With all of the hubub about the Volt's 240 mile pre gallon rating (whether it's total bunk or not) the press wasn't really able to report on two bits of bad news that came out of GM at roughly the same time.
First, is the tidbit that came as part of GM's required reports to the U.S. government as part of their government loans. According Autocar, GM claims in the report that the range-extending technology may not be ready in time for the late 2010 release date while at the same time griping that competitors are persuing similar technology with more capital available. The report also says that the Volt isn't going to be economically viable. That, however, is old news, and we all expect that GM will be selling the cars at a loss at first.
This is the first time that GM has admitted to a possible delay. Conveniently, about six hours after this story hit Autocar, the 230 MPG campaign cracked open, and now if you search for anything about the Volt, that's all you find.
The second piece of bad news is more or less on the same lines. GM previously said that they hoped to sell 60,000 Volt's in their first year of production. That's a big number, but acheivable. As a comparison, Toyota made about 15,000 Priuses in its first year. However, news has just leaked out of GM saying that they are aiming for a much more modest release, starting out with around 300 or 400 Volts in the last months of 2010 before slowly ramping up production and producing 10,000 vehicles before the beginning of 2012.
The promise of 60,000 vehicles would have met demand for the car, 10,000 simply won't. So if you want a Volt in 2011, you'd better be camping outside your dealer's door.
Overall, it seems like it's been a bad week for the Volt. We might have heard some great news in the form of the EPA's probably mileage ratings, but it isn't going to matter if GM is unable or unwilling to meet demand for the car. Let's hope that they can pull it together, meet their deadline, and provide a car that will truly reform General Motors, not just look pretty in the garages of a select few buyers.
written by Green Resources, August 14, 2009
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