GM accelerates timeline for nationwide rollout of its Volt
Car to arrive at state dealers next month
1:24 AM, Jan. 28, 2011
As Michigan dealers wait for the arrival of their Chevrolet Volts starting next month, other Americans' waits just got a little shorter.
General Motors said Thursday it plans to have Chevrolet Volts in all participating dealerships nationwide by the end of this year. GM had previously said it planned to sell Volts in all 50 states by mid-2012.
The Volt has already launched in California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and Washington, D.C. Deliveries in Michigan will start in February and March, spokesman Rob Peterson said.
GM is hoping the Volt will bring new customers to Chevrolet, which accounts for about 70% of its U.S. sales volume. Chevrolet marketing chief Rick Scheidt said the brand is accelerating the Volt rollout partially because of increased showroom traffic in launch markets to see the car.
GM cited Criswell Chevrolet, a metropolitan Washington, D.C., dealership, which has 10 to 15 customers visit weekly who are considering the Volt. Many of those customers own non-GM brands.
Nationwide ordering will begin in the second quarter, GM said.
From July to September, deliveries will start in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. The remaining states are expected to receive deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2011, GM said.
GM is seeking to build more than 25,000 Volts at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant this year, up from the original target of about 10,000, CEO Dan Akerson has said.
After that, the automaker may try to produce 120,000 Volts annually, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., told the Free Press on Wednesday, relaying a conversation with Akerson. Executives are talking about making that the production target for 2012, well above the current estimate of 45,000, a company official familiar with the discussions said.
To sell the Volt, a Chevrolet dealer must agree to keep one as a demo and install a couple of charging stations. The Volt can run for an estimated 35 miles on battery power before switching to its gasoline-powered generator.