Who Knew The 2016 Model Year Chevrolet Volt Would Be So Short Lived?
This past holiday weekend, we reported the news that the national rollout and production of the 2nd generation, Chevrolet Volt (outside of the initial 11 states) was being delayed from November of this year until February of next year. (via the below screenshot found at the GM-Volt.com forums)
And that when production did commence in February, it would not be for the soon-to-arrive 2016 model year Volt, but rather a new 2017 model.
Screenshot Of Dealer Information Sheet Showing New Production Timeline (and new 2017 model year) Of The Chevrolet Volt (via GM-Volt.com forums)
Unfortunately, as it was the long weekend, it took GM a little bit of time to officially confirm the news, and angst among would-be buyers grew fairly intense, but they ultimately did validate the news on Tuesday saying:
“Chevrolet has a shortened model year for the 2016 Chevy Volt that will have a limited distribution network. The 2016 Volt will be sold in our strongest EREV markets. The 2017 Chevrolet Volt will begin production early this spring and will be available throughout the country.”
What Effect Does An Improved 2017 Chevrolet Volt Have On The Yet-To-Be Delivered 2016s?
At the time of first reporting the timeline changes, we suggested the reason one might see such a short model year, especially so early in a car's lifespan, would be in consideration of an alteration to the model:
"As a rule of thumb, early model year changes like this indicate significant changes to the car itself, or changes to its lineup. Given production is just now underway, we don't see a lot of physical changes that could be done..."
As it turns out, that was the case, as GM spokesman Mike Albano further expanded later on the 'why' behind the new roll-out plans to the Automotive News:
“We’re pulling ahead the ’17 a bit to get additional content into the car,” the GM rep said, but did not specify the added features, other than to say they were not related to the car’s drivetrain.
Update: Kevin Kelly, another GM rep, noted some of the changes later (via HybridCars.com ):
"The 2017 model year will have one new color from the Disney Tomorrowland feature of the Volt, Citron Green Metallic. And, adaptive cruise control and Android Auto will also be made available for 2017 model year Volts."
Update 2: Thanks to Chris R, we can say via Chevrolet Canada that Canada is participating in the 2016 Volt rollout, and cars should start arriving in showrooms this November.
Fundamentally, GM Says There Will Be No Changes To The 2017 Volt's Drivetrain
As an opinion on the stated reason for the delayed national roll-out, and also the announcement of a new model year when national inventory does arrive, we are still left to wonder on the motive behind the decision, or rather if we should take it at face-value?
For customers and dealers in California, as well as in the other newly opened 10 CARB states (OR, CT,MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, OR RI, and VT) who are currently waiting on the imminent 2016 Chevrolet Volt deliveries, the question becomes:
How do you take the news that your undelivered, 2016 Chevrolet Volt is now just months away from being not only a model year old (think residual value), but that it also doesn't have the new features found to warrant a new 2017 edition?
Would GM Really Pull A New 2017 Model Year Chevy Volt Forward 6 Months To Just Offer New Features Such As Android Auto, HomeLink Or A New Color?
While it occurs to us that this "additional content" may not be of utmost importance to those who ultimately will take delivery of the short production run model year 2016 Volt, without knowing what all that content specifically is - there is definitely going to be some stress for those buyers 'not in the know' about what they are missing out on; and possibly some cancellations in order to simply get back into the queue and wait for a 2017.
The more we muse the subject, the more we are given to suspect that the 2017 Chevrolet Volt lineup will not only include some of the new features noted today, but also may include a new lower-priced, base model to slot under the LT and Premier (LTZ) trim levels. For example, how about offering faster charging options on the LT/Premier cars, with a base model retaining the current 3.6 kW system?
Otherwise, why would GM put itself in this situation? Why not just wait until July to implement a regularly scheduled model year switchover with the rest of the lineup and add improvements then?