Skip to comments.Some Chevy Dealers Pull Plug on Volt – 2012 Sales Well Below Goals
Posted on 01/07/2013 9:17:53 AM PST by jazusamo
The final tally is in for 2012 Chevy Volt sales. The good news (which is what most headlines will trumpet) is that sales for General Motors' flagship green vehicle tripled from 2011's paltry 7,671 to a slightly less paltry 23,461 in 2012. The bad news is that the number is almost half of GM's sales goal of 45,000 in 2012 for the Volt. The further bad news is that the Volt has so little demand in most regions that some dealerships are refusing to pay for required tools to repair the vehicles and are choosing to cease selling the vehicles instead.
To put the sales figures in perspective, Toyota's hybrid Prius family achieved sales of 236,659 in 2012; over ten times that of the Volt! You wouldn't know that from the amount of hype the Volt has gotten compared to the Prius. Furthermore, taxpayers had to foot the bill for over $150 million in federal subsidies ($7,500 per vehicle) for the Volt for it to reach its unimpressive sales figure while the Prius needed no support to smoke the Volt's performance. On a monthly basis, the Prius sold over 20,000 units in December while the Volt still could not even break the 3,000 mark. Approximately a third of Volt sales are in California, where the vehicle receives favorable HOV lane treatment and most of the sales have been driven by subsidized leases.
The Volt is offered by about 2,300 Chevy dealerships, making the average amount of cars sold per dealership about one a month. While GM's Obama-appointed management chooses to maintain an illogical focus on the money-losing Volt, some individually-owned dealerships are deciding that selling the vehicle just isn't worth the investment. A gas2.org article points out that some dealerships will not spend the required approximate $5,000 for specialized tools (which lower the risk of electrocution and fires) for the Volt and would rather just not sell the car.
The $5,000 required investment comes on top of an initial amount of about $5,000 that was spent on tools for the Volt. Many dealerships have sold only a few Volts in the two years they have offered the vehicle, barely even recouping the original tool investment, if at all. The decision to not spend another $5,000 for a vehicle that sells in such small numbers seems to be a logical one based on economics rather than politics, something GM should take a lesson from.
It is harder to figure out why auto manufacturers like GM would focus on plug-in electric vehicles rather than conventional hybrid technology as they try to reach higher EPA fuel economy requirements than it is to figure out why Chevy Dealerships would choose not to sell Volts. Consumer Reports recently reported that hybrid technology offers the better value. Despite the clear evidence that consumers prefer standard hybrids over plug-in vehicles, GM has chosen not to compete directly in the sector that includes the Prius (which sells 20,000 vehicles a month) and instead will focus on competing against cars like the Nissan Leaf (which sells less than 1,000 a month) as admitted by product chief Mary Barra in an autonews.com article .
Let's look at why the Prius is so much more popular than the Volt and why Consumer Reports says that conventional hybrids offer the better value. The new hybrid Toyota Prius C starts at under $20,000 and gets about 50 miles per gallon. Compare that to the Volt which starts at about $40,000 and gets approximately 30 miles per gallon after traveling about 35 miles on an electric charge. You pay double for a car that needs to be plugged in all night to save a maximum of less than a gallon of gas a day! Factor in the cost for electricity and you can save a bit over a dollar a day in gas (neglecting the fact that the Volt requires premium fuel) for the mere investment of an additional $20,000 compared to the Prius. Of course you will only be required to pay $12,500 of that premium as taxpayers are on the hook for the other $7,500 so you can break even in about 25 years if you choose the Volt.
The only reason (other than political influence) I can see for car manufacturers to offer money-losing vehicles like the Volt, which do not have wide consumer appeal, is that it is increasingly difficult to reach rising fuel economy requirements without having vehicles offered that are rated in the 90 mpg range and above. The problem with the rising EPA requirements seems to be that manufacturers don't have to sell a lot of the high mileage vehicles to the public; they only have to offer them.
The formula for calculating Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is complex, but in general, manufacturers get more credit for offering vehicles with high MPG ratings than actually having them sell in large numbers. Extra credit is given for offering plug-in electric vehicles, adding to the incentive to offer these types of vehicles over choices that might make more sense. A cynical person might suspect that some lobbyists from firms that stand to profit (like those that build charging stations) from a new plug-in segment might be influencing the illogical focus.
As manufacturers continue to develop vehicles that get high mpg ratings but do not sell, the public's price tag goes up. Not only is taxpayer money wasted in tax subsidies, the cost of all vehicles goes up as automakers must make up for the losses. Worst of all, the nation's dependence on oil is not being greatly reduced if the high mileage vehicles that manufacturers are forced to offer don't actually sell.
It would be a lot more logical if CAFE standards were based more on how many vehicles were sold rather than how many vehicles were offered and if extra credit wasn't given for building politically-favored plug-ins. The MPG requirements could be reduced and automakers could focus on building vehicles that are more fuel efficient and that the public will actually buy. Based on the political circus and illogical focus that we have had thus far from government's green agenda (like the Chevy Volt), it does not seem likely that our government has the sense to see just how ludicrous it is to force auto manufacturers to build cars that will not sell and then have taxpayers foot the bill. But one can still hope.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.
I’m shocked. /s
Great. This kind of news usually encourages the Fraud to double down on his stupidity.
I actually saw my first one yesterday. What a ugly car.
The problem is the government subsidizes this abortion with tax payer dollars so it is not a personel investment they expect to see a profit from, they sell a product no one wants, no one can afford and the dealers cant fix because the tools cost to much. Once again the dabble where they have not a clue, nor do they care! This like the green solyndra election payoff scam and many other criminal scams conducted with our money and still they want more of our money thru tax hikes. They all need to be brought into the townsquare and burned at the stake. Have you heard from your liberal friends yet? They should be paying their increased Obama taxes. If they did and they open thier traps just tell them they have to pay thier fair share!
And many of those ‘sales’ were government fleet sales.
Yep, subsidized government sales and many subsidized leases to the public.
But they get logged down the same and then touted much like Mike Manns hockey stick graph, now in the twentieth generation of his recent revisions.
I understand the prius creates large amounts of hazerdous waste to manufacture. Does anyone know if the volt causes the same issue?
The battery has hazardous waste for one.
Any electric vehicle has such an issue.
Gets swept under the rug, after all it’s a green vehicle”.
This article leaves out a few facts. Hybrids got tax subsidies and sales were very slow when they first came out. There are more plug in vehicles coming out in the next few years . The C-Max plug in version can’t keep up with demand.The 2013 Leaf will be an improvement over previous years at the same or lower price. Nissan is serious about making a successful EV car. The car and batteries will now be built in Tennessee. It will be to everyone’s benefit if EV cars succeed. The Tesla S Model can go from 0-60 in 4.4 sec with up to a 250 mile charge. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2016 Leaf will do that at a third of the price. Like a broken clock liberals have been right twice in this countries history and they both involved automobiles. Car safety and emissions.
Chevy Volt Deathwatch Ping.
I’m looking at ‘13 fusion hybrid. Maybe energi sedan. Considering es350 but don’t want to pay that much.
I’m severely skeptical of EV range, NY state gets cold at times, and batteries tend not to function well in the cold.
And range would suffer.
As for teh Tesla, if teh battery runs out fo juice, it bricks.
Replacement battery is 40K bucks, and MAYBE you wil have a working vehicle.
And that 40K is all out of pocket, not covered by warranty.
Yet in an interview with Jay Leno, Elon Musk claimed that Tesla doesn’t care about how little battery juice is laft.
Don’t trust Musk, he’s a slurper of taxpayer funding which he then risks instead of his cash.
In other words, the socialist economic model of ‘business’.
-He stick the risk onto others in exchange for preferencial business treatment.
It’s a Volt Revolt.
Couldn't agree more, you're dead on the mark.
Sadly, he has his fanboys that do post here.
Ran across one the other day.
Thanks, got an ecohippy across the street who’s set on buying a volt, can’t wait till he does so i can show him how eco unfriendly it is.
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