won’t sell another PHEV, but I really don’t see it happening. All signs point to BEV.

The Volt was a 2+2. Two adult and two small children.
It was never going to sell in large numbers with that configuration, and yet, GM did nothing.

GM are full of it. Instead of building a clown mobile Bolt tell me GM doesn’t have the resources to build Voltec Equinox with a 30 kWh Battery. Simply raise the vehicle height and fit in a half height flat battery pack of the bolt. Sell it for about the same price as a Premium bolt. Would of probably had 75 EPA miles of range. GM is so mismanaged. sad but true.

There’s no reason for many of the Volts hobbles…

Bluetooth seems to work well in other GM’s. Yet they refuse to fix mine, heck even hardline flakes out.

So I’m guessing you’ve never ridden in a 2+2 sportscar and seen what a real “+2” back seat looks like.

The Volt doesn’t seat “two adults and two small children.” The average American man is 5’9.5″ and the average American woman is 5’4″. The Volt comfortably fits four American adults of average height. The FIFTH seat is for children.

That answers the question today, but given what tech they had and how the sales where, why not an EV version back when the Bolt was released?

I hadn’t heard of the Velite, will it be closer to a “road SUV” or the smaller CUV style?

Lastly, I agree, this suggests they will sell a BEV, but surely this writing was on the wall 3 years ago. Why wait this long?

Becuase batteries are too expensive. Everyone says the magic number is $100/kWh at the pack level, where and EV can compete with ICE costs with similar specs, at the low end of the market.

GM has stated that customers do not want to pay a premium on MSRP just to get an electric drivetrain. Also that they expect to be at $100/kWh by 2020/2021.

A couple of years ago, the common wisdom was that $200/ kWh was the tipping point. Now everyone says it’s $100/ kWh.

In truth it’s neither. There’s no reason a nice round base-10 number for battery cell prices is going to be the one-and-only “tipping point”. The tipping point will come as more and more BEVs are put into production, bringing down the total cost for making BEVs — not just the battery price.

I don’t think Bolt is actually a good idea for GM. It’s losing them money, because they’re too dependent on other companies (namely LG) who are putting their fingers in the pie.

GM wants to do what’s necessary to comply with ZEV and no more.

How is this any different than Tesla being dependent on Panasonic? Tesla doesn’t build LCD displays, processors, circuit boards, etc…, They contract that work out just like GM does. Telsa does build its own motor but that’s by choice, not by necessity.

So many errors in so few words.’


Much of the powertrain and electronics engineering on the Bolt is LG’s.

Panasonic’s contribution to Tesla vehicles isn’t deep in the vehicle and electronics side—only the cells.

Tesla does build its motor by choice, because it wants to integrate very deeply with its own power electronics for maximum performance and efficiency. It’s working: for similar weight vehicles, nobody beats Tesla’s efficiency.

GM didn’t learn as much with the Bolt, whereas the Volt is more GM’s own expertise.

Actually Tesla builds their own inverters and even their own computer boards. There is even a story about their boards in the archives and how it could be the basis of a whole other line of business like tesla power.

Tesla even takes their automobile inverters and adapts them for use in their powerwall and solar lines.

It is unlikely they are losing money on the Bolt.

I agree. But neither are they making much profit. If the Bolt EV was more profitable, then GM would make more of an effort to sell it in Europe, where that body style is more popular.

I think that as a result of the disappointing sales of the Volt 1.0 (which GM really did try to promote when it was new), GM decided to minimize its R&D expenditures on the Bolt EV. That, I think, is why they farmed out the entire powertrain to LG Electronics/ LG Chem.

GM almost certainly did minimize its development costs for its first BEV, but only at the expense of sharing profits with LG and failing to develop in-house experience with building BEV powertrains.

In the long run, I doubt that’s going to serve GM well.

Sorry, but I took delivery of my 2012 Volt in October of 2011. I then swapped it out for a 2014 ELR in November 2014. I now have a 2018 Model 3 Performance. GM did no such thing that could be termed “promoting” at any moment of that time. Other than the decision to design and deliver a hybrid “bridge” car back in 2008/2009, there’s not a single thing GM didn’t screw up with the deployment and promotion of Voltec based cars. In fairness, it was deservedly killed. The time has passed for hybrids.

Because it didn’t get them enough market. Chevy has never sold more than 30,000 Volts in a year. That’s less than half the sales of most of their other models.

The poor interior space, and suspension probably cut sales in half.

Volt was designed to fail in the marketplace, but vaccume up ZEV credits while satisfying CARB mandates.

Built upon the Cruze and Equinox platform, not so hard to add a livable back seat for three, yet that would mean greenies who bought millions of Prius might actually buy one.

If demand was high, this would mean Volt would compete with their other products. Something neither Volt nor Bolt currently do. All by design folks. OEM gas car companies tippy toeing around the rules.

Just look at the nonsense we see coming from Hyundai/KIA and Honda. They outed themselves in fact showing us they can build clean, efficient cars – yet build them in tiny numbers. Anybody you know own a PHEV Ioniq? A Kona EV? I didn’t think so.

I surprised that people keep bringing this up. Is it so hard to figure out that adding a substantial battery inevitably requires major changes to car’s shape, i.e. it would no longer be a Volt?…

“What stopped them?”

The fact that they can’t make as high a profit margin off a PEV (Plug-in EV) as they can off a gasmobile. They don’t want to offer any PEV that will actually cut into their gasmobile sales. That’s why GM offered Voltec only in a tiny Chevy sedan with a cramped back seat, plus a wildly overpriced Cadillac with an even more cramped back seat. It’s also why they designed the Bolt EV with such weird styling… ensuring it would be off-putting to American buyers.

Of course that will change as more BEVs are put into mass production, and the price of making a BEV continues to fall. (I doubt the price for a PHEV will fall anywhere as fast, due to its more complex powertrain.) But GM isn’t at all interested in accelerating that process. In the EV revolution, GM is strictly a leader, never a follower.

To paraphrase an old comment from abc123: Tesla is creating market demand, whereas GM is merely responding to market demand. Therefore, GM will always be behind the curve when it comes to producing and marketing PEVs.

Merely sabotaging their offerings.

GM is definitely throwing away a very good car, but maybe they will build a Voltec crossover. They would be well served to get rid of the T battery and put the pack under the cabin, though. The slightly higher stance is a small price to pay for the increased cabin space. I have seen rumors of a Buick Enspire type BEV on the Bolt chassis, but an EREV option would be nice as well.

Maybe… Why kill the Volt before the crossover is out? Why kill the Volt at all? As I commented on twitter, in 1996 GM had one EV, the EV1 (two if we count the S10 electric pickup). Today, 22 years later, GM has… one EV, the Bolt.

Very simply they are cutting costs and the factory that the volt was being built in has killed the other cars, and gm simply wants to shut it down. They have the bolt. Competition means they either need to pour a lot more money into the volt or kill it. A crossover phev, with a 15 kwh battery, could probably do well for them, but they started on it late.

Exactly. The Volt just achieved Average Reliability on the Consumer Reports survey for 2019, and became Recommended, I believe. Poor timing to kill it.

If their tax credit is expired, their sales will plummet. So there is less incentive to keep the factory open. They need something that sells at much higher average prices, like a midsize crossover.

If they were going to build a mid-sized crossover, they should have fielded it while they still had the full tax credit.

The Buick Bolt was far more than a rumor. Built on Bolt’s platform so much smaller than an Equinox.

Consumer focus groups were shown a slightly longer Bolt with Buick grille and badging. Naturally obvious omissions in Bolt, like comfortable seats, ACC and some padding over plastic would be standard. GM even leaked concept sketches at trade shows. It was GM’s least best kept secret.

$44,000 for a small plastic fantastic Chevy seems excessive. To GM, $50,000 for a Buick version seemed plausible. Would you spend $50-60,000 for a Nissan Versa-sized FWD Buick BEV? I sure as heck wouldn’t! I don’t think the Chinese would either…

Recently, GM insiders quietly shared that the Buick version of Bolt has been shelved…Maybe indefinitely.

Probably a good thing. It sounded like ELR Part Deux to me.

In my opinion, GM needs their heads examined. They invented the skateboard chassis concept Tesla uses and yet the world passes them by as they quickly go to the back if the line in the Auto rEVolution.

The Bolt platform isn’t much bigger than the Encore, just 1.4″ more wheelbase. But an Encore look-alike on a Bolt platform would be slightly roomier, which is a good thing. It would also allow the Buick BEV to have better lines and look a bit more sporty. I think it would be a nice addition to the Buick line. And it would allow them to use another famous Buick moniker, plus it starts with the letter E, which is a big thing for Buick now.
Bring back the Electra!

I think making a very flat underfloor battery for a PHEV would be tricky with the large cells GM uses…

GM uses pouch cells. They could easily have LG Chem make them in whatever size they need to fit.

The reason GM never built a skateboard PHEV was because they didn’t want to spend the money to design and build a proper plug-in EV from the ground up, not because larger format cells are hard to fit into a skateboard design.

2011 GM rolls out the Volt. Phenomenal car, got bad press from the conservative right (fires, sucky range, etc), ZERO marketing from GM, and owners absolutely love the car. 8 years later GM has the Bolt, ZERO advertising by GM, they get rid of the Volt and go backward. Doesn’t make any sense, GM’s all over the map. Again, it goes back to the absolute inability for an ICE manufacturer to include EV’s in their stable of offerings- because they can’t directly work against their ICE model. 8 years+ later and the legacies still haven’t figured out how to skin that cat. And they aren’t gonna figure it out, because the only solution is to go down the VW path and go all-in. Because once the electric pickup truck gains traction, the fast-forward button to the Big 3’s demise will be pushed.

Whether Legacies want to admit it or not, the brutal reality is they have to choose between cannibalizing their own ICE sales or sitting around and waiting for someone else to do it. Most of them don’t see Tesla as a direct threat, since their (Tesla’s) cars sell at such high price points. (Wasn’t there a story recently about the price of the average Model 3 being $60K?)

Hyundai/Kia, the Leaf 60, and in a year or so VW will light a fire under the legacies by stealing many more sales from them than Tesla has so far. And that’s without factoring in a $35K Model 3.

I strongly suspect at least some of the Legacies are playing a timing game — get ready to build BEVs (like a 200-mile Clarity EV), but hold them back until the market forces them to act. That’s extremely dangerous, to say the least.

And once they do take the BEV plunge, expect chaos in the dealerships as some will still resist the change, others will do it and see a big drop in post-sale service revenue, etc.

I agree with you. The chaos to follow is a really good point. Dealerships can sling arrows at Tesla all they want, but when they end up eating their own they’ll find out the hard way that in the long run it’s better to be on the same page than not.

By closing factories GM and Ford are choosing to Shrink as companies and to not compete right into bankruptcy.

that is what happens when the government bails you out, there is no incentive to improve. that is why socialism alwasys fails in the end.

Don’t disagree with your concept but Ford wasn’t really bailed out. They got loans (if memory serves) just like Tesla and others.

GM is closing down product lines that cost them money, so they can invest more in EVs. They essentially are cannibalizing their ICE sales. The end of the Volt is an unfortunate collateral damage from sharing components and a factory with the Cruze.

While that is the party line, does it really make sense?

This is the reason I am so baffled by EV fans who complain about Audi and Kia and VW and the like. We have car makers who see what is happening and are moving now, and those makers will cannibalize their own sales, but they will also eat everyone who is t changings lunch. Could they have changed sooner? Sure. But they are still ahead of the market, and it will likely payoff.

Volkswagen is the only carmaker seemingly off the fence and beginning the process of transition to the EV future. That by pressure of public perception since they got caught red handed with their hands in the TDI cheating cookie jar.

On a grander scale than GM trying to improve their image after Chris Paine’s EV-1 crushing documentary, “Who Killed The Electric Car?” by introducing the Volt, Volkswagen is scrambling to prove that they are not a dishonest company who will do anything to sell dirty inferior wares.

I give VW a 50/50 chance of carrying out at least half of the grandiose promises they have been spouting out weekly in the media. Will they truly scrap half of their conventional cars for electrics? One thing is for sure, while their PR department spends It’s days now spinning stories of their EVolution, their CEO and execs claim car companies cannot survive making electric cars. Very suspect and very confusing indeed.

“…I am so baffled by EV fans who complain about Audi and Kia and VW and the like.”

If VW’s production matched its rhetoric in producing EVs, then you’d see a lot less complaining about VW / Audi. As for Kia, it isn’t even giving lip service to converting its production to making and selling plug-in EVs.

Actions speak louder than words.

How did I become James 2?

Yup, the EV revolution really is a disruptive tech revolution, and we’re finally starting to see some strong signs of that approaching disruption: GM closing auto assembly plants.

Naysayers are saying “No, that’s because sedan sales are falling, not because EV sales are growing.” But they’re wrong. If it was merely that sedan sales are falling, GM would simply shift production to other types of gasmobiles. No, GM is closing plants because it can see the handwriting on the wall: The rapidly accelerating pace of EV sales will soon be matched by rapidly shrinking sales of gasmobiles.

GM also chose to price the Volt just over $40k, which was a penny wise, pound foolish move as well. MSRP of the base Volt was $40,280, if memory serves. And the people that hated the Volt without having driven it were prone to slamming it with statements like, “It costs over $40,000 and doesn’t even have power seats!” And they were right. Pricing the base 2011 Volt at $39,990 would have cost GM less than $2,000,000 and it would have denied the haters one of the clubs they used to beat on the Volt with.

When I bought my 2017 Volt, a very good car, it was the cheaper model but really well equipped, good driving characteristics and a real average electric only range of mid 50s mi. The on board ice then provided an average of about 350 additional miles. Most of our daily driving, as is typical, is much less than 50mi so I rarely visit a gas station and with our solar system it’s even better. The sticker price on our Volt was $34k and change, The mega dealer in ID sold it to us for $30.5k, I didn’t even try to bargain further. After the $7500 tax credit we had a great car for $23K, doesn’t get any better than that.

Not to disagree with the overall thrust of your arguments, but GM certainly did promote the Volt when it was new, even buying one or two Superbowl commercials to advertise the car.

Lack of advertising came only after it became clear that Volt sales were considerably lower than GM anticipated.

Instead of leveraging the excellent reputation of the Voltec drivetrain, GM decided to start from scratch on a BEV to compete directly against the Volt. And rush it out to “beat Tesla to market”.

The obvious next step was a game changing Voltec SUV (which GM has been deliberately avoiding for years). Absent of any competition, they chose to defend profit margins on the existing SUVs. A Caddy XT5 with Voltec would have been huge success and brought buyers GM wanted back to Cadillac.

But remember, 2018 was the year CARB requirements stepped way up. Gotta bank those credits and no better way to do it than a 200+ mile BEV with quick charging. Well FCEV would have done it, but even GM has given up on that at this point.

A Voltec SUV would be tough to do without changing the pack from a T shape to one that is located under the cabin. I wonder if they could build a 1/3 version of the Bolt pack? A 20-22 kWh pack would be a nice size for a CUV.

Making plug-in EVs based on a skateboard design is something GM will have to do sooner or later. Why didn’t they make it sooner? Delaying the inevitable will just make it harder for them to catch up with the EV competition when they finally decide they need to.

The Bolt and Volt share some components. The Volt, Spark EV and Bolt EV are just evolutions of each other just like the follow-on to the Bolt EV. These things aren’t designed in a vacuum.

Josh nails it, GM has already proved that it never meant the Volt to be really anything more then a way to get its CARB compliance credits. Now that the Bolt EV does this for them they are killing off the Volt and with both cars, GM was never interested in selling anymore then necessary to get their credits. In other words, both the Volt and Bolt EV (and I have both) programs were largely backwards-looking compliance plays and at no point has GM ever seen fit to leverage the technology to expand the EV market or they would have moved their class-leading Voltec system into SUVS and at least light trucks years ago. The best they did was product improve the Volt’s range/mileage in the 2nd generation and even there they refused to make the back seat bigger in headroom/legroom so as to keep it a compact car with limited usability and likewise only recently raised charging rate as an option while the Honda Clarity PHEV kills the Volt in these important metrics. So in other words, GM has absolutely SQUANDRED their opportunity to be the leader in electrification and are instead following FORD/Chrysler into oblivion as a primarily… Read more »

They are still going to produce the Velite 6 PHEV for China.

How nice for the Chinese. Too bad GM won’t be exporting that to the USA. 🙁

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The referenced article is a “contribution” with no numbers to back up the statements.
So here’s my unsubstantiated opinion: it wasn’t a huge success at all, and the author (an owner) was just trying to cash in on all the stupid hand-wringing that’s come from GM announcing the factory closures.

I think the Volt was a success, but we have to measure success. What GM considers successful and what we as outsiders consider successful could be two very different things. Did the Volt sell well – sure. It outsold all others in the US sans model 3 in the not too distant future. Would GM liked to have sold more – sure. At the same time, they have learned a lot at EV’s, component durability, reliability, performance, etc…

Do Not Read Between The Lines

You have a very strange definition of “well”.

You have a very warped view of reality.

Toyota “learned a lot” from the prius and yet 20 years on, NO Prius Pickup.
GM will NEVER just Volt tech in any other product, because their PAID Not To.

“Did the Volt sell well – sure.”

You have to define your parameters pretty narrowly to get to a place where you can honestly say the Volt “sold well”.

You have to ignore the entire world outside the USA, and you have to ignore the 98-99% of the new car market that is ICEVs.

The Volt sold in the low numbers GM wanted it to sell in.
1) The capacity was only 30,000 anyway.
2) It was only needed for CARB credits.
It did just and only that job.
GM in no way had any intention of moving the Volt design into other products.

Look at Toyota with the Prius, the proven hybrid concept is 20 years old and STILL NO HYBRID Pickup Truck. Oil Bribery Money at the Top Levels of the Auto Industry.

Don’t we have Monopoly Laws in this country? And Business Conspiracy Laws?

I don’t know how much that is true, at least in my one little anecdote. Our office in LA has maybe 20 Volts in the parking lot each day, and one lonely TM3. Sure I see lots of TM3s on the road, but for whatever reason they have not shown up on our parking lot. From talking to the EV drivers in our office, those who aspire to a Telsa would want a MS, not a TM3.

You’re the exception, not the norm.

Maybe the fact that our employer provides free L2 charging is the reason. Most people here can commute with a Volt and not pay anything for fuel OR electricity because of that. You can’t find a much cheaper way to get back and forth than that.

Thanks for that great example of why anecdotal evidence is often or usually quite misleading.

Now, the Tesla Model 3 is dominating in those some locales. [From the intro after the headline]

GM as always has no clue what they are doing. The Volt was indeed their gateway vehicle to bring customers back. Then the totally screwed the pooch with the terribly over priced badge engineered ELR. Then they failed to put the Voltec powertain in a CUV or SUV…you know the hottest selling segment ? Then they failed to introduce a true Tesla competitor in a Cadillac trim where people are much more willing to pay a premium. The volumes would have been low, but that would have provided another beachhead to bring buyers back to the brand.

I never would have imagined myself in a GM product again, but here i am loving my 2017 Volt. GM has nothing for me to aspire to, so now i am going to get a Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor.

GM should have created a separate brand for their EREVs,and EVs. Why didn’t they choose “Volt” as the brand name instead of the lame Chevrolet brand ? The regular Chevy buyers visits the dealer to buy trucks, big SUVs or rock bottom priced cars, not aspirational EVs.

Kinda off-topic: but I always considered the Trabant a perfect candidate for EV conversion… The original power train is extra crappy and stinky — but that composite body is for eternity 🙂

Trabant? Only an East German could Love that car – Yuch! hehehe. It made the YUGO look good.

Put some golf-cart electrics in the thing – at least then the car would be reliable.

I own a gen1 Volt.Driving it is a blast with it’s great handling and acceleration.There is not much of anything I would change about it.What I don’t get is all the hype about pure electric vehicles.What is so exciting about range anxiety and inconvenience?I mean even if one has a great range of let’s say 200 miles,isn’t the driver going to stare at the battery gauge constantly while thinking about how far they can go and where to recharge before being stranded?Sorry,but as an owner,I believe GM got the Volt right.I would never buy a pure EV

It’s great that you’re enjoying your Volt! And if more people shared your experience, then GM wouldn’t be killing off the model. Sadly, you seem to be an outlier.

Right you are louie – But don’t worry – as soon as the expiry of the Tax Credit – GM will discontinue the BOLT ev since other companies will get the credit and GM won’t so the car won’t sell.

Never. I wonder what you will buy when your car dies?
Great handling and acceleration – define great….. The gen-1 was 9.2 sec 0-60 but really good 0-40. You might find that adequate but great is probably not the best word. Handling – a rear twist axle and a FWD car. Very few would describe that as great. Sure the COG was low and it was reasonably sprung – but great is not the best word again.
Try driving a Model 3. Then you can use the word great appropriately.

You must be a blast at parties.

I avoided Chevy for 30 years before I bought my Volt, it’s the best car that GM has ever built. Unfortunately the Volt was in the wrong factory, combine that with GMs loss of the tax credit and you can see why they killed it, it’s going to be really hard to sell Volts against the Clarity when Honda gets the full $7500 and Chevy doesn’t.

I’ll probably stick with the Volt for another year or two until a BEV that meets my needs comes along, the Model 3 would do it except that it doesn’t have Sirius or Android Auto, the VW group is looking promising, hope GM comes up with something decent but I’m guessing they won’t have any sedans and I’ll never ever buy an SUV or a truck.

“GM would not have penetrated those upscale, foreign-brand-dominated neighborhoods with any other car, save possibly the Cadillac.”

Oh feldercarb, and also smeg. GM could have penetrated all neighborhoods with Voltec cars better, including those upscale neighborhoods, if it had offered Voltec drive in a variety of cars of different sizes and shapes… not just restricting it to one Cruze-based PHEV with a cramped back seat and an overpriced Cadillac with an even more cramped back seat.

The Volt hasn’t been cancelled because Voltec was a failure. It was cancelled because GM doesn’t want to make compelling plug-in EVs which will actually compete with their gasmobiles.

I can’t blame GM for being very pissy about how the Fed tax credit thing is playing out. Closing and discontinued could be their way of saying FINE! Was probably just for carb credits anyway and gives a good opportunity to get rid of expensive auto workers, bargain or bail with Trump, and continue status quo ICEV.

I hope GM reconsiders their decision on Volt and transfers its production to some other plant.

There will always be a warm place in my heart for my 2 Gen1 Volts. It was an incredibly solid car, from a company that doesn’t normally make incredibly solid cars. I knew that if I ever wrecked it, it would save my life. It gave me my first taste of smooth electric driving, and I HATED hearing that horrible gas motor crank up. So thank you Chevy, thanks for being an electric trailblazer. And please, please give me that ridiculous electric Camaro now. Thanks.

How did I become James 2 when I’ve been commenting and contributing on this site since day 1?

I would think the James that came later should be James 2….


I feel like my identity has been stolen. I have a post earlier in the thread with “James”, as my name.

Utterly confusing.

I am the one with lolsmileyface as my email address.

Successful Or Not ! As Always Anything That Doesn’t Suite the inner Corporate Agenda Is Ceased 0r Discontinued … Ie: EV 1 ……. ~ 🙁 ~