General Motors says its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant will significantly step up production of the Chevrolet Volt, its electric car introduced last year.
Up to now, the Volt has been available only in California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Texas, Michigan and the Washington D.C. area. GM announced in January that the car would be available in all 50 states by the end of 2011, earlier than originally planned.
GM’s initial estimates for Chevy Volt sales in 2010 was about 15,000 vehicles. By the end of this month they’ll have produced about 3,300 Volts in total before shutting down for four weeks to retool the facilities. Even with a lost month of production though, GM believes it is on track to sell produce 16,000 Volts and its European cousin, the Opel Ampera, by the end of this year (about 2,500 of those will be dealer demo vehicles though.)
GM says that it will begin by shutting down its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which currently produces the Volt, for four weeks in June to prepare for the production increase.
“As a result of the plant upgrades, planned Volt and Ampera production capacity this year will increase to 16,000 units, including exports and a fleet of several hundred demonstration units sent to U.S. dealers,” the automaker states.
“In 2012, global production capacity is expected to be 60,000 vehicles with an estimated 45,000 to be delivered in the United States.”
While the prospect of increased production is a positive development for Chevy, the summertime shortage of Volts could drive potential customers to rivals like the Nissan Leaf electric car and Toyota Prius hybrid.