Chevrolet Sells 1,210 Volts In February, Off 26% From 2013

MAR 3 2014 BY JAY COLE 30

GM Decides A Video About Avoiding The Perils Of The Desert Was A Good Time To Solve Sales Woes In February

GM Launches “The New Freedom” Volt Campaign About The Perils Of The Desert – In February

After posting a fairly disappointing 918 Volt sales in January – the first time sales were under 4 digits in 2 years (603 – Jan 2012), the extended range Chevy bounced back a little in February notching 1,210 deliveries.

Winter Is Never Kind To Plug-In Sales In The US

Winter Is Never Kind To Plug-In Sales In The US

Year-over-year, this February’s result was up against some fairly stiff competition as 1,626 were sold this month a year ago, meaning sales were off 25.6%.  For the year to date, 2,128 Volts have been sold as compared to 2,766 – off 23.1%

Last year 23,094 Volts in total were sold, which was a little less than the 23,461 in 2012 – a statistic GM can’t be eager to repeat in 2014.

Fortunately, next month should be an ‘easy beat’ for GM to get things back on track, as just 1,478 Volts were sold.

Why the low numbers so far in 2014 – and really for the end of 2013?

There just isn’t enough casr to even get the Volt a fighting chance as the General opted to produce more petrol cars and higher margin Cadillac ELRs out of the Volt’s Hamtramck facility while keeping the plug-in Chevrolet’s inventory restrained to less than half of what it was over the summer.

Sidnote of interest:  GM sold 58 Cadillac ELRs in February

GM Lets Consumers Know That Most Owners Only Visit The Gas Station Once Every 900 Miles Or So

GM Lets Consumers Know That Most Owners Only Visit The Gas Station Once Every 900 Miles Or So

However none of those issues stopped the car from continuing to rack up awards, as the Volt added two more to its trophy case this month:

Also, Chevrolet initiated a new ad focus for the Volt in February:

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30 Comments on "Chevrolet Sells 1,210 Volts In February, Off 26% From 2013"

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Yeah, as I said several times, with ads like this it’s better to go without ads at all ;(

Unless Mary Barra changes the EV-skeptic attitude that still seems to dominate the thinking, at least in GM’s marketing dept., GM might find itself way behind not just Nissan, but also Ford and the German makers, before the year is over.

Mark H

Assaf,
You are placing waaay too much emphasis on marketing. Re-read Marketing Director John Dabels comments on ads value in the EV1 article. I am betting the Volt finishes 2nd this year, though expect larger pieces of the pie going to Ford and the German manufacturers.
Another interesting aspect of the Volt is younger drivers find it much more sporty and attractive than it competitors and some of them are going after the used market. Actually it is a very smart move with a guaranteed $7,500 depreciation due to the tax credit system.

Nate

Hi Assaf. I actually didn’t mind the add (I’ve seen them do worse). My only gripe is why do I not even see or hear adds for the Volt until I see some link in an article here? By the time I get to work in the morning I’ve either heard a Leaf add on the sports radio station or if listening to OPB I’ve heard that morning edition was brought to me by support of listeners “and by the Nissan Leaf”. If I stop in the company break room on a Friday I’ll see the adds in the paper for nice discounts on the C-Max, Fusion Energi and a Leaf S w/ charge package. All those things are GREAT to hear and see. It would just be cool to see some Volt advertisements other than within a link within a story here.

dickerin

I like this ad.
It appropriately associates range anxiety with those unrealistic, childish fears that linger in all of us.
Like other readers have mentioned, no matter how good the piece is, it is no good if they don’t air it.
This is the first time I have seen it.

scottf200

Why do you guys continue to put bogus percentages in these monthly articles? You are using statistics to exaggerate the situation either good or bad. It is really poor journalism.

Nate

Yeah its something I’d expect from Fox News. The headline will be seen in the google search results. The reasons why Feb 2013 might be different than Feb 2014 won’t matter much because they won’t be read nearly as much.

pjwood

People don’t buy their “February” car, in February, or the March car in March, unless it’s a convertable. They also can look forward to a $+7,500 tax event long before Fall. These reasons hide bigger issues, such as the build rate Jay mentions.

I always have “Who Killed Tthe Eelectric Car” playing in the back of my mind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTHsTCBxDM8

vdiv

I often have it playing in front of my eyes too and unfortunately find that it is still quite relevant. Honda and Toyota seem to be watching it too thinking that the hydrogen bomb car can once again pull the wool over people’s eyes, and of course GM cannot be far behind.

DaveMart

My concern about this article is:
‘There just isn’t enough cars to even get the Volt a fighting chance as the General opted to produce more petrol cars and higher margin Cadillac ELRs out of the Volt’s Hamtramck facility while keeping the plug-in Chevrolet’s inventory restrained to less than half of what it was over the summer.’

Do we know that sales were production constrained, and not due to lack of demand?
If so, what is the evidence?

My guess would have been that soft petrol prices might have led to reduced Volt demand, whilst the very competitive price of the Leaf has meant that folks looking to reduce petrol use have turned towards them at the margin.

Ziv

How do you take the car that has won more awards than just about any car in recent history, a car that has the JD Powers highest customer satisfaction of any car (until recently) and sell just 2,000 or so in the first two months of a year? Not building enough of them to get 2 or 3 at most dealers is one way, and not getting 10 or 12 at each of the Volt specialist dealers is another, plus not advertizing them works well in reducing that pesky sales problem.

I love my Volt but it is pretty obvious GM does not.

Ocean Railroader

GM keeps giving off mixed messages about their plug in cars with the Chevy Spark and this one to where I think people feel confused. I remember reading that Ford made a comment that they are going to undercut the Prius C with their plug in car. And their cars out number the volt three to one in my area.

Another thing is Nissan as official said they are going to raise production to 3000 a month and to 4000 by the end of the year.

GRA
The Volt’s numbers seem entirely reasonable to me, because unlike the LEAF, it has real competition in its market segment. What’s missing from all the hand-wringing is that PHEV (however defined) sales are trending up, while affordable BEV sales are flat. Tesla is in a whole other price league compared to the LEAF; the Model S’ PEV competitors at the moment are the Panamera and the laughable ELR. The Volt, OTOH, has the Fords and even the PiP competing with it, the Accord not being a serious player. Volt sales have dropped simply because Energi, especially Fusion Energi sales have increased. I expect PiP sales to drop precipitously in California as soon as the green stickers run out. The Volt and other PHEVs may too, but unlike the PiP they provide some reason to buy other than just the stickers. Meanwhile, what nationwide competition does the LEAF have? Only the Focus, which isn’t advertised; the rest are compliance cars or even smaller niche BEVs like the Smart, all of which sell around 100 or so per month. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think the i3 will cannibalize a lot of LEAF sales at that price point, and the Soul… Read more »
Spec9

California is a pretty big market for EVs so competition from compliance cars could hurt them here . . . . but that said, they don’t really hurt them much. The compliance cars are available in such small numbers and lot of people are not comfortable buying such low volume cars that they just don’t sell very well. Honda just said they are done. Chrysler is not making many Fiat 500es. I don’t know what GM is doing with the Spark but I suspect it is very limited in volume.

GRA
Yes, in California (where I am) we’ve got a lot more choice than most of the country, but with the Fit and RAV4 both going away at the end of the year, and Fiat being completely uninterested in building any more 500es than they’re forced to, even here the affordable BEV options are at best staying pretty static. Until some company provides much better range, they’re all much of a muchness, and I think the market for 80 mile/$30k MSRP BEVs is pretty saturated here. I also think it’s time we (California) consider reducing or eliminating the state incentive – certainly there’s zero justification for allowing it or Fed. subisidies on cars costing as much as the Tesla, Panamera, ELR or (heaven help us), the 918. The price of the typical 80 mile BEV has dropped far more than $2,500 since 2010, so even if we keep the incentives they should be indexed upwards so the max applies to cars providing considerably more range (as opposed to being tied to battery size as they are now), but capped at say $40k out the door price less govt. fees (so the dealers and manufacturers can’t play games with MSRP), and reducing/indexing… Read more »
Ocean Railroader

I agree with your idea of capping the tax rebate to cars sold for under $40,000 in that it’s kind of wrong to give someone a rebate on a $50,000 to $100,000 car. It would also start forcing the other car markers to lower their prices or come out with mass marketed cars.

Also I would add a minimum electric range to the car deals of say 20 useful miles for a plug in and 120 useful miles for a EV to motive car makers.

Rock the Volt

Hey, I just want to know when I can get my Spark EV in NY??

vdiv

Someone saw a Spark EV with MD plates charging in MD. So probably all you have to do is contact a dealership in CA or OR that sells them, pay them for the car and for shipping it over, and then try to figure out where you are going to service it.