Current Weather
The Spy FM

GM Puts Volt Into ‘Neutral’ To Let Sales Catch Up

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
March 2, 2012

General Motors will suspend production of its Chevrolet Volt electric car for five weeks amid disappointing sales.

A GM spokesman said Friday that the company will shut down production of the Volt from March 19 until April 23, idling 1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

“We’re taking a temporary shutdown,” said GM spokesman Chris Lee. “We’re doing it to maintain our proper inventory levels as we align production with demand.”

GM sold 7,671 Volts last year, below its original goal of 10,000 cars. The company stopped publicly announcing sales targets last year. It sold 1,023 Volts in February and 603 in January.

“The fact that GM is now facing an oversupply of Volts suggests that consumer demand is just not that strong for these vehicles,” said Lacey Plache, chief economist for auto information site Edmunds.com.

Lee said a decision to allow Volt drivers to use carpool lanes in California should help demand. “We’re just looking to increase sales, and we see a positive trend going forward,” he said.

Although the Volt has not been a big seller, the low-emission vehicle has improved GM’s reputation for innovation.

The Volt is powered by a 400-pound battery pack, which allows the car to travel about 35 miles. After that, a gasoline-powered generator drives the electric motor. The Volt has a base price of about $40,000.

Battery fires broke out in three Volts after crash-safety testing last year, but National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators determined the car was no more risky than vehicles with conventional gasoline engines.

That conclusion put the Volt in the middle of a political fight. Republicans accused federal safety regulators of going easy on the Volt because the government owns a stake in GM after giving it a $50 billion bailout.

The director of the highway safety agency denied giving GM favorable treatment.

Last year, GM offered to buy back Volts from any customers worried about safety. In January, it advised Volt owners to take the cars to the dealer for free repairs — steel was added to plates that protect the batteries. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center