The Chevrolet Volt
Patrick Rall's picture

The great year continues for Chevy Volt, crushing the Nissan Leaf in August 2012 sales

General Motors predicted that the Chevrolet Volt would have its best month ever with more than 2,500 units sold and as the August 2012 sales statement has been issued, the Volt has vastly exceeded that number - moving a whopping 2,831 units and continuing the landslide beating of the Nissan Leaf.

The good news for Nissan is that the Japanese automaker delivered 685 copies of their Leaf electric vehicle in August 2012, marking the best month of the year for the popular Japanese EV. Unfortunately for Nissan, there is also the bad news that the Chevrolet Volt sold more than 4 times as many copies in August, as the electric Chevy posted its best sales month ever with 2,831 units sold. Also, even though 685 deliveries of the Nissan Leaf is the best figure of the year – it is still a far cry from the 1,709 unit monthly best for the Leaf (June 2011). Nissan can also look on the bright side of things, considering the fact Leaf deliveries bounced back in August after an abysmal month in July that saw just 395 Leaf EVs delivered.

On the other hand, there is only good news for General Motors as their Chevrolet Volt saw its best sales month of the 2012 and the best month ever since being introduced late in 2010. The previous best sales month for the Volt was March 2012 when Chevrolet sent out 2,289 copies of the electric Chevy but with 2,831 units sold last month – August 2012 became a new record month in the electric vehicle segment in the USA. Last month’s sales volume accounts for an improvement of 837.4% compared to August 2011. On the year, General Motors has now delivered 13,497 Chevrolet Volt sedans – up 325.5% compared to the 3,172 units GM sold through the first 8 months of 2011. More importantly, this figure allows GM to boast that they have sold more than three times as many copies of their electric vehicle compared to the next closest EV – which happens to be the Nissan Leaf with only 4,228 units sold this year. At the current average of 1,687 Volts delivered per month, GM is on pace to move around 20,246 Volts in 2012.

And weren’t some politicians insisting that the Chevrolet Volt would fail?

The Chevrolet Volt is continuing to grow in popularity and a big part of that growth could be the fact that the car is becoming more available to more consumers in addition to more consumers understanding how the technology works. While the high price of the battery technology is hurting the profit margin on the Volt, the electric Chevy gives GM a very strong leg to stand on in the booming market of electric vehicles. The Volt is a great car with impressive electric range but more importantly – there is no need to worry about running out of juice thanks to the range extended gasoline engine. As the popularity of the Volt continues to grow and the cost to the automaker of the battery technology slowly comes down, GM will have an advantage in the segment once more automakers get involved in the EV market due to lower costs.

It will be interesting to see how the sales figures of the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf look once the Ford Focus Electric becomes readily available to consumers around the US. The main issue facing the Nissan Leaf is the company’s inability to build enough models to meet the demand of the initial 20,000 pre-orders made in 2010. However, meeting demand shouldn’t be a problem for the Ford Focus Electric so the new Ford EV could cut into the sales of the all-electric Leaf and possibly the Volt as well. However, with the Volt continuing to be the most affordable range-extended EV in the US market – it could continue to appeal more to the average American driver who simply drives too many miles to rely on an all-electric model.

The best news for General Motors and the Chevrolet Volt is that the 2013 models, which are now hitting dealerships around the country, offer better overall driving range, better electric range and better fuel economy than the 2012 models. The new EV Hold/Highway mode should help the Volt appeal to more commuters who spend lots of time each day on the highway and that could attract more buyers to the dealership.


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Comments

The Volt is the best selling plug-in vehicle in the world this year. Why some people or groups would be against this car makes you wonder why..... MrEnergyCzar
If the VOLT was so good, why are they shutting down production for a month? Sales projections were pegged at 45,000 for this year. They will be lucky to try to get to a half of that. Why overhype this vehicle? The vast majority of the public isn't interested in it and it's probably because the vast majority cannot afford it at $41,000, plus the Dealer Incentive Fee of $7,000- $8,000 that some of the dealers are tacking on to it.
I had heard that dealers are charging an extra fee not chopping the price. I know I tried to get a discount and couldn't. The shut down according to USA Today: GM will suspend Chevrolet Volt production -- the second halt this year -- but says it's to retool for Impala, not slow Volt sales
The Volt is outselling the Corvette. I guess that also is a failure. rad
The problem with comparing the Volt and LEAF is that the Volt is not a real electric car. It's just a plug-in hybrid. It has a tailpipe, gas tank, gas cap, spark plugs, oil changes, etc. The real competition for the Volt is the Toyota Prius. The comparison (competition?) between the Volt and the LEAF was created by GM and now their current effort to "Kill the Electric Car". GM has the most eco-corrupt history of any car maker and is no friend to the environment. People who drive real electric cars know this.