GM Temporarily Stops Volt Production image

Chevrolet Volt sales haven’t had the spark General Motors was looking for, so the company took the decision to suspend production of the Chevrolet Volt for 5 weeks at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant weeks, temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.

The production of both Opel Ampera and Volt will be stopped to balance inventories. GM sold 7,671 Volts in 2011 and 603 in January, not enough to keep continuing production. Closing the plant also means the company will back down from its sales goal of 45,000 Volts in 2012 and simply “match production with demand.”

The plant will be closed between March 19th and April 23rd, a crucial period since the spring selling season is approaching. GM blames the lack of sales in January on the political controversy and reports of two fires in stationary Volts, which made the lawmakers to examine the situation.

It all started in June 2011 after a fire broke out in one of the cars three weeks afterit was crashed as part of safety testing. This caught the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which began studying the Volt. After two other fires were reported, NHTSA opened an official investigation on November 25th.

The investigation was closed in January 2012 and federal officials have deemed the car safe, on the condition that GM is taking steps to upgrade the Volt’s structure and improve the way the battery is cooled.