GM offers to buy back Volts from worried owners image

General Motors has announced it will buy back Chevrolet Volts from owners who fear the car poses a fire hazard, after a U.S. safety investigation of the car’s lithium-ion battery revealed it is prone to catching fire.

The offer comes after GM announced earlier this week it would offer loaner cars to 6,000 U.S. Volt owners to reassure them. GM said that 33 Volt owners asked for loaner car as of Thursday morning. So far no customer has returned the Volt. “If someone asks, we’ll snap it up in a second,” GM spokesman Selim Bingol was quoted by Wall Street Journal. He added GM is confident the car is safe, but also wants to ensure Volt customers are comfortable with their vehicle.

So far, Chevrolet Volt sales fell short of expectations. GM said it will not meet the sales target of 10,000 Volts in 2011, but will likely reach that number next year. Chevrolet sold 1,139 Volts in November, bringing sales to 6,142 this year.

GM has 134 days’ supply of the Volt, which is considered high, taking into account that Nissan has a 21-day supply of the Volt’s rival, the Leaf. Nissan’s EV outsold the Volt so far this year, with a total of 8,720 units, 2,500 more than the Volt. However, in the last two months, Nissan sold 672 Leafs, about half of Volt sales.