GM’s plug-in Chevrolet Volt saw last month sales of 1,023 units, up from 603 in January, outselling Nissan Motor’s all-electric Leaf.
The boost came even after GM weathered a torrent of bad publicity as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated the Volt for post-crash fire risks. The investigation was closed in January without any safety issues found. These sales are still below the best-ever sales from December (1,529 units).
The production for the lower-emission Volts started last month, at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, the car allowing single drivers to qualify for access to HOV lanes in California, which the company hopes will bring an increased sales volume. In 2011 the company sold only 7,700 Volts, below the estimated target of 10,000, and the sales target of 45,000 for 2012 was abandoned. Nissan Leaf was sold in 9,700 units in 2011, but in February sales fall to 478 EVs, down from 676 in January and 954 in December.
“It’s a tough road, but we’ve got to do it,” GM North American President Mark Reuss said in January.
GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson testified at a hearing held in January, that the Volt is safe and that it has become “a political punching bag.”