GM CEO Dan Akerson Says Big Price Reductions Are In The Chevrolet Volt's Future. With Sales Struggling, We Figure That Time Starts Now
May sales results for the Chevrolet Volt can be taken as either a positive, a negative...or maybe something in between.
For The First Time In Recent Memory Volt Inventories Level Off In May
During the month, General Motors sold 1,607 Volts, breaking a string of 3 consecutive declining monthly results (Feb - 1,626, Mar - 1,478, April - 1,306). That would be the positive spin.
On the not so great side of the ledger, this marks another month of failing to match year over year comps, as in May of 2012, Chevrolet sold 1,680 Volts, down 4.4%. For the year, the 38 mile extended range plug-in is still up by a very slight margin of 1.4%.
- 2013 Volt Sales (through May) 7,157
- 2012 Volt Sales (through May) 7,057
What Seemed Like A Unthinkable Reality Even A Few Months Ago, the Nissan LEAF Has Now Outsold The Volt In The US
Nissan has now sold 7,614 LEAFs to GM's 7,157 Volts.
On the production side, GM has finally decided to slow production of the Chevy Volt at its Hamtramck, Michigan facility to stop the trend of adding more and more days of inventory of the car on dealer lots. While General Motors as not (as of yet) released the exactly numbers, Volt inventory stayed mostly unchanged around 9,500-odd units available for sale.
Price Cut Coming?
Buoyed from the confidence of last month asking the question of Honda - 'Why, oh why, do you not cut the lease rate ($389/month) ...to get cars sold and out the door?', only to see the Japanese company indeed move that lease down to $259 (with unlimited mileage), we will now suggest the same thing is coming for the Chevrolet Volt. A price cut for model year 2014.
Beside the obvious reason why the company should do it (like the fact the LEAF increased sales by 300% over the last 3 months because of one), and they fact they have promised significant price reductions in the past that failed to materialize last year, we will point out some obvious points.
- GM has basically offered a flat $3,000+ off the price of the Volt for most of 2013 to anyone who wants one. A precursor to a reduction?
- Hamtramck, Michigan production of the Volt has not be congruent with current demand. If GM was not going to reduce the price of the Volt shortly, why would they continue to build current inventory levels to a near all-time highs, especially with a model year change coming emminently? At current sell rates from the last 3 months, they have enough cars on dealer lots now to not need to build another car for almost the rest of the year
- Not that long ago CEO Akerson set a sales target of 36,000 Voltec cars (Chevy Volt, Holden Volt, Opel Ampera and Vauxhall Ampera) for 2013. With the sales outside the US on the Ampera almost non-existent, and Canada only adding a little more than 300 through May, GM needs to seat least 30,000 units in the US, or about 23,000 more in 7 months. That is 3,263 per month from here on out
- GM also expects to reduce the price of the Volt by $7,000 to $10,000 in a couple years time for the 2nd generation, we assume there would be some gradual lowering of the price over time ahead of that day as opposed to a drastic one time chop