Learn more about Sustainable Brands 2015 San Diego


Is GM Hiding the Chevy Volt?

Posted by Dale Buss on May 12, 2011 03:00 PM

Of course it isn't. But some automotive bloggers have gotten exercised in recent days under the false idea that sales of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid – really, a type of electric car – aren’t going anywhere and that General Motors doesn’t care about it.

Remember the conspiracy theories and angst that followed the demise of GM’s first all-electric car, the EV1, over a decade ago and resulted in the production of a documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? (Actress Alexandra Paul, who appeared in that doc, has been helping Chevy plug the Volt, including asking Volt owners to help craft their own car manual, below.)

Well, consider this tempest in a teapot as a distant echo of that concern.

It’s true that GM did sell only 483 Volts in April after moving 683 in March in the US. And since introducing the car a few months ago, the company has sold only about 1,700 Volts all told.

But GM has a good explanation for Volt sales volumes that make EV fanatics a bit nervous at this point: They’re working on it. They’re ramping up retail sales, as well as production, slowly to make sure they do it right.

And as they build Volt into what they hope will become the dominant EV brand in coming years, GM needs to use some of the cars it sells to further the cause of long-term marketing of Volt. So it has been detouring lots of sales to its dealerships so that the Volt units can serve as demonstration models, instead of putting those cars into the public-distribution stream.

“We know the best way to experience Volt is to get behind the wheel and drive it,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director. “An added bonus is that our dealers are seeing that the Volt is increasing traffic onto our dealer showroom floors and is exposing consumers to Chevy’s line of ‘gas-friendly’ vehicles.

“It’s tough to limit the number of Volts for sale to potential customers when demand is so strong, but the Volt has value to the Chevrolet portfolio well beyond incremental sales.”

So there you have it. Chevy still expects to deliver Volts to all 50 states by the end of this year. And among other things, that means more of them will be snapped up by enviro-celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Stephen King. The horror master told a newspaper about Volt, “It’s like saying to the oil cartel, ‘Here, stick this in your eye.’ It’s like a license to steal.”

Below, Alexandra Paul reaches out Chevy Volt owners to submit videos and help create a Volt users' guide by users — the first video-based owner-generated user guide:


tina United States says:

I'll be picking up my new Volt soon. It's VIN is in the high 3000's and it was built last month, so I'm sure GM is not "hiding" them. In fact, they've started taking orders in Canada for model year 2012.

May 12, 2011 09:10 PM #

D Buss United States says:

Thus the opening line, "Of course it isn't."

May 16, 2011 09:39 AM #

Ed Kriese United States says:


The Volt is based on a false economy, wildly over priced and they can't sell them at a profit even with a large government subsidy. It's not about business however, its all politics.

They can't just come out and say that they are forced to make Volt's and sell them at a loss because is it the will of GM's Chairman & CEO, B. Hussein Obama, the regime in Washington and the board of directors, aka the UAW. GM looses $$ on every vehicle but that's OK, the top UAW Apparatchiks kept their jobs, money and benefits.

On the bright side the cost of a new Cadillac would be much higher if it wasn't for the government back-stop that is in place to shore up the UAW so the peopole's of Amerika should take advantage and buy a subsidized new car because they've already made the down payment.

Thanks to our Brother's & Sister's in the UAW, and their political support for their Dear Leader  B. Hussein Obama, every GM product is now truly a 'Peoples Car' and the will of Allah.

May 13, 2011 07:01 AM #

Gary United States says:

What a nut job. It is because of racist tea party morons like you that the GOP doesn't stand a chance in 12. Thank for ruining the conservative movement.

May 13, 2011 12:38 PM #

D Buss says:

While I wouldn't put it quite that way, it's clear that the federal government is attempting a bit of command-and-control in the way it is promoting EVs.

May 16, 2011 09:43 AM #

Doug Korthof United States says:

Oops, fact check.  GM lists cars as SOLD when delivered to the dealer, so your idea that they are being held as "demonstrators" is just false.

May 13, 2011 03:32 PM #

D Buss says:

Just reporting what GM has said.

May 16, 2011 09:44 AM #

Joe United States says:

The fact I went to buy one and was told there is a 9 month waiting list seems like a good sign for the car and the future of green, yet still fun, automobiles.

May 14, 2011 03:30 AM #

Comments are closed

elsewhere on brandchannel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
brandcameo2014 Product Placement Awards
Apple loses its crown to a new #1
Coca-ColaIt's the Journey That Matters:
Coca-Cola Opens Up With Story-Based Web Refresh
debateJoin the Debate
Is product placement a waste of money?
Arthur Chinski and Joshua Mizrahi
Model Behavior? Brands Beware
U.S. Legal Changes Impact Use of Brand Ambassadors
paperCorporate Citizenship in Canada
Fresh thinking from Interbrand
Sheryl Connelly
Sheryl Connelly

Meet Ford's Resident Futurist
Highlighting the Present—and Future—of Branding in Latin America and Iberia