GM Powers Down the Volt -- Again

The Chevy Volt can't seem to gain traction.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that General Motors (NYS: GM) is idling production of the plug-in car that also has a small gas tank for the times when the roughly 40 miles its gets on electric between charges isn't enough.

Volt production at the Michigan plant will be suspended on Sep. 17, resuming again on Oct. 12.

This isn't the first time that GM has put the Volt assembly line on hold. There was a five-week production halt in March, and that was on the heels of an extended holiday stoppage.

The Volt just isn't selling well. Industry tracker Autodata shows that just 10,666 vehicles have been leased or sold, and that includes the ridiculously cheap lease deals that Chevy introduced earlier this year to clear the specialty cars off dealer lots.

GM was originally hoping to produce 60,000 Volts this year, targeting 45,000 for stateside consumption.

Well, that's obviously not going to happen. Autodata reports that there were 6,450 Volts collecting dust in showrooms at the end of last month, far more inventory than dealers would like to keep on hand.

Demand for plug-in vehicles remains lukewarm. Sure, Tesla Motors (NAS: TSLA) has a long waiting list for the Model S sedans it began delivering this summer, but Tesla's a prolific all-electric poster child that's only making thousands of cars this year.

The niche has been weighed down by a slow economic recovery that has held back appetite for pricy electric rides. A surprising downturn in gasoline prices heading into the critical summer season also played a part in squashing demand, though oil prices are starting to move higher lately.

It also doesn't help that the actual batteries that fuel electric journeys have generated unflattering headlines. Lithium ion battery maker A123 went as far as issuing a recall, and even a few of the original Tesla Roadsters had to deal with dead batteries.

Getting the story out
My wife bought a Volt in February, and she certainly doesn't regret it.

She still hasn't had to gas it up. She gets more inquisitive looks and questions than if she were driving a six-figure Italian sports car.

She and 10,665 drivers like her are not good enough this year, though Volt owners are generally more than happy to play brand ambassadors. Whether it's GM's own marketing shortcomings or consumers just aren't ready to pay more for the conveniences of electric, it's an uphill battle to reach a closed factory.

Hit the road
Tesla is revving up to be another potential winner recommended in the Rule Breakers newsletter service, but there's a different stock that has Fool analysts excited as well. A new special report reveals Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. It's free, but only for a limited time, so check it out now.

The article GM Powers Down the Volt -- Again originally appeared on

The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Investor’s Toolbox

Improve your investing savvy with the right financial toolset.

View Course »

Portfolio Basics

What are stocks? Learn how to start investing.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

1 Comment

Filter by:

what do you expect ??? The only Americans that can buy the Volt are in the Government and are the ones pushing for all these insane California emmisions laws and all these futuristic electric cars that have not been tested ...45,000.00 is nothing to a senator that makes 5-7 times what the average American worker makes in this economy...There are no affordable cars for the high school kids and the college kids that are all ready in debt..Its the American dream to work your entire life law abiding taxpayer and when you retire and your house is finnally paid for that you buy yourself a brand new car from your ssi or retirement check..that is if you havent lost your home...The only problem is that on your retirement check all the seniors can afford is about 8500.00-9500.00 dollars...right around 175 a month for a car tha should get them 45 mpg..Like the GEO Metro ...with an 80 thousand mile warranty..and you know everybody would be happey and there would be plenty of used cars around for the college kids and the high school kids that they could afford to run and maintain..inexdpensive transportation...thats what we want, thats what we need...

August 30 2012 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply