Did The Next Generation Of The Chevrolet Volt Just Get Pushed Back A Year? Looks Like It

JUL 19 2013 BY JAY COLE 46

It Now Appears We Will Be Seeing Another Model Year Added To The Volt's First Generation Offering

It Now Appears We Will Be Seeing Another Model Year Added To The Volt’s First Generation Offering

Sometimes, what is good for the Chevrolet Cruze is not good for the Chevrolet Volt.

About three months ago, we heard (via a Canadian Union that represents an auto parts maker) that the all-new Chevy Cruze would not be released in 2014 as a 2015 model as originally scheduled.

Now comes word through Reuters that future Cruze production will not start until December 2015 – that is about a 15-month delayGiven the Volt and Cruze are inseparably linked, that is probably not a good thing for those of us patiently waiting to see what GM has it store for its ground-breaking extended range car.

So, why the delay for the Cruze?

It is a fairly simple answer – Chevy doesn’t want to mess with what is working, or rather – selling…and the Cruze if definitely selling.  General Motor’s made that mistake with the Malibu to some truly horrendous results.  /lesson learned

Thanks To Current Strong Sales, The 'Next' Chevrolet Cruze Has Been Delayed

Thanks To Current Strong Sales, The ‘Next’ Chevrolet Cruze Has Been Delayed

Chevrolet Cruze/Gen 2 Volt Backstory

The Chevy Cruze was born during the throws of GM’s bankruptcy, and at the time the Cruze was widely panned as coming to market late in the game, with both dated technology and engine choices – not equipped to meet the challenges of new foreign rivals.

Therefore, in preparation of this possible failure,  as soon as GM was solidly on its feet after bankruptcy, Job 1 was to overhaul the current Delta II platform that underpins the Cruze and the Chevrolet Volt.

To that end, the new D2XX or D2UX (as it is known in the US) – a new global platform, was rushed into development, and bring about the new Cruze’s arrival, along with the 2nd generation Chevy Volt, which would likely be introduced a model year later.

But it didn’t work out that way. 

Instead of customers slowly gravitating away from the Cruze as new competition came to market, the American consumer became more and more enamored with the Chevy.  It simply was the ‘liveable‘ entry car of choice.

So much so, that last month only the Toyota Camry sold more copies than the Cruze in the US (35,780 vs 32,871).  If you add sales from the über re-skinned Cruze, also known as the Verano, with another 4,489 high margin copies (to those young, mid 50 year-old, Buick customers), and it was America’s best selling car.

Averaging About 4,000 Sales Per Month The Buick Cruze (Verano) Is A Cash Cow For GM With A Starting MSRP Of $23,080

Averaging About 4,000 Sales Per Month The Buick Cruze (Verano) Is A Cash Cow For GM With A Starting MSRP Of $23,080

Momentum?  The Cruze has that too.  The compact Chevy is up a staggering 73% this year.  The Toyota Camry?  Off by 3%.

(Statistical confession moment:  the Cruze does not normally sell in the volume it did in June – a reportedly massive fleet order did goose the monthly number…but it still sells far above early expectations on a month basis)

Outlook/Gen II Volt/Voltec SUV

This delay will allow GM to gain at least another 18 months of strong, high profit sales at the tail end of a product cycle on the Cruze/Verano – a rarity in the auto business.

A Chevrolet Volt Delay Also Means A Delay In The Expected Arrival Of A Voltec SUV

A Volt Delay Would Also Likely Mean A Delay To The Voltec SUV, Which Was Reported By Morgan Stanly  To Be Arriving in 2015

Unfortunately, as both the next generation Chevrolet Volt, and long planned Voltec MPV5/CrossVolt SUV (which the D2XX would have enabled) will make the jump to this ‘platform,’ (as well as share in the new componentry with GM’s other new products going on this global base), this delay also likely means the anticipated release date of fall of 2015 for the 2016 (model year) Gen 2 Volt will have likely slipped to at least the fall of 2016 as a 2017 model.

When asked about the reported timeline changes, a GM spokesperson declined to comment on any future product plans.

In the end, GM could decide to still continue the development of the Volt on the new platform in their Hamtramck facility (where the Volt is made today) exclusive of the Cruze, but that seems highly unlikely.   What is more likely is that we are seeing the case of the success of one car in a auto-maker’s lineup hurting another.

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46 Comments on "Did The Next Generation Of The Chevrolet Volt Just Get Pushed Back A Year? Looks Like It"

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Wow Jay. If this is true it is truly disappointing news.

However, nothing is preventing Chevy from implementing things like battery improvements into the existing Volt BEFORE Gen 2. I’m not sure about the RE though. I’d like to see them move to a 3 cyl before fall 2016 (Gen 2).

Yes, just because the “car” part is somewhat frozen, doesn’t mean the EV part is. Not a big deal to me, as I bought my Volt, so I can sell/trade-in whenever. I’m actually more looking forward towards a purpose built EV than Volt 2.0, but not sure what’s going to happen first. (probably Volt 2.0)

If the Volt 2.0 and Tesla Gen III come out within 6 months of each other, which one would you buy?

The A3 eTron o_O

Oh! Wait…

Production of that will have started and stopped (twice), by the time these hit the road. 🙂

If they cost the same (even after all the Tesla upcharges), and the Tesla Gen3 gets 200 miles of AER, I’d get the Tesla.

BUT, if GM increases the Volt’s AER so that I can get more than 24 miles in the winter, I may get the Volt 2.0.

I bet the Tesla will be $10k more than the Gen II Volt out the door. $45k vs. $35k would be my guess.

200 mile range w/ supercharging on the Gen III, will likely have higher performance (0-60 6.0 – 6.5 seconds), and have more storage space (frunk + trunk). Is it worth the extra 10k?

Comparing against a Volt 2.0 with 50 – 60 miles AER (EPA), seating for 5 and roughly the same performance 0 – 60.

Those #’s would make it tough. I’d almost do the $10K more, just to not have to mess with an ICE and to be able to say I’m driving a 100% EV.

I’d still go with Elon than you. Elon says $35k for Gen3.

Hmmm…this is putting the Gen 2 Volt out right about the same time frame as the Tesla Blue Star / Gen 3. GM might be missing out on some sales before Tesla release the Gen 3. I wonder if this has anything to do with the new GM special task force that is “studying Tesla” that we have read about?

Uh, no. While there is a distant cousin-like relationship between Volt & Cruze in a broader sense, the delay of the Cruze won’t impact the Volt 2.0. Expect an announcement relatively early in 2014 and production around July 2014 as a 2015 model.

They are not distant, there is a huge parts crossover between the two ex-powertrain. If GM is not sourcing any of the parts for the Cruze for an additional year +, those parts are also not available for the Volt

“It was disappointing to hear that the Chevy Cruze program has been pushed back a year and will not start until 2015,” CAW Local 4451 Chairwoman Karen Fleming said in a newsletter issued in April. The union represents hourly workers at a Cooper Standard Automotive plant that makes rubber seals and trim parts – Reuters

Now, if you are of the opinion that GM has changed its mind and will not be using the Du22 (which is going to underpin a ton of new offerings from GM – Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, etc), and they will build a unique platform, and build the new gen 2 Volt from the ground-up, then that is another thing.

On the flipside, a whole new project from scratch is going to a heck of a lot longer than 10 months to go from nothing into production. What we could see is updates/adjustments/reskinning based on the current Delta II platform and touted as next gen.

Yeah, you’ve got to think GM will come up with a way to introduce the new platform on the Volt a model year before the Cruze or move the Volt to its own platform for Gen 2.

Just can’t see the current Volt soldiering it out until late 2016.

With current sales so dismal it required several jump starts, discounts and incentives
( dealer and consumer ) this news could give GM beancounters the added
ammunition to shelve the Volt.

Local Chevy lots are piling up with Volts, yet I rarely see one on the road.
Around here, LEAF is king, followed by many Model S sightings, Volt taking
a distant third.

My Volt lease will be up before then, so this puts a mighty kink into my plans.
No way would I buy a bargain Volt – only if the next gen has lowered capability
or is just plain ugleeee ( both possibilities for sure ).

Let’s hope this will be a rare occasion where Volt precedes it’s more popular stable-mate. I’ve got to say – I have had this impending doom feeling that GM intends to decontent Volt for gen2. Now it could be that Volt V.2.0 never flies. Here’s my logic. ELR was supposed to be Volt V1.5. How could gen2 Volt outshine ELR in performance, seating and capability for a greatly lesser price? After all, Cadillac is GM’s flagship brand. No amount of leather and regen paddle shifters can make up for an everyman-brand Chevy Volt that makes ELR look like yesterday’s underwear. This all makes me believe GM hasn’t shared much about Volt V2.0 except weight reduction and reduced cost for more than not sharing trade secrets.. Me thinks we may see Volt become a 20 mile AER, 3 capacity rear seat Fusion Energi fighter. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Ford and Toyota play catch up rather than GM play down the Volt due to the large price of lithium cells and negative profitability of the current version? Face it – GM is going to lose it up the yang with Volt V1.0. Like Prius – those initial losses could eventually… Read more »

We once did a class project on interviewing 60 people about EV’s and oddly the Honda Fit came in first the Tesla Generation three came in second and Nissan Leaf came in third and the Chevy volt came in last out of four cars.

I don’t know where you get your figures but they don’t make much sense. The Volt was ahead of the Leaf in sales through June of this year, and in July the Leaf outsold the Volt by only 76 cars and this was due to the $6,400 price drop of the leaf. The Volt has taken off well in August coming up with a $5000 rebate and I’m sure you’ll see diferent results in August. I sell cars for a Chevy dealer (and I also lease a Volt which I love) and we have now taken 3 Leafs in trade on a Volt all for the same reason – battery anxiety! As one man said “I couldn’t keep driving a car where I couldn’t go more than 35 miles from my home, as I usually only got 70 miles on a charge”. The Volt is the only car of the entire cast of electrics out there with a gas generator backup, and without that i would not have leased a Volt. By the way I get 40 to 45 miles on a charge (55 was my record), and living only 7 miles from work charge it every other day. I… Read more »

I agree with George! If GM can’t bring us a 2nd gen cruze for 2015, maybe they could at least give us some improvements to the battery and drivetrain. I doubt the ICE, battery, or control electronics are inseparably linked to the platform.

Mitsubishi has to be jumping for joy right now. Their Outlander Plug-in will have no range extended competition for years (might have some competition from Model X on the high end).

This could be a real mistake on GMs part. They may be squandering the lead they currently have. That would put the Volt at 6 years with basically no improvement (3 miles of range) or even refresh on styling.

Given they don’t share a plant, not clear why people say the volt and cruze are that tightly tied. They share some part, but not enough that its critical they move to production at the same time. Even if going into production in Dec 2015, the core designs are likely very complete and in testing.. so they are already rather decoupled. The only coupling would be costing for shared parts, or market perception.

This gives ELR another couple years to sell it’s miserable 4-5,000 units
per year*. OH BOY!

This also would allow the 2nd gen Volt to NOT OVERSHADOW it’s much
more expensive and impractical EREV brother.

*If they’re lucky.

My understanding is the ELR is a one time run. I am guessing 2k-5k total. If it sells like hotcakes I am sure they will bring it back for another year, but for now it is more like a limited edition.

While the delay of the Cruze could cause some delay in the next gen Volt I don’t see why it will be a full year.

The Gen II Volt was supposed to launch about 1 year after the Cruze. A 15 month delay for the Cruze might only mean a 3 month delay on the Volt program and they might launch at the same time? Or the Volt might even launch a few months ahead of the Cruze?

I would like to add the platform designations are not correct in the article.

The D2XX platform is a general designator. US models will be under the D2UX (SERIES of platforms). Example (I don’t know the specific platform designations) Cruze could be D2U2, Volt might be D2UV and Equinox could be D2UC. They will be under the same platform family but have different variations of the platform specific to vehicle type.

Another example. GM has a few variations of the Epsilon II platform (SWB, LWB, ULWB, TE)

SWB- Regal, Malibu
LWB – Lacrosse
ULWB – Impala, XTS
TE – SRX

Sorry that is my bad, I reference the D2UX as Du22…so many letters.

(I’m just going to go with D2XX now rather than referencing both the US and Euro designators separately…might get a little confusing for the casual reader)

/fixed, thanks Nero

I don’t know…I see certainly see the logic in what you’re saying Jay, but I’m not sure it is a certainty that the Volt must absolutely follow a large period of time after the introduction of the new Cruze. It sounds like the tough parts of development of the new D2UX platform (which will sit under several cars in the GM fold as you mentioned), are done or near done as we speak. Look no further than the spy photos of Cruze mules driving around. My guess is design and engineering have been pretty much frozen for both the new Cruze as well as Volt 2.0 at this point. I could be wrong, but if GM’s only motivation for delaying the new Cruze is to milk sales of the current generation Cruze, then why stagger debuts of their 2 most buzz worthy vehicles a year apart if they are both ready to go at the same time?

A delay in the next gen Cruze does not necessarily mean a delay in the next gen Volt.

Unlike the Focus Electric and ICE Focus, the ICE Cruze and Volt are not manufactured on the same line and use the exact same body and interior components. Ford sees the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV versions of their vehicles as powertrain options.

Which means GM could launch a new next gen Volt a year earlier than the Cruze, which is a good thing.

The Cruze is doing very well sales wise. And most consumers do not connect the Cruze and Volt as the same car, but two separate models.

Launching the next gen Volt first allows for a full year of marketing specifically for the Volt, to get sales moving, while also keeping the current Cruze sales on track. Then the next year start the marketing launch cycle over again for the next gen Cruze, not impacting the Volt.

I proffer, without support, that the delay was made to completely adopt Voltec 2.0 on the D2XX/D2UX platform. This platform-wide adoption requires Voltec 2.0 to change from the previous version as the manufacturing volumes will now be huge. Everyone has already read about the new range extender for Voltec … that will happen (smaller, more efficient, but greater power). The biggest change in response to the large manufacturing volume will be the adoption the Spark EV Motor/transaxle into Voltec as George suggested on another site. Less complexity, less cost to produce. And the price point will be reflected by the size/range of the battery pack. Cruze gets a 40 mile pack, volt gets a 60 mile pack and better performance. Crossovers get options on pack size based upon pricepoint/brand. No compromises on range/convenience.

Why would GM make this move now? I think they are confident that the battery prices and engergy density have reached the tipping point.

Pie in the sky? Yes, but what esle is there to do on a Friday?

It’s hard to speculate how everything will play-out without more facts. I do think that it would be a huge mistake to delay Voltech 2.0 w/more model choices if the new improved battery cells become available. Yes, maybe GM could use much improved cells in the same T shape pack but I think many more customers would buy either several different model choices with a under the floor battery pack for much more people & cargo room or 200 mile BEV choices, again with the pack under the floor. IMHO EVs (including EREVs) should have their own ground-up purpose built platforms like a skateboard. In the meantime, people need to realize selling more Volts at even more of a loss is not good PR either. Dealers have failed at educating their sales team about the benefits of the Volt. GM should take Tesla’s sales model to heart.

This is completely off base. Gen 2 Volt has already been stated to be built on its own separate platform and will not share the Cruze underpinnings. what affects the next Cruze is mostly independent of the next Volt.

gm does not like to call their cars on the same platform or even use the word platform, they will not say the next Terrain is on the Cruze platform either even though they will be using the same base

Volt 2.0 released the same year as Tesla’s Bluestar?

Well, if its selling for ~$35K and 200 mile range, then GM will do fine, otherwise looks like the delay will be a bad decision for GM.

Hopefully the “GM Disruptive task force” will come to the same conclusion! 😉

“Lets delay Volt 2.0 by a year or two”

“I heard Tesla will release a 200 mile $35k car by then”

“Hmmm …. let us setup a committee to find out if that is true”

Its one thing to hold back a product’s release (in this case, 15 months). But I don’t believe that means holding back on development. And I don’t quite know why the delay for the Cruze means an equal delay for the Volt – if the Cruze starts in Dec ’15, the Volt could start Spring ’16, and be released as a MY17 in the first half. Now granted, GM won’t sell many MY15 Volts in the mean time between the unveiling and announcement (NAIAS ’16?) and on-sale date (May 16), but thats the cost associated with moving to a new platform – those buyers in the know (of which a lot of Volt buyers are compared to the average car buyer) will wait for the next new thing. A lot of people are hoping for EV drivetrain improvements, but I don’t know if those are likely either. What I’m guessing is that the D2XX platform is designed to allow in-floor battery storage just like the other popular EVs (Tesla, Leaf), instead of intruding into the cabin like the Volt battery does. Without that platform, I don’t know how much of an improvement we’ll see. We might see the small increase… Read more »
GM in my view has only one chance to leapfrog Tesla and I don’t believe that they have either the smarts, the will or the guts to do it corporately. Ironically, they do have the technology to do it. They could, if they stepped up and had the vision and carry through of Elon. They could take their Autonomy Skateboard concept from 11 years ago (http://www.adrianchernoff.com/pages/AUTOnomy.html.) Dump the fuel cell, install their new hi tech battery from Envia whom they have invested in and have already produced 18650 batteries that are light and have 400wh/Kg and will cost 30% the cost of the current tech GM is using in their Volt. That battery tech gets them a 550lb battery to put in their skateboard that has a 100kWh capacity and in a light weight structure the size of a Camery with good aero that vehicle would weigh approx. 3800 lbs and have more interior room to work with than the Tesla gen III because of the wheel motors on the skateboard. Those motors can now be under 50 pounds each making unsprung weight a non-isue, but also giving the car a solid 320 mile range EPA . GM had the… Read more »

You are assuming Envia battery is ready for production. It is not.

No I am not , Though they are offering OEM’s test batteries now, and GM is one of the testing companies, Envia are stating 2015 to 2016 for production quantity batteries that meet the spec they claim with 2000 cycle capacity, which is when Chevy has also stated they could have a 300 mile spark by then. In addition, that is also when Silex claims they will come out with their Cheros with a 650mile range. The Envia technology is the only thing that I know of in the near term that would permit such claims from both companies and the math works for both cars. I know that it is highly unlikely that Cheros will ever happen, but to make the claims they have, they have to have some advanced battery tech in mind to make it work and Envia is the only company that is this close to the time line and appears real. Just as GM developed the Volt glider while planning to install future A123 batteries, they could do the same with their skateboard with Envia. I have looked into the Envia tech and I cannot see why what they claim will not happen. Right now… Read more »

If the battery comes in 2015, it will be 2017 before the car comes out.

To get the battery into a 2015 car, it needs to be already commercialized by now. I’d say Nissan’s NMC is looking to be in better shape (but not as dense as Envia).

No, don’t you see. With electric vehicles you can develop the whole car without the battery being ready yet, especially if you use a standard form factor like Tesla did with the 18650. You just use the lower energy dense battery’s for development of the skateboard, but design an active temperature management system around the older tech sufficient for the new high density tech. You do all your body, styling, crashworthyness testing, ergonomics, aero, interiors without the new batteries, meanwhile you invest in the new battery tech company as GM has and help them get their reliability, cycle testing and mass production completed so that battery is ready when the car is. This is exactly what GM did with the Volt and A123 before they decided A123 could not handle it and got a lower density battery from their current supplier. Tesla did the same parallel development with Panasonic during the development of the Model S. Yes it is a greater risk, but it is the only way that GM can hope to catch up to Tesla. Frankly I don’t think GM has it in them. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it. You mentioned the Nissan NMC… Read more »

I thought I had read that the next gen Volt would be on its own platform ….

“Instead of shoehorning the electric powerplant into a conventional GM compact-car platform, the next Volt will be purpose-built. That will allow the ability to better package the batteries and other specialized components, says Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. He spoke Wednesday night at Automotive News’ World Congress here in Detroit.”

Or is the Cruz supposed to share this platform too?

If they’re going to make a purpose-built platform, and they absolutely should, why not make it RWD? They won’t be able to compete with Tesla with FWD rubbish.

Do they really need a committee to figure this out? If so, they’ve already lost.

Too many new plug-ins coming out the next two years, I still say it hits dealers in Fall of 2015…for 16′ model year.

MrEnergyCzar

Meh, what does it matter, it will suck like the first one as well.
It’s not like they fired the idiots who did the first one or in any way learned substantially from it so it will be more of the same with tiny gradual changes.

It’s not like it will have a Cd of 0.2 and weigh 800kg with a predominantly electric drivetrain and only a tiny 2 cylinder range extender as an option. And accelerate in 5 seconds. Which it should and easily could.

Could it be GM is seeing another recession possibly coming & they’re trying to account for that risk better than they did last time? What happens to car sales if banks won’t lend, or if rates go sig up? Ford won a bunch of goodwill by cutting costs early last time. That goodwill has translated into market share that isn’t fading despite being on the bottom of djpowers initial quality list.
This doesn’t have to be ‘the reason’ for the delay, but it could be a piece of it. I haven’t seen anyone mention this yet.

I’m with Post #1. A platform isn’t that much more than a uni-body. I’d easily call a fifth seat, 60 miles of EPA AER, interior improvements and engine changes “Version II”. The chassis is not where my Volt needs help. It’s one of the best things about it!

For the love of all that is newsworthy, can we get some proofreading going! The typos are killing me. Your editor is garbage. Ugh!