• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • GM Shuts Down Chevy Volt Production

    General Motors is halting production of the poorly selling Chevy Volt to accommodate a redesigned Chevy Impala. The impending four-week shutdown of the electric car represents yet another setback following news of disappointing sales for the second year in a row:

    General Motors Co. (GM), the largest U.S. automaker, is planning to stop production for about four weeks in September and October at the factory that makes Chevrolet Volt cars, two people familiar with the plan said.

    Sales of the plug-in hybrid sedan haven’t met Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson’s projections this year. Through July, GM sold 10,666 Volts in the U.S., according to researcher Autodata Corp. Akerson had aimed for sales of 60,000 globally, of which 45,000 would be delivered in the U.S. In June he said sales would probably total 35,000 to 40,000.

    GM says that it has planned for the production shutdown by building Volts ahead of anticipated demand while the car’s production is offline — a different reason than earlier production suspensions this year tied to poor sales:

    Malcho said the company “built ahead” with Volt production anticipating the shutdown so it will have enough vehicles on hand to meet demand.

    The assembly line shutdown will begin Sept. 17 and continue through Oct. 15, as GM readies for production of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the brand’s flagship full-size sedan.

    About 1,500 workers will be idled during retooling because the automaker builds multiple models on the same assembly line.

    GM was forced to idle Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly for two stretches this year because of sluggish demand for the Volt.

    The report said that GM expected August’s sales to be the best ever for the Volt — at just over 2,500 units. That’s about half of the number needed to reach the lower end of Akerson’s U.S. sales projections for 2012, which have been abandoned for now.

    But even slightly stronger consumer demand is buoyed by massive tax incentives and other government subsidies designed to make the electric vehicle — priced in the mid-$40,000 range — more enticing.

    For example, according to Chevrolet.com, residents of Colorado can combine a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 with a Colorado state income tax credit of up to $6,000 — the most generous offer nationwide. For Californians, the federal tax credit can be combined with a state rebate of $1,500. In Tennessee, in addition to the state income tax credit of $2,500, residents will receive a free charging station.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    64 Responses to GM Shuts Down Chevy Volt Production

    1. Stirling says:

      This is a great example of why when government creates (crony capitalism) that the end result is epic fail (at taxpayer expense), and why government should never get into the private sectors business. It was appauling to see the volt adds (on the taxpayer dime) as well. GM is STILL owned by the government, and will continue to fail as long as it is so.

      • Carney3 says:

        The Volt has nothing to do with the bailouts. GM began work on it in 2006 and if it had had to undergo a purely private sectory bankruptcy reorganization and had had no government takeover it would still have released the Volt as it always planned to do.

        And the Feds own only 27% of GM, down from 61% when the bailout started. The feds have already sold all their Chrysler stock. I don't agree with the bailout but you are overstating your case and getting your facts wrong.

        • Stirling says:

          The Volt IS part of GM thus it matters not when it began production. The fact GM WAS bailed-out (rather then going thru bankruptcy re-organization as it should of) IS fact. When government steps in where they change the natural course of the free market (to succeed or fail) there is no overstating the wrongness of the decision. You confirm my facts in yourr statement which is laughable as well.

      • PAUL says:

        This president oozes out failure and people want to keep him in power just to see how much pain they can endure. It's like if the passengers who survived the Titanic asked for another Captain, just like Capt. Smith, to take their next transatlantic journey. I love my kids too much to vote for this failure to stay in power.

      • JA, GM Supporter says:

        For the most part I agree, GM has set salse expectations too high, and being a GM supporter they need to give the Volt time to allow consumer to regain a comfort level with GM again, as well as allowing for the loss of credibility over the past 20 years and stop being so short sighted. The Volt could be a great seller and I am / was considering the purchase of the 2013 Volt, however GM seems to alway lose interest their cars just as they're getting it right; offer more incentives and invest into the future of the Volt knowing it will take some time to take hold. Is this is where quartly profits and short term gains out weigh the real potential to regain consumer confidence and deliver what could be a sold product to the American public?
        I'm hopeful that the GM investors and accountants will become invested for the long term and rebuild the US auto industry to where it should be, a world leader. Investing in the furture and constaint improvement is what put the Japanese auto industry so far ahead. Ahh, Dr. Edwards Deming… he use to work here, right?

    2. @voltdriver says:

      Wow. The article was posted today and you couldn't bother to get the current sales number of 2,831? Considering the Volt has been increasing in sales almost every month from 600 in January to almost 3,000, 8 months later, I think its safe to say the momentum is solidly on the upside, and not the downside as these authors are trying to convince you of.

      GM screwed up in giving sales estimates on a car like the Volt. All it has been is a target. But if the idiots writing these articles will both to take their heads out of their rears, there is remarkable sales acceleration which would indicate GM will have a solid performer in the Volt in the not too distant future.

      On the plant shutdowns… The plant was designed to make 60k Volts a year. It is making about half. That obviously means the plant is going to cycle on and off throughout the year. At the same point, the plant is adding lines so that the plant never has to shutdown. I guess the authors completely omit that when the plant comes back online, IT IS ADDING A SECOND SHIFT. They are going to be producing more cars total at the plant, not less.

      Get a clue

      • Bill says:

        You are out of your tree. Wake up and you will know the truth.

      • Norma says:

        How many of those 2,831 were cars that went to government agencies demanded by the Executive branch of our government?? Once again, the POTHUS "misspoke" when he talked about how our auto industry has come "roaring back!" If he were Pinocchio, his nose would be so long it would take the whole military force to support his face!

        Don't worry thought, I gave up listening to his "fabrications" about the second month of his Presidency. This is obviously a man who doesn't KNOW how to tell the truth by admitting that this government investment – TOO – is an utter failure!!!! Goodbye taxpayer $$$$ . . . . AGAIN!!!!

        • jrstoup says:

          Poor Norma. Don't you people get tired of trying to rewrite history?

          And you can find the answer to your question id you cared to look. Prepare yourself to be bitterly disapppointed as the answer is not what you are looking for.

        • @voltdriver says:

          For this month, I don't have the precise data. In past months when I bothered to look it up, it was less than 10% of total sales. Your 'fleet' purchase argument is just conjecture, and its off base.

      • Guillermo says:

        voltdriver, did you know GM is offering BIG incentives to move this failure of a car? They are selling the car at under invoice (on top of the tax payer funded $7500 tax credit) in hopes of making people believe the car is not as much of a failure as it truly is:


        • @voltdriver says:

          While ignoring you personal beliefs as to why Chevy incentivized Volt sales for this past month, because I think you are way off base, I will say that sales have been steadily going up, every month, without super incentives. This past month was a big jump, and the GM incentives definitely did not hurt. However, many car manufacturers incentivize their cars, especially when a new model comes out. Maybe you didnt know this. The 2013 Volt started SHIPPING IN AUGUST. So they had a lot of 12 inventory to help clear out. Has the volt been a slow starter? Sure. But it also isn't trending down, or flat. It has been up since January. Growing month to month cars sales doesnt indicate a failure to me. It indicates a car that people are beginning to understand and see value in.

          • Guillermo says:

            Sales have been going up every month because they have been offering incentives every month.

            And even 2013 Volts are being sold with incentives.

            When a car's goal for sales is a 45K units for a whole year (a number that was reduced several times) in a market that moves 20K Prius a month I and any unbiased person will consider 2800 highly incentivized sales (not to mention with a $7500 tax credit) a complete failure.

    3. Bobbie says:

      the exact reason the president and his unconstitutional government doesn't belong in business free to steal other peoples' money without forethought or thorough consideration and call it a stimulus to a failing, irresponsible, mismanaged company where government authority is all that worse with NO ACCOUNTABILITY! Just crisis and consequences by government design. Did GM get government approval to shut down their poor, government regulated design?

      • Carney3 says:

        First, GM began the Volt in 2006, when Bush was president.

        Second, Volt buyers get a tax break letting them keep more of their OWN money; they don't get anyone else's money. Last I checked tax cuts were not unconstitutional.

        Third, ALL cars sold in the US are government regulated, required to pass safety and mileage standards, etc. The Volt was not designed by government; again, GM did its design work on it when it was a purely private sector firm, pre-bailout. And far from being low quality, the Volt is an award winning car.

        • Stirling says:

          "Volt buyers get a tax break" This means Subsidized by taxpayers.. (That would be you if you pay taxes to this government). Nobody said the government designed it, but they push the agenda by being part of ownership.. Designed privately or not the Government due to the bailout bought it on the taxpayer dime and now own it.

        • Bobbie says:

          Government involvement is unconstitutional.
          Government regulations are excessive and if GM wants to build a product, safety standards is apart of the design. What did the government do that GM didn't think of already? What constituted hard earned money uninterested in purchase, paying for the stimulus?

      • Carney3 says:

        Here's a list of Volt awards, ignoring the environmental awards, just the awards it's won purely AS A CAR.

        2011 Car and Driver Ten Best Cars.

        2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

        2011 Automobile of the Year by Automobile Magazine.

        2011 North American Car of the Year announced at the 2011 North American International Auto Show. Forty-nine American and Canadian automobile writers chose the Volt. The nominees were judged based on "innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value".

        2011 Edison Award – Gold in the Transportation Category, Personal Transportation Segment.

        2012 Car of the Year in Denmark. In October 2011, 18 Danish motor journalists chose the Opel Ampera as "Car of the Year 2012" by a wide margin, despite being more expensive than the family cars the award usually goes to.

        2012 European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show.

        And it's not just the auto press and experts. Real world drivers love it. In fact the Volt got Consumer Reports HIGHEST consumer rating of ALL 2011 cars from ALL automakers.

        • Guillermo says:

          Awards don't mean much, the Chevrolet Citation (one of the worst car's ever) also won "Car of the Year".

          Sales show what cars are truly "winners" and the Volt sales show that it is a loser.

        • Bobbie says:

          when you have government approval anything is award winning. It doesn't make it so…

    4. Thomas says:

      Surrender already! Make this stop in production a permanent one. UNCLE!

    5. Fritz says:

      One needs to remember that GM is creating a market for electric autos that has not existed in the past. And, while GMs estimates may have been overly confident, each month the Volt is gaining share against other electrics. (Check out of the numbers.) So, let's not be so partisan in your reporting. We all know the ideological slant of your foundation. The real question is whether you are being fair or simply ideological.

      • Bobbie says:

        What's fair about anyone uninterested or even unknowingly, obligated to pay? Pay for your own interests and quit crying to government to steal for you. Let's not be so ignorant and demanding! Any gain in the market of government take overs is completely artificial and disingenuous. We all know what you call ideology on the right is the out and out thievery you choose to ignore from the left…

        • Carney3 says:

          Nobody's "stealing" – Volt buyers get a tax break and get to keep more of THEIR OWN MONEY, not get anyone else's.

          And even if tax dollars WERE expended, so what? We are at war and oil funds the enemy. Even Adam Smith favored subsidies for sail cloth so Britain would not be dependent on its enemies for that era's source of strategically vital transportation motive power. Even von Hayek supported government action to counter monopolies and cartels, and he was talking about PRIVATE SECTOR ones – even more justifiable then to act against a gang of governments which is what OPEC is.

          • Guillermo says:

            So you and other liebarals favor taxing rich people more but don't mind that people who make an average of $180K a year (average income of a Volt buyer) get $7500 from uncle sam "back"?

          • Bobbie says:

            What do you mean so what? why is our money stolen for someone elses benefit known as stimulus???

      • Guillermo says:

        GM is giving the car away, sales going "up" is a result of selling the car at under invoice pricing:

    6. anon says:

      The Volt's sales hit 2,831in August as GM reported a couple days ago. I'm guessing Volt sales will rise slowly over the next couple years and then explode as costs come down. By then GM will probably have a few different hybrids out or planned based on Volt tech though, and there will be stiff competition from other manufacturers as hybrid cars begin to taking over ICE cars.

      I like the obvious right slant this article has though. Remember though that the Bush administration set up the tax incentives, and instead of the photo of Obama getting in the Volt, you could have a photo of George Bush senior buying one for his son. Yes, the government is behind lithium ion (just like they were/are behind oil). If you did some research you'd understand that it's been a long long time in planning.

    7. Bruce says:

      Record sales of Volts in August. Beating all other EV sales globally. Also beating year for year sales performance of the Prius. I wouldn't exactly say poor sales.

      • Bill says:

        The government bought most of those vehicles. I think.

        • jrstoup says:

          Really Bill? Care to provide evidence, or are you just venting? You Volt haters must be going nuts, now that your becoming more isolated and irrelevant. Do yourself a favor and just let the hate go.

      • Guillermo says:

        That's because unlike Toyota GM is giving the cars away below invoice prices AND the car gets $7500 tax credit the Prius didn't get. In fact in the first year of Prius sales there were no tax credits for hybrids at all and gas was only ~$1.50 a gallon. Today in an even playing field GM resorted to giving the Volt away at a loss and sold 2831 units. Toyota sold over 21K Prius without $7500 credit and making a profit on the car.

    8. VoltOwner says:

      Update: August sales in the US were 2831 and that does not count exports of the Ampera that is produced alongside the Volt.

    9. Carney3 says:

      The Volt is not "poorly selling". In its first year it outsold the Prius compared to the Prius's first year, and the Prius is now a top seller, a major profit generator for Toyota. And this year the Volt will more than double last year's sales. The Prius once got the same grief the Volt gets now: brickbats over the tax breaks its buyers qualify for, jeers over its green ethos and appearance, hooting over the high initial price, etc. But Toyota was not rattled and calmly gave its car time to find its market. The Prius no longer qualifies for tax breaks because it has sold so many units, and no longer needs them because economies of scale have dropped the price of production so far that it is sold for a healthy profit even while the retail price has dropped almost 50%. If we're smart, we'll keep those incentives in place for the Volt and other plug-in cars to help the same thing happen. But do we have the same patience, long-term outlook, and discipline as the Japanese?

    10. Dignon says:

      The negative slant of this article is unwarranted. The Volt comes from an American company, built by American workers, and fueled by American resources.

      A record 2831 Volt's were sold in August. That's a year-over-year increase of 837.4%. The Volt sold in higher volume than 18 GM products for August, beating sales of Corvettes, Cadillac Escalades, Buick Regals, and GMC Yukons for example.

      Volt drivers are not sending petro dollars overseas, they are keeping the dollars home.

      P.S. President Bush signed the tax credit into law, and it applies to Toyota, Honda, Kia, BMW, Mercedes,and any other manufacturer, it is not reserved for the Chevy Volt.

      • Guillermo says:

        Giving the Volt away at below invoice pricing is what lead to this artificial increase in sales:

        And of course the Volt outsold the first year of the Prius, gas prices then were $1.50 a gallon and Toyota didn't give the cars away and didn't get $7500 tax credit. In fact at first there were no tax credits at all.

      • Bobbie says:

        Not reserved for the chevy volt but nothing stopped them from taking stolen money! Shows what kind of people are running the company. When government is involved, nothing is as it appears.

    11. mskz06 says:

      The Prius sold about 15,000 annually nationwide in its second year (2001) in the US. The Volt is at 13,000 with three months to go in its second year.

      p.s Toyota got subsidies for fuel efficient cars from Japan, there is no such thing as "free market", at least not yet.

      Toyota sells more than 10,000 Prius vehicles a month now in the US.

      • Guillermo says:

        Toyota got no subsidies from Japan, that is a lie the UAW pepetuated and was proven wrong.

        And BTW Toyota sells closer to 20K Prius a month (over 21K last month)

        Giving the Volt away at below invoice pricing is what lead to this artificial increase in sales:

        And of course the Volt outsold the first year of the Prius, gas prices then were $1.50 a gallon and Toyota didn't give the cars away and didn't get $7500 tax credit. In fact at first there were no tax credits at all.

    12. jrstoup says:

      Another nice try at disparaging the Volt, guys. Unfortunately for you, the Volt is ramping up nicely. You can spin and mislead in the headline any way you want, but I know and YOU know that doesn't change the ACTUAL facts. Compare the Volt sales history with ANY other electric car offering by anyone else. It is clearly the one on the rise. Must drive you crazy.

    13. Thu-ha Trinh says:

      On a positive note, over 2800 Volts sold in August, their best selling month yet. It'll be interesting to see what the numbers look like once gas hits $5/gallon.

    14. Adarondax says:

      So what? Is this the biggest news of the world you can find for this space?

    15. I am at pohanka Chevy right now. The red volt I wanted is already sold. Volts are flying off the lot now. Drives luxurious ly quiet. Looks great. Handles well. I love these Volts!

    16. dignon says:

      Please keep in mind the Bush tax credit for electric vehicles is only available to those who pay at least $7500 in taxes.

      This tax credit is the same as a tax credit for you get for home ownership, child care, etc. A tax credit reduces the taxes a person pays, it is not taking tax money from someone else.

      As a well to do Republican, I am in favor of any scheme that legally reduces my taxes. This is one of those, and I took FULL advantage. I now drive a luxury Volt instead of a luxury BMW. No regrets, and I'm saving $1500/year in gas over the BMW.

      The $32k (after tax credit) I paid is very affordable, but instead of spending $1500-$2000/year on gas, I'm saving it. BTW, my electric went up only $330/year.

    17. Carney3 says:

      Let's clearly remember what is at stake here. We are at war and oil funds our enemies. OPEC has more than 78% of commercially recoverable oil reserves while we have less than 2%, and yes that includes Arctic and offshore. Even maximum US oil drilling can be easily countered by OPEC production cuts that keep supplies artificially low and prices artifically high. The only way out of the oil trap is to break free from oil. We owe oil no loyalty. It is not free market and American: it is permanently and unfixably dominated by a gang of foreign regimes with government-monopoly, government-owned, government-run oil sectors.

    18. Carney3 says:

      50% of our electricity comes from coal, 20% each from natural gas and nuclear, 5% from hydro-electric dams, 2% from all the "green" stuff (solar, wind, etc.) put together. Only 3% comes from oil, down from nearly 20% in the 1970s. By breaking free from oil dependence for the vast majority of driving (local, everyday driving), the Volt is a key weapon in helping us re-direct our transportation energy spending away from jihad juice.

      Even Adam Smith favored sail cloth subsidies to prevent Britain from becoming dependent on its enemies for that era's source of transportation motive power. Was he another big government socialist? Heritage is a conservative group, not doctrinaire libertarians. National security trumps economic non-intervention.

      • Jim Illo says:

        I like your post, but your numbers are a little old. In the most recent data (2011), oil accounts for less than 1% of electrical generation. Natural gas is the biggest source fuel for electricity. followed by coal. This is aneven greater reason to support cars like the Volt – 99%+ of it's fuel is Made In USA!

      • Stirling says:

        America is sitting on more natural resources then Saudia Arabia has Oil Carney… Your stats don't include what resources have NOT been tapped by our energy companies and brought to market. Our dependence on Foreign oil would go away if Government and Enviromentalists would drop the "world is comming to an end" propaganda that limits our ability to tap our own energy at home. The EPA is currently using policy to shut down our coal energy which will also raise any electric cost that would give benefit to owning a volt. Don't buy into the hype, get the facts.

      • PAUL says:

        If you really believe this, STOP driving your car. Stop pumping that liquid into your tank that is energy from the past, and buy a bicycle. Do you own an electric car? Why even comment if you don't walk the talk. There's nothing like oil and coal and every-time you pump gas in your car, you prove my point.

    19. runner42 says:

      Obama Admin is pushing Volts while closing down power plants via EPA Regulations – Liberal logic!

    20. Charles says:

      As a Tennessean, I wasn't aware that Tennessee had a state income tax, or did I read that wrong. I wonder how much more of GM's statement is true.

      • Lynn Harris says:

        fact check–the internet says Tennessee does indeed have a state income tax, you just don't have enough
        investment income to realize that fact.

    21. PaulE says:

      The federal government's response to this will be to mandate more federal agencies order Chevy Volts. More crony capitalism at work via our tax dollars. Sad and truly pathetic, but that's how Washington thinks these days.

    22. PaulE says:

      By the way, the federal government is already the single largest buyer of this over-priced, under-performing tribute to the gods of the "green economy".

    23. Claus says:

      There is a long tradition for gov't to help decrease risk of next-gen technology development. Electric cars will be an important part of the future and would you surrender those car sales to Toyota?
      A few million (~15M) are spent per month on supporting technology development and this has many of you quite irate even though that will have positive effect on the knowledge base in the US. What matters should be the bilions poored into farm subsidies and other completely wasteful programs.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.