Three unidentified sources said that Dan Akerson, who is General Motors Co.'s Chief Executive Officer, seeks to triple the company's target for electric-car sales by expanding the market for the Chevrolet Volt and adding models that would share similar technology.
The sources disclosed that Akerson asked GM's executive team in early December to find ways to sell three to four times as many electric cars as planned for 2012 by mid-decade. GM has said it expects selling 10,000 Volts in 2011 and 45,000 the following year, when capacity may reach 60,000.
Creating other models with electric drive and increasing Volt sales will spread out the cost of developing the technology across more vehicles. It also carries a certain amount of risk since electric and hybrid cars tend to sell in low volume and be unprofitable, said Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics Inc., a consulting firm in Birmingham, Mich.
Akerson's plan for more cars with electric drive emphasizes his strategy to distinguish GM as a technology leader, following an initial public offering that raised more than $20 billion in November 2010, about 16 months after GM emerged from bankruptcy.
The 62-year-old Akerson, who took over on Sept. 1, 2010, has told top executives that he wants GM to seek new markets and prepare for higher fuel prices, according to the sources. [via autonews - sub. required]