GM Delays National Launch of Next- Generation Chevrolet Volt – Wall Street Journal

Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2015

General Motors Co. is delaying the national release its next-generation Chevrolet Volt, choosing to ship the car to only a handful of states amid a slowdown in demand for vehicles known as being ultra-fuel-efficient.

A redesigned version of the Volt, initially launched in 2010 with a large battery for all-electric driving and a smaller gasoline engine to be used as a backup power source, was slated to be shipped to dealers nationwide later this year. It will initially go to a handful of states, such as California and parts of the Northeast, where demand for electric and hybrid vehicles typically is stronger.

The move, said Chevrolet spokesman Michael Albano, is due to a production change and a need to get Volt to the hottest markets quickest, a strategy employed with other vehicle launches. The 2016 version, which is beginning its production run in Michigan, will be sent to the handful of states.

Mr. Albano said production of the 2017 Volt was pulled ahead to get the model—equipped with more features—into the hands of consumers faster. The 2017 Volt will go into production in early spring.

The new Volt is re-engineered with several improvements, including more seating in the back row and updated styling. Among the more important changes is a sizable increase in battery capacity so that the vehicle can travel as far as 53 miles on a charge.

Chevrolet Volt sales have been tumbling as gas prices hover around $2.50 a gallon, with deliveries off 37% through August compared with the same period in 2014. GM sold 8,315 Volts through the end of August.

The Detroit News reported the Volt strategy earlier Tuesday.

Write to Jeff Bennett at jeff.bennett@wsj.com

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