General Motors may be looking to ramp up production of its plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in 2013. A new report states that the automaker is looking to pump out roughly 36,000 Chevrolet Volts this year, an increase of around 20 percent over 2012.
To put that into perspective, Chevrolet sold 23,461 Volts in the U.S. last year. According to the report by The Washington Post, GM built approximately 30,000 range-extended plug-ins last year between its Chevrolet and Holden Volt and Opel/Vauxhall Ampera models. That's a far cry from the original 60,000-unit goal announced for 2012 sales by GM CEO Dan Akerson; although, Akerson quickly halved that expectation.
It's not easy to match up the Volt against its competition – neither Ford nor Toyota break out sales figures for its PHEV models from the rest of its C-Max and Prius model lines. (The Ford Fusion Energi didn't go on sale until the beginning of this year.) That said, Ford still sold 13,309 C-Max Hybrids and Energis in 2012, despite not being on sale for the entirety of the year. Toyota sold 236,695 Prius, Prius v, Prius c, and Prius Plug-Ins last year.
Hopefully, General Motors won't have to idle its Hamtramck, Michigan plant – where the Volt and Ampera are built – again this year, and will be able to keep producing the PHEVs to meet its 36,000-car goal. That said, the four-week shutdown in 2012 was to retool the plant in preparation of production for the 2014 Impala sedan, which is also built there; GM will also begin building the Volt-based Cadillac ELR PHEV at Hamtramck later this year in anticipation of it going on sale at the beginning of 2014.
Jim Hall, a consultant from 2953 Analytics, told The Washington Post that the 36,000 production number is "probably doable. [The cars] will have a full calendar year in Europe, and GM will probably sell more this year now that the Volt is eligible for the car-pool lane in California."
Source: The Washington Post