Citing Supply Shortage, GM Boosts Volt InventoryBy John O'Dell November 8, 2011
Heeding Chevrolet dealers calls for more supply of the Volt plug-in hybrid, General Motors on Monday said that dealerships could begin selling the 2,300 demonstration Chevy Volt models (above) that the automaker had been requiring them to keep on their lots. The move will more than double retail Volt inventory, to 4,100 from 1,800. GM said an additional 1,100 of the range-extended plug-ins are in transit from the factory to dealerships. The move came after dealers in many markets complained that they had more Volt customers than cars to sell. Volt sales are being closely watched because GM has said it would move 10,000 of the cars in its first full year on the market -- the Chevrolet Volt was introduced last December-- but through October had sold only 5,300.
GM says the demand is there but that production was slow in the first months after the car was introduced. The automaker shut down Volt production for a month in the summer to update the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in order to double production capacity and says supplies are increasing. But the slow start means GM is now rushing to hit the 10,000 mark by selling nearly as many Volts this month and next as it did in the first 10 months of the year. GMs ability to hit the sales goal is considered by many -- supporters and cynics as a referendum on the market for advanced-technology vehicles featuring expensive rechargeable battery systems. GM said that dealers will receive $1,500 to account for depreciation and the costs of readying the demonstrators for market but must sell the low-mileage demos by Jan. 3 to qualify for the cash and must replace the demonstrators with new models by the end of January.