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Chevrolet Volt Faces Production Shortages
As the much anticipated Chevy Volt begins to leave the assembly lines, to keep the pace against the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet must up the ante on producing their newest green vehicle.
Nissan has sold 3,875 Leafs (Leaves?) to GM's 2,745 Volts. Not only is the Nissan about $7,000 or more cheaper, but Nissan has been making more -- despite the Japanese earthquake in March.
At today's production levels, both vehicles are in short supply and the automakers have thousands of consumers on waiting lists. It's still unknown whether customers ultimately prefer a pure electric car like the Leaf or a plug-in hybrid like the Volt that can travel longer distances, and how many people are willing to pay for the gas-saving technology.
"This is very much about supply constraints as opposed to a sales race," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, a research firm based in Lexington, Mass. "Next year will really show true demand for these kinds of cars and which one wins."
GM will quickly expand output as it pushes toward a goal of selling 10,000 Volts in the USA this year, Posawatz said.
GM plans to assemble 60,000 next year at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, with 45,000 of them earmarked for U.S. buyers.
"It's fair to say GM underestimated demand for the Volt," he said. "By January, the capacity we need will be online."
GM restarted Detroit-Hamtramck this month after shutting it down in June. The factory was retooled to also produce the Chevrolet Malibu sedan early next year. U.S. sales of the sedan, also made in Fairfax, Kan., rose 13% in the first half to 122,783.
Nissan builds the Leaf in Oppama, Japan, and has annual capacity to make 50,000 of the car next year. The company has sold 9,687 of them globally through the first week of July, about 4,000 of them in the USA, said Brian Brockman, a spokesman. The Yokohama-based company expects monthly U.S. Leaf deliveries to be at about the same rate as in June, when dealers sold 1,708, he said.
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