Not Doing Any Favors To 2015 Chevrolet Volt Sales Was A Flood Of Next Gen Information This Month, Including A Lighter, More Powerful Lithium Battery

Not Doing Any Favors To 2015 Chevrolet Volt Sales Was A Flood Of Next Gen Information This Month, Including A Lighter, More Powerful Lithium Battery

Before September, Chevrolet had improved month-over-month sales results with the Chevrolet Volt throughout 2014.  Unfortunately September was a big step back as the plug-in Chevy went from a year high 2,511 units sold down to just 1,394, off about 45%

For October, the results did improve somewhat however, as 1,439 Volts were sold, which was up 3% from last month, but still off 29% from the 2,022 sold last year at this time.

For the year, 15,979  Volts have been sold, which is down 14.9% from the 18,782 sold through the first 10 months of 2013.

General Motors now faces a couple problems trying to finish out 2014 strong:

  • Production - the Volt's Hamtramck, Michigan facility has been idled since mid-August as part of a previously announced $384 million dollar investment into the facility that is currently seeing the Voltec line being upgraded to handle both the next gen Volt as well as two other plug-in stablemates
  • Chevrolet Volt 2.0 - this month GM start its media-blitz/teaser promotion of the next Volt ahead of its January NAIAS debut.   While no pricing or specific figures were released yet, GM did foretell that the range extending engine would be a larger 1.5l engine, and that the next Volt would have a larger battery, enabling more range - our math points to a 50 mile AER when the car is released next fall.

Camouflaged 2016 Chevy Volt

Camouflaged 2016 Chevy Volt

Why are these two issues problematic to sales today? 

Although GM still has about 6,000 copies (and dwindling) of the Volt in dealer inventory around the country, it is now not ideally spread out across the country - and production won't be resuming reportedly until the third week of November, so few depth problems will be solved by the factory until 2015.

The other issue being, why would a customer knowledgeable that the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt, which rides on a new platform, with a longer range, with faster acceleration, for less money...and out in less than a year, choose to buy a 2015 Volt today?

Only a lot of money on the hood and/or a very cheap lease likely restores the Volt to former sales glory now before the 2016 Volt arrives...both of which could easily happen, as GM has shown a willingness to cut pricing to move inventory.

Separately this month, Cadillac made a lot of waves, confirming that not only would a 2nd generation of the ELR be arriving, but also a plug-in CT6 in 2015 - high end luxury with 70 MPGe.

The ELR sold a respectable 152 copies in October, giving Caddy more than 1,000 sold for the year (1,037).

The take-away from all this?  GM's plug-in sales are probably going to be fairly underwhelming for the next 8 months or so, but with 4 confirmed plug-ins (including the 200ish mile Sonic-based BEV) on the market in 2015, sales recap stories a year from now should be singing a very different tune.