USA Today reports that General Motors will be, once again, temporarily halting production of the Chevy Volt. According to GM, the halt is not due to low sales of the Volt. The article quotes a Chevy spokesman as saying, “We are not idling the plant due to poor Volt sales. We’re gearing up for production of the new Impala.”
In typical dubious mainstream media fashion, the article also reports that Volt sales have been just fine stating, “GM sold 10,666 Volts through July, way up from the 2,870 sold during the same period a year earlier.” Considering that back in January of 2011 GM CEO Dan Akerson had set a goal of selling 120,000 Volts in 2012, 10,666 Volt sales hardly seems like something to brag about. Akerson more recently lowered the goal to 60,000 and then to 35,000 to 40,000 just this June. The article failed to mention how far off the Volt sales are from the goals.
One has to wonder if GM will play the political card (helped by gullible or biased media sources) and once again blame Republicans for contributing to the Volt halt. Akerson and GM management seem to think that the American public will believe anything when it comes to the reasons for low Volt sales. We have gone from hearing how disappointing sales were due to supply not being able to keep up with demand to the latest claims of a Republican conspiracy to hurt Volt sales. There has been no explanation as to why other plug-in electric vehicles are selling in even lower numbers than the Volt, despite the fact that GM believes only the Volt is a target for Republicans.
I have recently (and not so recently) called upon Mr. Akerson to come clean on the Chevy Volt. It is obvious that the car is not selling in large numbers due to the lack of consumer demand as the price of the vehicle is too high, despite all the subsidies, for the benefits that it offers most motorists. The few die-hard Volt fans that buy the car seem happy enough, but it is deceptive to imply that the vehicle has been a huge hit while sales continue to flounder. Worst of all, taxpayers are footing the bill to subsidize a car that epitomizes the ineffectiveness of both GM management and the Obama Administrations’ costly green energy initiatives.
The halt of Chevy Volt production was done because supply is growing faster than demand, plain and simple. Any spin by GM that the reason was anything other than that should be viewed as continued deception by the company. GM and the politically motivated supporters of the Volt can finally come clean and admit that they were wrong about the car being a “game changer” and “the future of GM” or they can continue to disingenuously attack critics of the vehicle and accuse them of having a right-wing agenda. In the absence of an admission that they were wrong, we must assume that GM management has been and continues to be flat-out lying about the “success” of the heavily subsidized Chevy Volt.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.