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 |  Mar 02 2012, 4:47 PM

Earlier today we reported that the Chevrolet Volt sales nearly doubled in February, but doesn’t seem to have made a difference.

General Motors announced today that Volt production will stop for five weeks from March 19 through April 23 in order to curb rising inventories of the plug-in hybrid.

“We need to maintain the right inventory levels and continue to meet demand,” GM spokesman Chris Lee said.

1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant will be temporarily laid off as the plant shuts down. At the end of February, GM had a total of 6,300 Volts left in inventory, which could last them almost half a year based on current sales rates.

The Volt is an important vehicle to Chevrolet, but also the industry as a whole. As the flagship range-extended EV to land in the American market, it serves as a barometer for EV sales sustainability.

There’s no question other companies that are later to the party, like Ford with its all-electric Focus, will be watching closely. If the Volt continues to suffer, it might be a strong indicator of how other manufacturers approach the EV market.

On the up side, if the Volt continues to be a poor seller, folks may find the price dropping to a more palatable level than the current $39,145 MSRP, which could represent substantial savings when paired with federal tax credits.

[Source: Automotive News]