GM To End Current Production Chevrolet Volt In May – As Planned

APR 9 2015 BY JAY COLE 64

The Last "First Gen" Chevrolet Volt Will Exit GM's Hamtramck, Michigan Assembly Plant Next Month - As Planned

The Last “First Gen” Chevrolet Volt Will Exit GM’s Hamtramck, Michigan Assembly Plant Next Month – As Planned

There is an interesting “story” making its way through the national media today.  Namely that General Motors is halting Chevrolet Volt production – but specifically, they are doing so in an effort to sell down current inventory, and/or in response to demand, and/or because of the price of gas before the arrival of the new, next generation 2016 model (details).

Here is a sampling of the stories out there:

  • Chevy halts Volt build to avoid glut, prep for new model” – USA Today
  • Low gas prices force GM to hit pause on Chevy Volt production” –  Globe & Mail
  • GM Unplugs First Generation Volt – Production halt will help reduce unsold inventory and prepare for 2016 plug-in hybrid sedan” – WSJ
Early Promo Shot Of The Volt In Front Of The Plant

Early Promo Shot Of The Volt In Front Of The Plant

Here is the thing, none of that is very accurate.

If anything, GM has spend the last month or so increasing national inventories in anticipation of the extended shut-down, as the available numbers had been exceptionally low during the first quarter, before slowing production again this month.

About 4,000 2015 MY Volts are currently available for purchase – that is not a lot for the estimated 5+ month wait for the arrival of the new 2016 model that gets up to 50 miles of all-electric driving.  GM knows the current demand level of sales for the Volt the past few months has been low, and they have built out the model appropriately.

And secondly, these “news flashes” about high inventory and the low prices of gas causing a reaction out of GM to “halt” production are totally fabricated.

As all we do here at InsideEVs is going over the mundane day-to-day business of what is happening behind the scenes at all the EV makers, I can tell you we have been looking at an end of production date for the Chevrolet Volt of May 15, 2015 on our schedules for ages…like since last year.  A fact we have reported on frequently during on our Sales Scorecard each month.

So yes, the first generation of Chevrolet Volt will be ending production in about five weeks.  But no, it doesn’t deserve to go out with an (*) asterisk around its neck, this has been an orderly wind-down.

The 2011-2015 Chevrolet Volt will have sold about 80,000 copies in the US when the last car is finally delivered (75,231 through March 2015), and has been one of a handful of plug-in vehicles that has driven the EV revolution in America the past 4 years. Lets give it the respect it deserves.

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Is Expected To Launch In Early Fall(Photo: InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney @ NYAIS - April 2015)

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt Is Expected To Launch In Early Fall(Photo: InsideEVs/Tom Moloughney @ NYAIS – April 2015)

Production of the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt is anticipated to begin in mid to late July, with first deliveries happening in early fall/September.   Like its predecessor, we expect the next generation of Volt to be a major influence in leading us further still.

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64 Comments on "GM To End Current Production Chevrolet Volt In May – As Planned"

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They should put one in the Smithsonian next to the EV1.

Mr. Burns to Smithers:

“Release the crushers!” 😉

In Luray Caverns Virginia they have a 1908 Baker Electric Car in the 1910’s to 1940’s car museum.

More false information in the Globe & Mail article.

“It can go up to 38 miles per gallon on battery power before a gas-powered generator kicks in.”

So now people are going to think it only gets 38mpg.

“38 miles per gallon on battery”…..that doesn’t even make sense. Someone needs to smack the editor of Globe and Mail upside the head, so they can get a clue.

Let me, I’m Canadian.

Contact the editor and get that corrected kdawg! 🙂

What a silly error. Although, I guess to the uninformed, it can be confusing that it has a 38 mile range AND gets 38mpg after that. But sheesh, it’s not THAT confusing. 😉

Well, it certainly adds to the confusion when people (unfortunately including the EPA) use the term “MPGe” to talk about electric-powered energy efficiency. Not helping at all!

MPGe is a well-intentioned statistic: it just has little practical value other than to promote the general proposition that electric motors use energy more efficiently than do internal combustion engines. when you try to “get into the weeds” and quantify how much more efficient, it leads to more confusion than insight because it requires that you have some understanding about how the conversion of units is done.

Exactly! MPGe is dum for dummer to keep them dum.
People can grow if you let them do it.

Still waiting for the first Volt to catch fire in the wild….

I have to disagree with this observation:

“About 4,000 2015 MY Volts are currently available for purchase – that is not a lot for the estimated 5+ month wait for the arrival of the new 2016 model that gets up to 50 miles of all-electric driving.”

Volt sales are WAY down in anticipation of the new model and I would expect they continue to taper as we get closer and closer to the new 2016 release. 4,000 units is more like 8 to 10 months supply if not longer and GM is going to be stuck with quite a few of these or have to offer deep incentives to get them sold.

ryan, 5000 units is quite a lot IF we are talking about late winter sales rates, not SUMMER sales rates. Also, you gotta think that GM is going to put a bit of cash on the hood and that will ALSO accelerate sales of the last remaining inventory. Even if they only sold a paltry 900 units a month… they’d be bone dry by September or October. I would expect that Chevy will have numbers above 1200 for each summer month where it offers a rebate.

January sales were down 41%, February sales down 43%, March sales down 57%… i expect the decrease in sales to increase even further as we get closer to the ’16 Volt release… summer sales will increase from winter sales but not nearly the rate of last summer for the Volt.

I expect the summer increase will be offset by decreases created by the pending ’16 Volt causing a flatline around 650 units/month through the summer.

Any “cash on the hood” factor will depend on Gen2 Volt pricing, which we haven’t seen yet.

Rebates would likely equalize to the announced Gen2 price, plus the usual $1-2k for model year changes. There appear to be enough pro Gen1 comments on line to suggest there won’t be an opportunity for a Gen1 fire sale, but we’ll see.

I don’t see any problem even if there a several hundred still for sale at the end of summer that slowly get sold off until the end of the year. That is actually pretty typical for model year carry-over. I just checked cars.com, and there are still over 5,000 2014 model year cars, and we are 4 months into 2015, long after the switch over to the 2015 models. If there are still a few straggler 2015 Volts still for sale in April of 2016, the term for that would be “Business As Usual” in the automotive industry. I don’t know why folks think all the 2015’s must all be sold off of the lots before the first 2016’s arrive. There is almost always carryover inventory as the new model year cars arrive. That is healthy and normal. What would be considered a sin in the auto industry would be to completely run out of cars. You can’t sell what you don’t have, and losing out on a sale because you can’t get inventory anywhere is the bane of car dealerships. The way they see it, they’re going to lose that sale forever to a possible conquest sale from a… Read more »

For clarification, the 5000+ 2014 cars is NOT the number of Volts. That is the number of 2014’s of all manufacturers. That could read kinda funny without that clarification….

Exactly! Just another pretex for GM not to sell EVs.
Like sdvertising the new model one year in advance to kill off sales of V.1

You’re still doing this?

Let me guess: Tesla announcing the Model X and Model 3 years before they are ready for sale is 100% fine?

I just read this in the Wall Street article. Didn’t know Lyle was going to get a Next Gen Volt. Cool.
———
“Lyle Dennis, a New York neurologist who became a popular Volt advocate via his independent gm-volt.com blog, swapped his Volt (No. 8 off the assembly line) after a year for a Ford C-Max hybrid that could better accommodate his family of five.

Mr. Dennis, in a recent interview, said he plans to buy a 2016 Volt, which has a larger interior.”

hasn’t one of the main complaints been that the gen2 Volt interior is *not* bigger than that of the gen1 Volt? i suspect that the 5th seat is the bigger issue. i’ve wondered why a 5th seat was not offered in the gen1 Volt and my thinking is that GM concluded that a 5th seat wouldn’t be practical since you would not be able to build flat bench rear seating. however, i don’t think that GM anticipated how much of an issue that lack of a 5th seat would be for some. this time around, i suppose GM figured that it would be better to include the 5th seat even if it is a limited use seating position.

The interior is bigger. The complaint is that it isn’t bigger enougher. People want more big, and even more big after that.

Not at all unusual in the automotive world. That’s exactly why car maker after car maker keeps growing the size of their cars, until they have to introduce a new small car to fit in where their old cars used to fit.

Like BMW’s growing in size until they had to add the 1-Series so they could get back to a small car the size the 3-Series used to be. Same with Audi bringing in the A3 in the size the A4 used to be.

No matter what size cars are, there will always be perennial complaints about people saying they wish it was just a little bit bigger…. Until they say it’s gotten too big and fat and they demand something new.

I’m always amused by the parallel with one of the laws of evolution: “Species tend to increase in size to extinction.” Cars, too!

That said, the first time I saw a Volt in real life, I was amazed at how -tiny- it is! I think they coulda grown it quite a bit for the Volt 2.0 version, and still had it qualify as a “compact”.

Sure, it could have gotten bigger, but the Compact sales segment is actually up 7.2% so far this year, after increases in sales last year. With nearly 2.2 Million sales in that segment in 2014, there are nearly as many Compact car sales as the 2.4 Million Midsize car sales.

Meanwhile, Midsize car sales are actually down 3 percent so far this year, after stagnant sales numbers last year.

Go up to the Large car segment, and sales were down 8% last year, and are down 13% so far this year, with sales around 0.5 million, less than a quarter of either Medium or Compact sales.

So people can keep saying they want bigger cars, but then people keep BUYING more cars in the exact Compact segment that the Volt is in.

Now if you want to argue that GM should also market a small CUV along with the Compact Volt, you would have a good point. small CUV sales are up more than even Compact car sales. But as for actual car sales, the Volt is in exactly the size segment that is growing the most.

I just read a AAA Magazine article on electric cars with the Leaf, E Golf, Kia Soul and the Volt. The author said that the Volt was the best of the bunch except for back seats that “weren’t big enough for adults”.
This back seat issue is a problem and it didn’t need to be a problem in the Gen II but they chose to ignore those of us that said it was not acceptable.
So when my Volt lease expires I will be getting an electric car or a hybrid in 15 months that isn’t a Volt.

You should probably sit in a Next Gen Volt first, but I think a Fusion Energi is most likely your best bet for rear seat room, still has a range extender, and won’t break the bank.

I have driven two Fusion Energis and they are very close to what I really want. Their backseats are just enough roomier than the Volt that they are comfortable.
But they have just 20 or so miles of AER.
It may take a few years for a roomy compact or mid-size car with > 38 miles of AER to come out.

Well you said you only had 15 months, and listed electric or hybrid. If you want even more room, and hybrids are OK, the Malibu Hybrid will be out by then. I don’t think the Outlander PHEV will be here in 15 months. BMW i3 REx would get you the AER, but not sure how much room there is in the back. It only has seating for 4. It also cost $10k more than a Volt.

If the Malibu hybrid had a plug and decent range I would really be considering it. As it is, I am still considering it. I have to admit that nothing calls out to me the way the Volt did from 2008 until I got mine in 2013.
I would really like to buy an American vehicle but the Outlander looks intriguing, not sure how roomy the back of it is, though. The numbers say the front seat legroom is an inch less and the back seat legroom is 3+ inches more so that would work on paper. Headroom is 2+ inches more for the Mitsu.

The Outlander PHEV hasn’t been rated on the EPA test cycle, but two EV-related websites have estimated the electric range at only 20-25 miles. That’s hardly a compelling EV!

I frequently have 3 adults in my car with me. More rear seat legroom has become pretty compelling since I got my Volt. I would love to have the Gen II Volt work for me, but the back seat is abysmal. The Tesla S works well but $35k (pre-tax credit) is about as high as I want to go.

Regularly carrying 3 full height adults makes you a statistical outlier. I think you also mentioned that you are tall? Only about 15% of Males (and about 8% of all adults including males and females) are over 6 foot tall. If you are over six foot, you are a statistical outlier in height too.

Being 6 foot plus, and carrying 3 full height adults would make you a double statistical outlier.

The Volt is targeted for the mass market, not for statistical outliers. See my post above about the stats for different car segment sales growth, and how the Compact car segment is growing, while the Midsize segment is relatively stagnant, and the Large car segment is collapsing in sales.

I do and I am. Carry 4 adults and am tall, I mean. But I think there are quite a few of us in this boat. And it isn’t a huge effort we are talking about. The Honda Fit is a subcompact and it has tons more legroom, and the compact Honda Civic has more legroom as well. I understand the aerodynamics are a factor, but if you want the car to sell well, you have to at least try to give the people what they want.
It is frustrating that we are 4+ years into the electrification of cars and there still isn’t a car with decent AER and room for 4 adults under $35k, and it doesn’t look like there will be one for a couple years, either.

I didn’t even realize my Volt only had four seats until about two days after I bought it. With a family of 3 (+ dog) it is completely adequate.

I really have to think hard to come up examples of families with more than 2 kids anymore, so I feel this is just another issue for the haters to criticize. I don’t hear anyone complaining about a Camry not having seating for 6, which by the way you could do if auto manufactures went back to the bench seat in the front.

Cnbc led with poor sales angle as reason for shutdown. Lovely spin.

And people wonder why we have NO respect for big corporate journalism. Complete stupidity!

let me first say that it probably won’t take 6 months for people to get sentimental about the gen1 Volt, which i think is a better designed car than the gen2. that said, i think that this time around GM is making some “right” moves. first, GM is introducing the Bolt (or whatever it gets called). to get mindshare in the EV segment these days, you need to offer a BEV. i don’t believe that BEVs will be high volume vehicles in the foreseeable future, but BEVs allow you to advertise maximum EV range, and that is a key attribute in evaluating EVs. so i think that the Bolt is a mindshare vehicle in the GM product strategy. i think that real action for GM is in PHEVs. so once GM gets “cred” from the Bolt, then the sales volume play is in selling PHEVs, which appeal to a much larger potential market. of course, GM will still have to address sales channel issues. salespersons can strongly influence automotive buying decisions; and salespersons will try to sell cars where they feel that can speak knowledgeably with customers and avoid selling cars where they don’t feel so comfortable. it’s like with… Read more »

Salute to the Chevy Volt.

A great car that did not get the recognition it deserved. It sadly got mired in a political war with people hating GM due to the bail-out and people hating anything green.

It didn’t sell nearly as much as deserved but I maintain that it contains the drivetrain that will be key to GM’s long-term future.

+1

Wow, I read the comments over there. Holy Cow!

I wondered where Trolls were born. I thought it might be that The Stork brought them, but it turns out they breed wildly over in zerohedge’s comment section.

Article for the willfully ignorant, by the willfully ignorant. Not even gonna try posting there. Too much chance of contagion.

+1

Aztek catches so much crap, but it was the original CUV. Now CUVs are the cat’s meow and no goes back to thank the Aztek. I still see several driving around where I live and they look like they are still new.

MTN Ranger said:

“Nothing tops the inanity (or insanity) of this ‘article’: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-09/another-electric-car-bites-dust-chevy-volt-go-way-aztek

It’s a stock investor site. A high percentage of complete B.S. in articles/blogs, coupled with a very high percentage of trollish FUD comments, are to be expected. Just like Tesla related articles on Seeking Alpha.

I’m raging that I can’t seem to post a comment at WSJ despite logging in, grrr..

“Dealers say GM has to regain mind share in electric cars. “We just don’t have presence in the space currently,” said Jamaal McCoy, general manager of Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas. “When someone thinks of an electric vehicle they don’t think of Chevrolet; they think Toyota or Tesla.”

That quote is hilarious. The Tesla part is certainly true, but Toyota? Come on, they don’t even have an EV anymore.

Is he blaming GM or should he be blaming himself (the dealer)?

if the general manager of a chevrolet dealership is that ill-informed about competition in the market for EV vehicles, how likely is it that he is going to be credible at selling the Volt?

Well, don’t forget that as a “franchised dealer” he is protecting you from evil GM’s bad PR by pointing out GM’s bad PR. Good value for money there, I’d say.

To this day, I know people who swear the original Prius was a fully electric car.

He’s no different than the whiny Kia dealership who was losing sales because he didn’t have EV Soul’s

Findley has 15 Volts but are only discounting their 3 that are 2014’s, no discounts listed on their 2015’s. This is despite GM currently having a $1000 dollar cash allowance on both 2014’s and 2015’s.

His problem is that just a short drive into California, Keyes Chevrolet, Brunnin Chevrolet, and Rydell Chevrolet are all selling 2015’s for up to 7K off of MSRP with much more inventory to choose from.

They aren’t selling Volts because they aren’t competitive, not because there is a problem with the car.

Wait — I have to revise my last post. Looking closer at their website, they actually are SOLD OUT of 2015’s, and only have 4 2014’s in stock.

The inventory of 2015’s that they list are all actually “In Transit”.

So much for their claim that they can’t sell Volts. They don’t have any 2015’s to sell. They’ve already sold them all.

*Face-Palm*

This is the WSJ paragraph that makes me chuckle:

“The first Volt went on sale in 2010 with high expectations, but sales have been lackluster amid low gasoline prices and the release of more capable electric models from competitors. GM has sold about 70,000 Volts to date, far below initial company forecasts.”

They fail to mention that up until last month, the Volt was the #1 selling plugin in the US. Also, gasoline only got cheap til recently. And who were these ‘more capable’ competitors? The Volt still boasts the largest EV range for any PHEV, with the exception of the BMW i3, which has a crippled range extender and costs $10k more.

These are anti-GM, anti-Volt hit pieces, but hey, go with what sells I guess.

+1

Well said kdawg!

GSP

“Six-week production shutdown planned for 2016 Chevy Volt” ref Autobloggreen.
Does this badly written headline suggest that GM has problems with the 2016 Volt?

Ryan said:

“January sales were down 41%, February sales down 43%, March sales down 57%… i expect the decrease in sales to increase even further as we get closer to the ’16 Volt release…”

Yeah. I’m rather puzzled by the claim that GM deliberately built up inventory before shutting down production. Well, certainly they know their own business better than I.

But I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a case of high level mismanagement at Chevrolet, with a lot of leftover Volt 1.0’s that nobody will buy without a fire-sale price reduction.

Major sneak preview of new Volt on the fb group right now, btw.

Engineering lady has one and is taking pics, answering questions.

The Volt is going to do a lot of damage to the Prius more then the other EV’s.

For the record, if you include the Ampera the first-gen Volt is already over 90,000 worldwide so should end its run at around 95,000.

Looking forward to Gen 2.

+95K

Don’t look now but GM delivered a hundred 2015MY Volts yesterday bringing the amount of Volts in North America to 5054 and the amount of 2015MY Vots to 3895, according to cars dot com. They have allowed the total inventory to fall below 2600 so that may be what they consider to be the minimum inventory. Given todays numbers (without taking into account that they may continue making Volts til mid-May) 5050-2600=2450/4 month of non production before the Gen II starts to arrive = 612 expected sales per month. So they will probably continue to build 2015’s for another month.

I still can’t figure out why GM handed the Volt haters yet another stick to beat the Volt with. All they had to do was decide to build Volts in limited numbers until the Hamtramck plant closes in the summer for the annual re-tool/employee vacation. Or end Volt production and not say anything.

They have allowed inventory to fall below 2600 in the past, not at present.

Nothing GM does will make the Volt haters happy. If they reduce build numbers, the haters will just use small build numbers against the Volt.

Besides, modern just-in-time supply chain manufacturing doesn’t work that way. It costs more per unit to take small batches of parts from suppliers, or to store parts than to just build the cars all at once and store the cars. Crazy but true.

The Hamtramck plant is also used for Chevrolet Impala’s and Malibu’s, so they aren’t shutting the plant down. Just the Volt line. Powering down the line and temporarily laying off the employees cuts costs too. It isn’t realistic to keep the line running for a few hundred cars a month. It just doesn’t work that way.

The Volt is built on the same line spas other cars, so they are probably not even shutting a line down.

GSP