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After a half a decade of build-up, sales of the Chevrolet Volt are not going as planned. With a targeted goal of moving 10,000 units in its first full year on sale GM moved 7,671, leading to speculation that the American auto giant won’t be able to meet its lofty forecast for 60,000 sales in 2012.
Further casting doubt upon the success of the Volt is the fact that the rival Nissan Leaf (a fully electric vehicle), met its 10,000 unit sales target, despite the fact that (as GM’s Volt commercials accurately point out), the Volt is better suited to the needs of vastly more American consumers.
With a now-resolved crisis over the cars that could catch fire, GM is facing another roadblock, it’s dealers. According to a new report by Automotive News, Chevy dealers across the country are rejecting mass-allocations of Volts. In New York City GM offered 104 Volts to its 14 local dealers last month. Dealers only took 31.
Even dealers that have had no problem selling their Volt inventory in the past are now being cautions. Brett Hedrick, of Hedrick’s Chevrolet in Clovis, Calif., said he’s turned down offers by GM the past two months.
The news of low dealer orders has been confirmed by GM PR rep Rob Peterson, citing the misinformation surrounding the car’s recent safety concerns. Still, according to GM North America President Mark Reuss, supply, rather than demand, is the automaker’s biggest problem.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Chevrolet Volt was a big part of the restructuring deal General Motors had with the Obama Administration, when it applied for bail-out money.
Now that the vehicle is here, it is not without its problems. Sales of this plug-in hybrid have not been great, and these days, everyone is talking about the recent crash-related fires.
In the last few months, some Volt’s have caught fire and many believe it was linked to its battery system.
Now GM is working on a solution to prevent any future fire issues with the battery. The proposed solutions include laminating the circuitry in the battery, reinforcing the case around the battery pack, and better protecting the coolant system from leaks in a severe accident.
The cost of fixing the issue will cost GM roughly $1,000 per Volt, or about $9-million. This solution, if it works, will still be a lot cheaper than it would be to redevelop a new battery from scratch.
Many believe that the government knew about the risks involved with the Volt, but hid the information to give this car a chance to sell. Negative publicity is never a good thing for a new product, especially one it’s banking its future on. A U.S. Housing committee will meet in January to investigate this matter in more detail.
Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) said on Monday that it does not plan to change its five-star rating for the Volt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has no plans to change its five-star rating for the Volt. Consumers look at results from both these parties to determine which vehicles are safe.
Meanwhile, GM’s CEO Dan Akerson said that the company would buy back any Volt from a concerned customer, or provide any loaner vehicle to its customer while the Volt is being fixed. Will this gesture work? Time will tell. But since the Volt wasn’t flying out of the showroom’s in the first place, the current negative publicity could really damage its future sales.
[Source: Automotive News]
Not so long ago, Volvo had announced that it was working on a plug-in hybrid version of their V60 wagon. Now according to Volvo, the V60 may be out by as early as next year.
Volvo said it is working on two variants, a gas-electric plug-in hybrid for North America, and a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid for the rest of the world. Volvo’s system, which uses lithium-ion batteries to power the electric motors, has a range of 31-miles on battery power alone, after which the combustion engine will kick in to take you home.
No figures are known what the gas-electric versions will achieve, but the European diesel-electric version is said to be good for 124-mpg.
With the combustion engine powering the front wheels, and the 70-hp electric motors powering the rear, this is effectively an all-wheel drive vehicle also. Volvo said it will be more expensive than a regular V60, but will cost two-thirds less to run.
The V60 Plug-In Hybrid will go on sale in 2012, first in Europe, followed by the rest of the world in the same year.
[Source: Motor Authority]
After unveiling the EV Concept at the Paris Auto Show, Dodge made a concerted effort to keep the publicity ball rolling by showcasing the Tangerine colored Circuit EV Prototype at the Detroit Auto Show.
Running on a pure electric engine, the Circuit will hit 60 mph in less than five seconds and accelerate through the quarter mile in just 13 seconds. Top speed has been limited to 125 mph. Possibly more impressive than the performance is the Circuit’s range. Dodge claims the sportscar will achieve 150 to 200 miles on a single charge.
Official release after the jump: Continue Reading…