The well-received Chevrolet Volt may not be as popular as it thinks at the moment. General Motors has announced the hybrid hatchback will miss its 2011 sales target of 10,000 by more than 3800 units. Last month the Volt found 1139 new homes but even if sales triple that this month Chevy will still be short of its goal. Chevy has sold 6142 Volts through the end of November the Detroit-based auto maker said.
“It appears we will deliver the 10,000th Volt in early 2012,” GM Vice President of U.S. Sales Don Johnson said to Bloomberg. “We’re not at all disappointed. You have to continue to build awareness.”
Chevy has been marketing the Volt extremely hard as it enters the third month being on sale in all 50 states. To make up for the lag in sales, GM has granted dealers permission to sell demonstration models to the public. So far 2300 demonstration models have been sold contributing to a 2.8 percent sales increase from October to November. There are still another 4000 Volts waiting in the wings to be sold, too.
Last week the National Highway Highway Traffic Administration opened an investigation because of claims the Volt’s batteries caught fire three weeks after it went through government crash testing. However Chevy execs don’t believe the recent allegations affected sales since the investigation is a week old. General Motor’s will still push forward to expand annual production to 60,000 units starting next month. Chevy is shooting to sell 45,000 Volts stateside and export the remaining 15,000.
The NHTSA’s investigation has a chance to hurt the reputation of electric cars in general as the lithium-ion batteries caught fire long after the Volt has gone through testing. However other hybrid vehicles such as Nissan’s Leaf and vehicles made by electric auto maker Tesla Motors have not experienced any issues with its batteries, and GM is quick to point out that the NHTSA didn’t follow the recommended procedures after crashing the vehicles, which could have led to the fires. While the investigation works itself out Chevy has offered concerned Volt owners a free loaner car of their choice.
Do you think the batteries in hybrid cars will continue to cause problems? Do you drive a hybrid and have problems? Tell us what has happened, if anything, in the comment section below.