GM to shut down Chevy Volt plant for four weeks — for the second time this year

posted at 8:36 pm on August 27, 2012 by Allahpundit

They’ve already sold many more units this year than they did last year, thanks in large part to a little help from the California legislature. Not only do you get to use car-pool lanes there if you’re driving a Volt, you get a $1,500 state rebate on top of your $7,500 federal tax credit. Don’t underestimate government’s ability to make this overpriced novelty popular by piling incentive upon incentive to induce you to buy it. All Congress needs to do is pass a law granting the Volt a special speed-limit exemption on the interstate and GM might be viable again.

As for now, though, even with the increase lately, the company still can’t sell enough cars to justify running the plant all year round:

GM will close its Detroit-Hamtramck plant from Sept. 17 until Oct. 15, one of the sources said. Union representatives last week told the plant’s roughly 1,500 workers about the scheduled downtime, the source said…

Volt demand has picked up this year, after sales last year fell short of GM’s goals. GM sold 10,666 Volts through July, more than triple the 2,870 sold during the same period a year earlier.

GM executives have attributed the sales increase to strong demand for a low-emissions version of the Volt that qualifies for California’s coveted carpool lanes, which GM launched in March. Previous versions of the Volt didn’t qualify.

Volt inventories have been whittled down, too, to 6,500 units, or 84 days’ worth, as of Aug. 1. On March 1, just before the last production shutdown, GM had 154 days’ worth.

They shut the plant down from late March to late April too. Believe it or not, at one point earlier this year, they were hoping to sell 45,000 Volts in the U.S. alone. Yeah.

Exit question: is GM headed for bankruptcy — again?


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Governor Abercrombie became best friends with Barry O’bama Senior and Ann Dunham in the late 1950s when they were all Marxist College Kids at Manoa.

Del Dolemonte on August 27, 2012 at 9:35 PM

I’ve actually talked to Governor Abercrombie by phone (I work in a call center). He was very friendly and professoinal, but knowing about his horrible leftisit poicies I’d never vote for the guy.

Benedict Nelson on August 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM

I wonder what happened to all the Volts that the residents of Green Weenieville were supposed to buy with the double incentive ? $7,500 from the Government and an additional $ 7,500 from the ‘Green Peanut’ group. By the way; the Government gave the ‘Green Peanuts more then a few million so they could offer the incentive and install charging stations in ‘Weenieville’. Dare I say that it is OUR taxpayer money that is being given away.

BillyPenn on August 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Park in them.

I do in my gas guzzling SUV with a Romney sticker on the back.

Its enough to put them into fits of rage that are really quite funny.

Defenestratus on August 27, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Just as long as they don’t push you out a window. :P

Benedict Nelson on August 27, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Chevy Ohm…..how about the Chevy Watt? What? Watt.

oldroy on August 27, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Abbott and Costello, eat your hearts out!!!

Benedict Nelson on August 27, 2012 at 10:17 PM

At then “Physics” and “Economis” will always win. Neither the “Physics” nor the “Economics” are there for the success of an electric car like the Chevy Volt… Howver the low IQ liberals has no damn clue about Physics or Economics… At the end even the vast majority of the educated among them have stupid degrees in arts and humanities where they are not able mentally to comprehend Physics and Economis… There is a reason why the vast majority of engineers and people in technical fields are conservatives…

mnjg on August 27, 2012 at 10:20 PM

rokemronnie on August 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM

I like your arguments from an intellectual point of view.

And yes it is a niche vehicle. It simply makes zero sense from a TCO point of view at all but it is an interesting oddity.

If the price was slashed in half it might possibly be worth a punt. Maybe. If you trust GM build quality and aren’t worried about that whole dying in a plasma fireball problem in car crashes.

CorporatePiggy on August 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM

GM is coordinating their 2012 furloughs to manipulate unemployment figures. In 2010&2011, their furloughs lasted through the summers. This year, they break them up to show upticks in employment.

Union paybacks for saving their benes…

socalcon on August 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Saw what you did there. That was funny, and I didn’t follow the link.

KCB on August 27, 2012 at 8:53 PM

..just the Wiki explanation of “Ohm”.

The War Planner on August 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

It comes with ample headroom and leg room…

JetBoy on August 27, 2012 at 9:17 PM

..dead thread, but I gotta tell you, that’s one Joule of a comment!

The War Planner on August 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

GM executives have attributed the sales increase to strong demand for a low-emissions version of the Volt that qualifies for California’s coveted carpool lanes

Yeah? “Strong demand”? Is that why they’re offering ZERO PERCENT financing?

And HOW MANY of those Volts were purchased by the Feds? How many by General Electric?

GarandFan on August 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I was waiting for it to explode into flames.

Interesting that the lady did not have to swipe her credit card when she plugged in.

My local Whole Paycheck store has parking spots for e-cars next to the handicapped/fat people scooter spots, but they require a credit card to get the juice turned on.

I’ve never seen one parked yet.

Robert Jensen on August 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Der Fuhrer and his Voltsvagen are dragging everything down.

Christian Conservative on August 27, 2012 at 11:39 PM

What good is any of this if it loses the company money?

blink on August 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Toyota lost money on the Prius for the first few years of production. Your grocery store loses money on the turkey they sell you for Thanksgiving. It’s not whether this or that individual product is profitable, it’s whether the enterprise as a whole is.

There’s a phrase you sometimes hear around the car biz: “buggy whip manufacturers”. When the automobile was first introduced, those in the horse business disregarded it. They didn’t realize they weren’t in the horse business, but rather the transportation business. You never want to be a buggy whip manufacturer ignoring that your world is about to be turned upside down. It’s easy to laugh at GM’s Segways on steroids, the EN-V urban transportation pods, but if companies don’t want to be left behind, they have to do some blue sky research, even if those research projects aren’t profitable or even practical at this time.

All of the major car companies have advanced research programs that don’t generate any revenue within any reasonable time frame. Most car companies produce fleets of test cars that end up being crushed, like GM’s original electric car, the EV1.

Then there are the “compliance” cars that companies build just to satisfy the California Air Resources Board. They lose money on those cars so they can turn a profit selling their other products in CA.

So the fact that GM doesn’t make money on the Volt is not in and of itself a matter of concern. The fact that Akerson and his team are botching the rollout of the new Malibu is far more disturbing. The “D segment” is the heart of the market, that’s where the Camry and Accord and Sonata and Fusion and Altima and and and… duke it out. Those cars each sell in the hundreds of thousands of units per year.

A successful launch of the new Malibu is much more important to GM’s health than how many Volts they sell.

rokemronnie on August 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM

If the price was slashed in half it might possibly be worth a punt. Maybe. If you trust GM build quality and aren’t worried about that whole dying in a plasma fireball problem in car crashes.

CorporatePiggy on August 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM

The entire “Volt is a fire hazard” issue is, to put a fine point on it, bullsh1t. You’re dealing with two things that provoke primal fears, fire and electricity. A single Chevy Volt that had been crash tested and then overturned caught fire three weeks after that test. It needs to be pointed out that that Volt was tested with a fully charged battery, wiring intact. Compare that to how they test gasoline and diesel powered vehicles. In those cars, the fuel tanks are drained and the 12V starter battery is disconnected specifically to reduce fire hazards. If NHTSA crash tested all cars fully fueled, equivalent to how the Volt was tested, they’d have fires every single day.

So one crash tested Volt burned. Not a single consumer owned Volt has ignited. Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of vehicle fires every year. About one person a day, on avg, dies in the US from a vehicle fire. Most of those fires are the result of collisions, but there are about 800 car fires a year because the cars spontaneously start to burn. A large number of safety recalls that are issued have something to do with fire safety.

It’s easy to mock GM, but did you know that since January the highly esteemed BMW has had to recall BMW 5 and 7 series cars, Rolls-Royces and MINIs (BMW owns those brands) because of fire hazards. At least 8 MINIs have combusted while parked. Nobody, though, is carrying on about MINIs bursting into plasma fireballs.

rokemronnie on August 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM

A successful launch of the new Malibu is much more important to GM’s health than how many Volts they sell.

rokemronnie on August 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Also is their ‘new’ No Haggle (i.e. fixed) pricing national or regional?

Once I went to CarMax for their no haggle price, only problem was it was no haggled $1200 over KB Book value. No thanks.

orbitalair on August 28, 2012 at 8:21 AM

On the bright side we the taxpayers are not shoveling out so many $7500 rebates for each of these fire traps.

jukin3 on August 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

To steal from an old Ron White bit: How far can a Volt go on a single charge? All the way to the scene of the fire…Should beat the paramedics by half an hour…thanks to the car pool lane.

Barnestormer on August 28, 2012 at 8:31 AM

My car was totaled by a stupid woman who was speeding and ran a red light. After we get the insurance settled hopefully we will be able to replace my car. We won’t be considering any cars made by government owned companies now or in the future, and especially not a golf cart with two seats. Even our teenaged children don’t want to buy from Government Motors when they can support themselves and afford a car. Government Motors has lost big with our children. Assuming they live and drive until age 70 that’s 50 years of not buying Government Motors products.

sherrimae on August 28, 2012 at 11:05 AM

It’s logical that the Government is shutting down Volt production. Aren’t they against Global Warming?

LouisianaLightning on August 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM

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