Volt Supply Poised To Surge As Race With Nissan Leaf Heats Up
July 27, 2011
by David Welch
General Motors Co., trailing Nissan Motor Co. in electric-car sales, plans to boost output of its Chevrolet Volt to 5,000 a month as the automaker seeks to seize the lead and test consumers' hunger for plug-in vehicles.
Nissan is winning this year, selling 3,875 units of the Leaf in the U.S. to GM's 2,745 Volt sales through June.
While Nissan accelerated production faster than GM, the Detroit automaker will outstrip its Japanese rival and make 5,000 units of the Volt a month as soon as January, said Tony Posawatz, the director of the vehicle line.
"This is very much about supply constraints as opposed to a sales race," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, a research firm based in Lexington, Mass. "Next year will really show true demand for these kinds of cars and which one wins."
GM will quickly expand output as its pushes toward a goal of selling 10,000 Volts in the U.S. this year, Posawatz said.
GM plans to assemble 60,000 next year at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, with 45,000 of them earmarked for U.S. buyers. "It's fair to say GM underestimated demand for the Volt," he said. "By January, the capacity we need will be online."
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