GM’s Hamtramck Plant Back Online; Chevy Volt Production Resumed

Production of the Chevrolet Volt resumed at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck factory earlier this week. The plant was shut down in June so it could be revamped with new tooling, equipment and overhead conveyor systems in preparation for increased production of the extended-range electric vehicle and its export cousin; the Opel Ampera.

Rob Peterson, a spokesman for GM, told The Detroit News that the plant is now producing three times more Volts than before the closure because of the upgrades. That’s good news for Chevrolet dealerships: the halt in Volt production resulted in fewer than than 100 model year 2011 Volts resting on dealer lots.

Through June, Volt’s YTD sales figures fell behind those of its nearest competitor, the all-electric Nissan Leaf. GM sold 2745 Volts as opposed to Nissan moving 3875 plug-in electric-powered Leafs in the first half of the calendar year. GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson told The Detroit News in a June interview that the company would meet its production goals for the Volt, which targets selling 10,000 Volts in the U.S. and 5000 abroad by year’s end. Nissan plans to move 10,000 Leafs in the same time period.

GM announced in June that it would drop the 2012 Volt’s base price and add new option packages (up from three to seven), colors and wheels when it begins selling it nationwide. The 2011 Volt started close to $41,000, but the 2012 will start at $39,995, thanks to ditching the standard Bose speakers and navigation system. No word yet from GM on lease prices for the 2012 model.

Plans for the Hamtramck plant go beyond GM’s plug-in aspirations. The plant will also be the main production facility for the 2013 Malibu, which GM hopes will be a major force in the midsize market, much like the Cruze has proven to be in the compact segment.

Source: The Detroit News

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