General Motors disclosed yesterday it is expanding the initial launch markets for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, and officially confirmed how many of the extended-range electric vehicles it plans on building in the next two years.
We knew GM intended on ramping up Volt production over time, but we didn't have official, finite figures until now. In a web chat, Tony DiSalle, Volt marketing director, revealed the official production plan. Production of consumer-ready Volts should begin by the end of 2010, and GM plans on producing nearly 10,000 examples through the 2011 calendar year. In 2012, GM will increase production in the Hamtramck, Michigan, facility to 30,000 Volts.
That extra capacity comes just in time for the Volt's national launch in 2012. On that front, GM has also established some requirements for Chevrolet dealerships looking to sell the car. Showrooms interested in carrying the Volt line will be required to complete specialized sales and service training for the car, and have a designated sales and service expert for the Volt on staff. Additionally, dealers will be required to install at least one 240-volt home charging station to help "refuel" the Volt.
Additionally, GM mandates that each Volt dealer keep at least one demonstration car either on the showroom floor or available for test drives. A trial run before buying is always a key element towards snagging a potential customer, but it may cause some headaches, especially if dealers find themselves overwhelmed with consumer demand.
That demand may be further bolstered by the limited production volume. DiSalle said GM will notify dealers in launch markets (i.e. Michigan, New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, and Washington D.C.) how many Volts they can expect to receive in the first year of production.
Although this information helps reveal a little more of GM's Volt plan, the automaker is still withholding one major element: pricing. The car is set to launch in a few short months, but we've yet to see finalized pricing for the car. Reports have long suggested the 2011 Volt will run consumers approximately $40,000, although tax rebates and credits could help drop that figure into the $30,000 range.