Cruze all about sales, Volt all about marketing?
Back in June GM shut down Chevy Volt production to upgrade manufacturing capabilities, enabling GM to produce more Volts, as well as some Opel Ampera’s – Europe’s version of the Volt. By mid July, everything was supposed to be back online, and GM was aiming to produce up to 16,000 Volts by the end of 2011, although only about 10,000 were intended for consumers.
Yet, GM only delivered 300 Volts in August.
According to GM, 3,172 Volts have been delivered so far in 2011. That’s almost 7,000 vehicles short of very conservative 2011 goals.
Early last month I called August a benchmark month for Volt sales. Good thing that was my call, not GM’s. Otherwise, some real questions about the Chevy Volt would have to be asked.
Inevitably, it’s obvious there are still some kinks in the Volt production system. Fortunately, that’s not necessarily surprising, as the Volt is a new technology. Moreover, since the earthquake in Japan, there have been many supply chain disruptions throughout the auto industry.
Still, I was expecting at least 1000 Volt sales in August.
While I’m confident GM will eventually work out the kinks in the Volt’s production system, these continued sluggish sales do suggest that the Volt wasn’t really ready for its launch late last year. Again, considering the technology involved that’s not necessarily surprising, nor a major corporate sin, but it does renew the argument that the Volt is much more about marketing than it is about sales, or actual change, at least for the foreseeable future.
Fortunately, for GM at least, Chevy Cruze sales have bailed the General out.
To be sure, GM might still hit its 10,000 vehicle Volt benchmark, and if they do, this will all be water under the dam. However, considering the hype that preceded the Volt into the market, and the hype at its launch, sales thus far can only be described as disappointing.