Chevy Volt turns one, what's next?
To date GM has fallen short of it's lofty sales target for the Volt. They expected to sell 10,000 Volts in a one-year period, but they have fallen short of that goal by about 40%. They have only sold around 6,000 Volts around the country. (Not surprising from a company that keeps making promises it cannot keep.)
For GM, the Volt is an important car that represents technological advancements and goals for the future. It also has helped keep up the company's image against rival automakers.
GM felt the impending power of the Toyota Prius and all the love, attention, and prestige Toyota got from building that hybrid. The Prius is undeniably the most recognized “green” vehicle on the road. Toyota now plans to turn Prius into a whole line-up of vehicles.
As well the pressure also came from Tesla, a silicon valley upstart that is building slick and fast electric cars. Tesla has changed the car industry for the better and forced GM to rethink how they think about building cars.
While GM's image has improved with the Volt, to a certain degree the company's image is still marred by the EV1 disaster. It is hard to forget how stupid a decision that was. As well as the imagery of the cars being crushed and EV1 drivers protesting GM taking the electric cars back.
GM now longer has to feel behind in the electric car market. (GM execs, should be on your hands and knees thanking Bob Lutz for that!) However, the Volt represents a big dilemma for GM.
While it makes good PR, will it make money? The answer is most likely “No”, even with the $7,500 a consumer can apply for when purchasing a Volt.
GM still owes huge debt to the government and Treasury. It has yet to payback large portions of the taxpayer backed loans, and GM's stock price is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Most likely meaning the government will not be able to divulge shares, unless they want to take substantial losses.
If the company wants to actually make money, they need to be focusing on cars people can buy and drive everyday. They have had good efforts, such as the new Chevy Sonic. However, having driven the Sonic against the competition, there is no way I would recommend buying one. Ask a majority of automotive media and they will tell you that the 2013 Chevy Malibu feels dated. This is a car that will not even be available to buy for awhile.
GM made the right decision building and selling the Volt. Dan Akerson, GM's CEO, hopes to get 60,000 Volts on the road. Of course this is just another empty promise from a company that needed my money and your money to stay afloat.
Please contact Adam Yamada-Hanff – firstname.lastname@example.org – for comments, questions, or topics. You can also follow him on Twitter @AdamsAutoAdvice