Chevy Volt sales fiasco

President Obama and eco-mandarins around him made a very bad call when they calculated that a mix of appeals to greenies, lavish subsidies, and a marketing push from General Motors could convince the public to buy lithium-ion battery-powered electric cars in commercial quantities. The program has been an utter failure, with Volt sales falling 35% in March, on a year-to-year basis, to a paltry 1,478 units - roughly one Volt sale every other month per dealership.

Mark Modica of the National Legal and Policy Center has assembled the grim data.

GM's excuses for the poor performance seem to be drying up as quickly as the demand for the Volt. During GM's sales conference call, management claimed that sales are "stable" and that they are "feeling good about the trend." Such dishonesty brings into question GM's credibility.

In the past, GM claimed that lack of supply was the reason for low Volt sales. In addition, GM indignantly blamed a Republican conspiracy to hurt Volt sales as a contributing factor to the dismal sales figures for the car. Regarding supply, a recent search on showed that 6,804 new Chevy Volts are available nationwide. That's about a five months supply! The problem is obviously a lack of demand as GM produced 2,722 Volts in March; over a thousand more than needed.

GM and the Obama Administration have done what they can to prop up sales of the Volt and give the false appearance of success. Lease terms were manipulated to manufacture demand, as GM even admitted. Crony Corporation General Electric (supplier of charging stations) agreed to purchase 15,000 of the vehicles. Localities, and even the military, used taxpayer dollars to purchase Volts. And worst of all, wealthy buyers of the Volt receive a federal tax credit of $7,500 each to purchase (or lease) the vehicles.

We have already wasted billions of dollars on the Volt and other electric vehicles, despite trillion dollar deficits. It is time to pull the plug and hold accountable the people who squandered public resources. GM had no choice but to go along with the wishes of its biggest shareholder, but it, too, has been weakened by focusing resources on a dead end project. Instead of improving the performance of vehicles for which there is market demand, the Volt has tied up limited technical resources.

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