GM TO STOP VOLT PRODUCTION IN 2019
General Motors has announced that it is planning to cut production of the Chevy Volt next year. The Volt, as well as some other vehicles, will be killed off. It is part of GM’s cost-cutting strategies that include layoffs and plant closings in the United States.
GM is planning on closing the Detroit-Hamtramok plant that produces the car, and another plant in Baltimore which produces electric motors. That will lead to some job losses. GM is trying to cut slow-selling vehicles and focus on higher sellers and will invest more in pure electrified automobiles.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHEVY VOLT
For those who don’t know much about the car, it is a car that has an electric engine along with a hybrid engine. Here are some specifications regarding the vehicle:
The Volt started production in 2010 and debuted in the 2011 model year. It has an electric engine that can run solely on electric power for an average range of 53 miles. After that, it can run as a hybrid vehicle and has a gas tank that holds 9 gallons of gas with an average of 42/43 miles a gallon for the second generation Volt. The second generation started production in 2015 and was debuted in the 2016 model year. Major improvements to the second generation included better gas mileage and also the ability to use lower octane gas. The first generation ran on premium gas only.
POSSIBLE REASONS WHY THE VOLT WILL BE DISCONTINUED?
The Chevrolet Volt has seen sales volume decreases recently. Part of the reason may be due to low gas prices in the United States that have decreased the need to save money on fuel costs. There is also a shift away from conventional sedans. Americans are buying more and more SUVs and smaller trucks. Just look around any major city and its suburbs and you can notice the gradual shift away from smaller cars. Even these larger cars are also much more efficient on gas. Add in the lower gas prices and fewer people will consider a smaller, more economical vehicle.
Another big reason why the car will be discontinued is the phase-out of the federal tax credit for electric vehicles. The Volt qualifies for the largest tax credit of $7500 dollars. Once a manufacturer sells 200,000 vehicles that qualify for the credit, it will no longer able to use that incentive. Thus, GM will either have to lower the price by $7500 which would be extremely difficult, or it will have to cease or limit production due to lower profit margins if any.
There is also a lot of confusion about what the car is and what it does. Most consumers are familiar with hybrid cars. Hybrids have been around for years and most people know that they run on gas with assistance from an electric motor to improve efficiency. People also know that pure electric vehicles run on only electric power supplied by a large electric battery that is rechargeable which helps run an electric motor. The Volt utilizes both of these technologies and can run on a mixture of both.
It is not easy to explain that to a lay person or to someone who does not follow “green”, environmentally friendly vehicles. Most will think it is just electric with a limited range where you can run out of power and get stuck on the side of the road. Or others will think that it is a hybrid vehicle. If they think it is a hybrid, then they have many other choices to choose from. Electric vehicles are also improving and offering much more range than ever before. Once they can average 150 or 200 plus miles on a charge, they will be more popular. This underated car fills the gap for now, but due to car buying trends in the US, most are staying with larger vehicles or going totally to electric vehicles with no gasoline engine.
WILL THE VOLT LIVE ON OVERSEAS?
The fact that GM is eliminating the Volt and other sedans from its lineup in the United States doesn’t mean it is not going to sell them in overseas markets. The Buick Velite 6, which is a cross-over version of the Volt, is going to be sold in China. The Volt is sold under the name of Opel Amera in Europe. All that said, don’t count out the Volt and other cars like it to be permanently killed off in the foreseeable future.