Halt! General Motors is putting the brakes on production of its 2015 Chevrolet Volt. Apparently it just needs some time to recharge – yes, pun intended – to get ready for the all-new 2016 Volt that goes on sale in the fast approaching second half of this year.
GM spokesperson Michelle Malcho told Automotive News the automaker will suspend production for four weeks due to a “multitude of factors” including slow sales and factory upgrades. GM is making a $343 million investment into updating its hybrid production system for the new 2016 Volt, which goes into production this summer. It will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the current Volt is built.
Another reason for the suspended production is that the Volt’s just not selling well right now, so GM wants to avoid a glut of vehicles sitting on dealer lots. Chevrolet had 5,400 Volts in stock at the beginning of this month which equals a 211-day supply at its current sale rate. This greatly exceeds the 60-day supply standard for car dealers. Even in the Volts biggest market, California, there is a a current 100-day supply.
The sales slump began last year when Volt sales dropped 19 percent with Chevrolet selling 18,805 models in 2014. The downward trend continued into this year with Chevrolet selling 1,874 Volts in the first quarter, a 48% drop from last year.
The lower gas prices drivers are enjoying right now are hurting hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle sales across the board. The Volt and its competitors, like the Toyota Prius Plug-in and the Ford C-Max, are priced higher than other standard non-hybrid vehicles in their class. So when gas prices drop, driver lose their incentive to spend more up front to save at the pump later.
Add to all this the simple fact that buyers are waiting for the all-new 2016 Volt to arrive this Fall and you get the big picture.
The next-generation Volt has improved efficiency, faster acceleration, lighter weight, and a longer EV range of 50 miles, which is an improvement to the current models 38 mile EV range. Its cruising range has also improved to an estimated 420 miles on a fully charged battery and full tank of gas. The redesigned Volt also gets a bump in power to an improved 0-30 in 3.6 seconds. That’s thanks to a bigger, more powerful 1.5-liter gas engine and smaller, more powerful 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the 2016 Volt.
The new 2016 Volt should carry a similar price tag to the current model, coming in at just under $35,000.