Flawed roll-out strategy doomed Chevrolet Volt sales from the very start


Here’s an interesting question?

Why did GM choose to roll out the plug-in Chevrolet Volt in only a few select markets across America when the car was red hot and the talk of the town?

If you recall, it wasn’t that long ago that GM was on the ropes and needed Federal Government money to stay afloat. Like a silver knight in electric armor the Volt came to rescue as a shinning beacon of GM’s engineering prowess giving the Obama administration a significant reason to rescue the struggling car maker.

Sure, GM had spent the last 20-years building crazy big and thirsty cars and pick-ups, but with the Volt the General had a perfect poster child that the Democratic Obama administration could love wholeheartedly.

The Chevy Volt was red hot and trending. GM was back!

GM’s timing was perfect to sell a revolutionary plug-in car that could run about 40 miles on just electricity. That’s longer than the average work commute making it possible for the Volt’s owner to never visit the local gas station.

Better yet…gas prices were reaching all time highs, and new car buyers were paying 3K over sticker for any Prius they could get their hands on.

So what did General Motors announce?


They would start selling the Volt is only a few select markets across America. Of course Detroit buyers would get the car, as would the lucky politicians in Washington D.C. that helped bailout the General.

The rest of us who helped pay for the Volt with our bailout tax money?

We would have to wait over a year before we could purchase the new GM wonder car.

So time passed, gas prices declined, a government crash-tested Volt caught fire after sitting in a warehouse for two weeks and the Volt went from the front page of the paper to the auto ads section.

This week GM announced that it is shutting down Volt production for 5 weeks to give dealers a chance to sell all of the unsold four passenger somewhat expensive 30K plus Volts sitting on their lots.

In fact, GM only managed to sell just over 600 Volts in January and 1000 in February of this year.

All of which begs the question, why do car makers continue to roll out some new cars in only “select” markets like the Volt and as well as the all electric Nissan Leaf?

This silly strategy could be based on some flawed notion of building buzz or perhaps a simple question of supply and demand.

But whatever the reason…if automakers like GM can ramp up production on popular main stream cars like the Chevy Cruze (that sell tens of thousand of units each month) as part of national roll-out…they can do so with the Volt or even the Leaf.

We can’t image that car companies make money by not selling cars anymore….or do they?

Check out our video mashup review of the 2012 Chevy Volt as we compare in to the Camry Hybrid below.

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