GM delays the addition of a second shift at Chevrolet Volt plant

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 10, 2011

General Motors had talked last May about adding a second shift in Michigan to build the Chevrolet Volt early next year but the automaker has decided to push it back to the second half of 2012. GM had wanted to add another shift to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant to double Volt production.

What GM has accomplished is a plant overhaul this summer and its addition of workers is more conservative but this will be enough for GM to be able to double its output in early 2012 with just one shift.

With this move, GM will be able to cut costs but this won’t affect the plant’s capacity to produce 60,000 Volts and Amperas (the European version of the Volt) in 2012.

Last May, GM raised its 2012 production forecast to 60,000, from an earlier forecast of 45,000, according to AutoWeek. At the start of the year, GM will add about 300 people to boost Volt production, but it will stay on its one 10-hour shift, four days a week. GM is delaying plans for a second shift, which would have required hundreds of workers more.

By that time, the production of the next-generation Chevy Malibu should already have started. According to George McGregor, president of UAW Local 22, said that with regards to a second shift, “the sooner the better” but he knows that this move will depend on the demand. McGregor even hopes for a third shift sometime in the future too. GM spokesman Chris Lee said that this approach is “more efficient” and is better for its business and customers.

Both Chevrolet’s design team and its engineering team knew that if they wanted to make the Volt the most aerodynamic model from the brand, they had to partner with the aerodynamicists working at the wind tunnel of GM. The result is a vehicle that needed less energy in order to prevail over air resistance, giving the Volt an electric range of 8 miles with extended range at 50 miles.

Whether on the outside or the inside, the flush relationships and the element-to-element gap are just as good as other models in its class, or likely even better.

Extra attention to detail is apparent in every component, even on its underhood. Each part follows the same high standard when it comes to appearance and even utilizes similar colors and grained surfaces. As such, it manages to match the rest of the Volt. One example is the unique rear liftgate appliqué, in gloss black, that bears the Chevrolet bowtie and one of the Volt insignias with the second one on its forward quarter panel. Meanwhile on the front part, the fascia is flush and rounded, and with the grille and the tapered corners, allow air to be channeled around the vehicle. This lessens the drag. Going back to the rear, the use of the specially designed spoiler and the sharp edges enable air flow to be better controlled. Helping lower the drag and turbulence are the back glass and the windshield’s aggressive rake.

For its exterior, Chevrolet will be offering for the Volt a selection of six colors. These include Black Gray Metallic, Cyber Gray Metallic, Crystal Red Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, and White Diamond Tricoat. The sixth is known as Viridian Joule Tricoat, a name that was declared the winner in a nation-wide contest in 2009.

Director of Design Bob Boniface declared that being a revolutionary car, the brand wanted the Volt to have a design that would give it a dynamic and sleek statement. He added by saying that one look at this vehicle and one can easily see how refined and technical the execution was, considering that it has a number of interlinked surfaces that result in crisp and clean creases and edges. That’s not all as the Volt does have the appearance similar to a midsize and fashionable sport sedan, its stance remains to be focused on performance, smooth, and bold, thus showing its electrically-driver capabilities. This was all thanks to a wheelbase measuring 2,685 mm (105.7 inches) with a front track at 1,556 mm (61.2 inches) and rear track at 1,578 mm (62.1 inches). Helping as well is the premium execution, on top of its sculpted beltline and wheels-out stance.

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