GM stalls Chevy Volt production

With few benefits and many faults, the new hybrid electric vehicle hits a sales wall.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 5, 2012 12:29PM
General Motors (GM) has idled production of the Chevrolet Volt because it had difficulty finding people crazy enough to buy the hybrid electric vehicle.

For one thing, the four-door sedan is insanely expensive. With a sticker price of about $41,000, it is pricier than much nicer cars made by Audi, BMW and even GM's sister brand Cadillac. 

The car isn't worth the money once the green aura is stripped from it. Reviewers at and Car and Driver, who otherwise liked the car, both noted the Volt's small backseat and subpar gasoline mileage. Electric vehicles are not practical for many Americans because of the lack of public charging stations. 

"Currently, 48 of 50 states have fewer than 10 charging stations, and even California's relative abundance of 422 pales in comparison to its roughly 10,400 gas stations," according to Car and Driver. "In other words, it's going to be some time before charging while at work or out on the town becomes the norm; for now, EVs' batteries will be replenished largely at home."

As previously noted here on Top Stocks, Consumer Reports had harsh words for the Volt, saying it would be a "tough sell" to average consumers -- even though Volt owners are eligible for a $7,500 tax break. Reports of Volts catching fire scared away consumers, too. Some bought the Toyota Prius, and others acquired more conventional vehicles like the Chevy Cruise, which gets better mileage than the Volt for about half the price. 

The world's largest automaker is not ready to throw in the towel on the Volt yet. According to the The Wall Street Journal, GM plans a new marketing campaign and will lower the monthly lease payment to $350 from $399. Again, this raises a question of value. Drivers can lease a Mercedes Benz C-Class Sedan, Cadillac CTS Coupe or BMW 128i for similar rates. 

The Volt is a niche product that will appeal to consumers who want to show the world they are concerned about the environment and wealthy enough not to be concerned about the vehicle's economic impracticality. But that is a tiny universe. Perhaps future generations will look at the Volt as a watershed development in the auto industry that hastened the demise of the gasoline-powered engine. That day, though, won't be arriving for a while.

Jonathan Berr used to write for New Fuels Report, an alternative-fuel-vehicle newsletter. He owns no shares of the companies listed here.
Tags: gm
Didn't Obama say just the other day that he would buy a Volt as soon as he's out of office? They better save him one for next January 21.
Mar 5, 2012 2:52PM

But Barrack Obama will continue to demonize fossil fuel.  I have a question about electric cars.  Lets say 50% of the autos were electric.  Does anyone believe that our current power GRID could handle the  increased demand for electric power?


We can't even get new power plants built to handle the normal increase in business and consumer demand currently required due to EPA standards.  We will start having BROWN OUTS soon due to our stupidity and our GOVERNMENT demanding WINDMILLS AND SOLAR PANELS.


Since our President is so positive about SOLAR ENERGY, I purpose we take the TURBINE ENGINES OFF AIR FORCE 1 and replace them  with SOLAR PANELS and WINDMILLS.  Will BARRACK OBAMA step up to the plate and fly in this SOLAR PLANE?


Even with tax incentives SOLAR and WIND do not work.  If you had WINDMILLS providing all of your power, would you be happy when the wind speed was not high enough for the WINDMILL to provide you power when you turned your 50 inch Flat Screen TV on to watch MARCH MADNESS.


I call this situation ObAMA MADNESS!!!

Mar 5, 2012 3:22PM
I don't understand. Where are all the enviromentalists and anti-oil crusaders to buy all these vehicles?? According to the news and polls, that should be half of Americans buying these!!
Mar 5, 2012 3:20PM
All the people that believe in this electric car crap should go out and buy a volt. They're only $45,000 they will save $200 during the first ten years alone, from the price difference from coal fired electricity over gasoline.  I think they break even in about a hundred years.
Mar 5, 2012 5:18PM
Hey, obama wanted it.  And it has worked out like most everything else he has wanted.  Stupid in. Stupid out.
Mar 5, 2012 3:39PM

Right now, the USA needs a solution to the personal transportation needs for the MANY,to reduce our use of oil...TODAY....and that alternative is the small DIESEL! 


Not battery cars,or the Volt. Maybe some time down the road,but NOT today.


Yes..right now,people in Europe are enjoying their 75mpg diesel powered cars! Every day.


 In the future,biodiesel can power those exact same cars!!  Google it.  A renewable fuel!! 


Battery cars will always be nothing more than a conversation piece for those who daydream..not viable. Batteries just can't do as much as cars need.


However,for those who want a dependable,long range 75 mpg vehicle, has to look no further than the clean,modern diesel!  The EPA doen't want them..because...?? (..they are bought and paid for puppets of politicians)


The Volt is/was a silly sell a gasoline powered vehicle as an electric car..oops..I guess people aren't as STUPID as GM had hoped. 


Too bad the USA govt is so blind to the perfect solution for todays needs: small DIESELS!! 

Mar 5, 2012 4:06PM
everyone who voted for obama should be made to buy and drive this piece of crap.
Mar 5, 2012 5:26PM
$42,000+ vehicle bought "statistically" by households earning $175,000.  Taxpayers must foot the bill for the $7,500 buying incentive.  Most owners buy the "in home" charger too.  The Volt was doomed before it first rolled off the line.  Taxpayers hosed again!
Mar 5, 2012 3:15PM
Chalk the Volt right up there with the Yugo, only it costs twenty time more, and wouldn't go as far.  
Mar 5, 2012 5:17PM
Who in their right mind would spend $41,000 on this useless hunk of junk.  Besides being ridiculously expensive for what it is the gas mileage is mediocre & given the recent fire issues this product will be hard to sell.  The Chevy Volt will take the same path as the Pontiac Aztec, Cadillac Cimarron & the Chevy Vega. 
Mar 5, 2012 3:32PM
Well, time for another Obama tax payer paid investment stimulus. Lets see Solyndra, Evergreen Energy, Ener1, Spectra Wall, Chevy Volt......what a great business man Obama is. He's by far the greatest president ever! Can anyone say......2nd term?!??? Keep helping out the country liberal, you're doing a great job!
Mar 5, 2012 4:19PM
Just thinking about all of those GM creditors that had their contracts torn up by Obama and were told to f*ck off and eat the loss so he could save the UAW during the restructuring. How many Americans lost their jobs when those companies went under? Karma is a b*tch.
Mar 5, 2012 3:56PM

GM made the same mistake with the Volt that they made with the Diesel 20+ years ago.  They took a gasoline engine, modified ti to diesel, and it was a tremendous FLOP


Not to be outdone, by a new bunch of brilliant MBA's, they have made the Volt, a gasoline car modified to electirc.  It only goes 25-30 miles on a 12 hour charge.  That is a FLOP.


What's worse, the President has hitched his wagon to the Volt, Solar energy and other FLOPS that are an embarrassment to the US Government and a complete waste of tax dollars.


If is worth doing, and can be done profitibly, the private sector will do it.  When government gets involved it is almost always becasue there is no future in the idea.  Politicians have no busienss experience, and therefore, only know how to waste money.

Mar 5, 2012 1:30PM
What Mercedes can you lease for $399 without putting $7,000 down for?
Mar 5, 2012 4:52PM
no sh** gubment motors halted production! ford focus sold 20k units while volt sold a measly 1000 units. this is what happens when an incompetent car company makes an electric car with virtually the same tech as the one they made 100 years ago. what idiot would pay 43k for that POS even with a $7500 taxPAYER paid rebate? see what happens when a "community organizer" picks and chooses.   
Mar 5, 2012 4:33PM
Intersting this story is all the way at the bottom of todays headlines..libbys just cant stand to be wrong.......again
Mar 5, 2012 3:09PM
I still haven't heard anyone say how we're going to deal with the shortage of Rare Earth materials that it would take to build a country full of electric cars. There are 200,000,000 automobiles in the U.S.  Chevy has made how many? 9,000? That's 199,991,000 to go...
Mar 5, 2012 5:16PM
Need to slap some solar panels and a wind generator on top of those babys!! Also dont forget the seaweed gas!!!
Mar 5, 2012 4:19PM
the car was hot as a concept. Then they came out with what looked like everybody else's  car. Then they charged an outrageous price for a car of its class; and expect people to buy it in this economic environment. The OLD GM is BACK!!!
Mar 5, 2012 5:13PM
On Feb 28th, President Obama said "
“Five Years From Now, When I’m Not President, I’ll Buy One Myself”"

It's my fervent hope he's as wrong about the former as he was about the latter.

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