GM Plans to Increase Volt Production by 20% This Year image

GM plans to increase by 20% production of Chevrolet Volt and other plug-in hybrids.

GM plans to manufacture 1,500 to 3,000 fuel-efficient vehicles a month and 36,000 Chevrolet Volts this year, according to anonymous sources. Last year the automaker sold around 30,000 Volt and Opel Ampera vehicles, according to Jim Cain, a company spokesman.

CEO Dan Akerson, who set a global sales target for the Volt of 60,000 units for 2012, had to half that amount as the model couldn’t compete with the more successful Toyota Prius.

“The 36,000 target is probably a doable number. It will have a full calendar year in Europe and GM will probably sell more this year now that the Volt is eligible for the car-pool lane in California,” said Jim Hall, principal of consultancy 2953 Analytics.

If in 2012 the model had to deal with several temporary production shutdowns, this year the automaker plans to find a consistent selling rate for Volt and also begin production for the Cadillac ELR, a two-door plug-in hybrid based on the Volt technology.

“We had some on and off starts with the assembly plant,” she said. “California, which is our strongest market, was selling great then they would have no products. They’ve run out of products probably three or four times in the last 12 months, it’s been very frustrating,” said Cristi Landy, GM’s marketing director for small cars.