GM will build 36,000 Volt and plug-in vehicles this year

Article by Anita Panait, on March 1, 2013

General Motors Co. plans to produce up to 36,000 Chevrolet Volt and other plug-in hybrids in 2013, two sources privy to the matter told Bloomberg News. The planned 2013 output is around 20% more than the production in 2012. GM plans to produce 1,500 to 3,000 plug-in vehicles monthly, according to the sources.

Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, said that the carmaker sold around 30,000 Volt and similar Opel Ampera units in 2012. Cain, however, declined to disclose the carmaker’s target sales for plug-in vehicles for 2013. GM will commence production of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid in the U.S. late this year with sales starting in early 2014 in North America.

The Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid will eventually be made available to China, Europe and other global markets. GM has strained to compete against more successful non-conventional vehicles like the Toyota Prius. GM chief executive Dan Akerson originally flaunted the Volt's gasoline-and-electric system as the technology of the future.

He even forecasted GM to sell about 60,000 around the world. According to Jim Hall, principal of consultancy 2953 Analytics, GM’s 36,000 sales target is "probably a doable number,” adding that the plug-in vehicles will have a full calendar year in Europe. He remarked that GM will likely sell more plug-in vehicles in 2013 since Volt is now eligible for the car-pool lane in California.

Battery-only and plug-in hybrids that meet strict California emissions rules qualify for a sticker that allows solo drivers to use the lanes with vehicles ferrying multiple passengers. The Volt can cruise 38 miles (61 kilometers) using only electric power before a gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the battery. Recharging could also be done by plugging into an electrical outlet. GM sold 23,461 Volt in the US in 2012, around half of Akerson's original target.

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