The largest US automaker has decided that its brand new, second generation plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt will reach dealer showrooms this fall after its Hamtramck assembly facility will halt production for six weeks for retooling.
GM has decided to end production of the current generation Volt in May, as the model was a slow-seller, with the normal retooling period further extended as it caters for the necessary changes to output the new generation of the extended-range plug-in hybrid model. The Hamtramck factory is undergoing a changeover and maintenance period that is almost twice longer than usual, at six weeks, as the stock of current generation Volt has risen continuously. According to a spokesperson, even if in Volt’s primary market – California – supply is at around 100 days, overall the model has a 200-day supply. Automakers traditionally cater for dealers to have around a 60-day supply of a vehicle. Additionally, the deliveries of the 2015 Volt are running low, with just 1,874 units sold across the first three months of the year, slumping 48 percent from the same period in 2014.
The model’s dismal sales are attributable to several key factors. In the US, after the second half of the year gasoline prices have plummeted to half decade lows, triggering a resurgence in sales of less fuel-efficient vehicles. Next up, the Volt is right at the end of its life cycle, with customers mostly willing to wait a few months to get the new generation. “Halting Chevrolet Volt production in anticipation of the all-new 2016 model year is a smart move for GM, and allows for less inventory and incentives on the outgoing model,” comments an analyst with Kelley Blue Book. The brand new 2016 Volt premiered during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January and has numerous styling, powertrain and interior changes.