Chevy Volt Production Resumes At Triple SpeedBy John O'Dell July 22, 2011
General Motors resumed production of the range-extended Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid this week after a six-week retooling shutdown of the sole Volt assembly plant. The cars now rolling off the line at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck facility are all 2012 models and include the North American, European and Asian Volt models and their European siblings, the Opel and Vauxhall Ampera. The factory improvements have enabled GM to nearly triple the pace of production, said company spokesman Rob Peterson, and GM now is looking at a total of 16,000 Volts by the end of the year -- including 3,500 slated for overseas sales and 2,500 for U.S. dealer demonstration models -- and 60,000 next year, including 45,000 for the North American market.
The 2012 Volt will start appearing in dealerships shortly, Peterson said. That's good for GM, because as of this week there were fewer than 100 unsold 2011 models in the pipeline. GM has delivered about 4,400 Volts so far. Some of the early 2012s will go to fleet buyers and to dealerships for use as demonstrator models as GM begins to broaden sales to all 50 states from a handful of early adopter areas, such as California. GM intends to have Volts at dealerships in every state by the end of the year, Peterson said.
The automaker announced last month that it is reconfiguring the Volt lineup for 2012 to provide an "entry level" model that, at $39,995, costs $1,005 less than the cheapest 2011 Volt. The new base model, however, comes without the Volt's high-end Bose stereo system or the in-dash navigation system. The top-end model will start at $46,265. Lease prices for the 2012 models haven't been announced; the 2011 models started at $349 with a $2,500 cash payment up front. In all, GM will sell Volts in seven trim packages for 2012, versus three in 2011. The Volt, EPA-rated at 63 mpg overall with its grid-charged battery and on-board gasoline engine-generator both in use, qualifies for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500 as well as for various state and regional incentives.