General Motors wants to cut as much as $10,000 per car from the Volt’s production costs in order to make the next generation of the plug-in hybrid affordable and profitable.
The Detroit carmaker currently loses money on every Chevrolet Volt it sells, despite the fact that the cheapest model retails for $31,645 after a federal tax credit of $7,500. “Every new technology takes a while to get traction, you’ve got to work out all of the associated issues,” GM CEO Dan Akerson told Bloomberg News in an interview.
He said GM wants to reduce Volt’s production cost by $7,000 to $10,000 each without removing features. “We know we have to reduce costs. We’ve got to look at smart ways at getting it better positioned from a price perspective and that means we’ve got to take cost out of it,” Akerson added. The GM CEO also confirmed that the second-generation Chevrolet Volt will be introduced sometime in 2015 or 2016.
Introduced in 2010, the Volt struggled to meet sales targets, although it is an essential model in GM’s plan to put around 500,000 vehicles on the road by 2017 with some form of electrification. The Chevrolet Volt (and its Opel Ampera alter ego) has an all-electric driving range of 38 miles (61 kilometers).
U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Volt grew 8.4 percent to 4,244 units in March. In all 2012, sales amounted to 23,461 units, three times more than in 2011. However, that’s well below Akerson’s original sales target for of 45,000 units a year.
By Dan Mihalascu