Second Generation Chevy Volt Enjoys Sales Success


The second generation Chevy Volt is a hit with buyers. In April, Chevrolet sold more than twice as many Volts than it did in April of 2015 — 1,983 vs. 905.  Of course, last year at this time lots of potential Volt owners were keeping their wallets in their pockets, waiting for the new version of the car to arrive. The Volt has now sold more cars in the US than the Nissan LEAF. The numbers are 94,720 for the Volt and 93,309 for the LEAF, according to Inside EVs, which keeps careful track of such things.

2017 Chevy Volt

Gas2 readers are familiar with some of the issues customers have had with Chevrolet dealers, many of whom are poorly trained about the product. Some of our readers have actually encountered dealers who did not know the cars have a battery and are supposed to be plugged in! We have taken our concerns all the way to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Barra got her customer care team involved.

Several of our readers have been in contact with customer care to vent their frustrations. It makes no sense to spend billions building a car with transformative technology and then have clueless dealers torpedo all that hard work because they are still locked in a 20th century mindset. Chevrolet is aware of the problem and is pedaling as fast as it can to get its dealers up to speed.

One of our readers e-mailed today to say that Chevy has offered him a $500 credit when he buys his Volt later this month. What is it they say about the squeaky wheel? Chevrolet has also offered to loan me a new Volt to drive for a week. Naturally, they hope I will say nice things about it here on Gas 2 once my extended test drive is over. I doubt they have anything to worry about there.

Everyone in the automotive universe is wondering what effect the Tesla Model 3 will have on the market for electric cars. Tesla announced yesterday it is moving up its target of selling 500,000 cars two full years from 2020 to 2018. Buoyed by the incredible number of reservations it has received for the Model 3, it has already decided to make its Gigafactory even larger than planned.

Chevrolet has a rather snarky response to all that. “We don’t need [pre-orders] to begin building our products…We’re really excited to offer it when it goes into retail production at the end of this year to those that have expressed interest.” Are they perhaps whistling past the graveyard? Their expectations for the Bolt, due out later this year, are a tenth of what Tesla expects for its Model 3. How come the big company is thinking so small and the little company is thinking so big?

Photo credit: Inside EVs



About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • J_JamesM

    I think the reason the big companies are so tepid about electric cars is because they are terrified of making a big bet that falls flat. The whole corporate structure disincentivizes any kind of risk; instead making known quantities more attractive, even if they’re losing. They would prefer dim prospects to uncertainty.

    • Steve Hanley

      Your reasoning makes sense to me.

    • LafayetteCoboll

      There are also a lot of people whose jobs depend on internal combustion engines and they will fight for gas and against electric internally.

  • Jim Smith

    I love my Volt. Just crossed 2000 miles and still have 3/4 of a tank. A guy who works for me just bought one too. I have had a lot of people ask me a lot of questions about it so the interest is definitely there.

    • Steve Hanley

      That’s the thing, Jim. You are now an evangelist. Are you old enough to remember the commercials for LIFE cereal years ago? LIFE was new on the shelves and the ad showed two young people looking at a box of the cereal. Since it was new, neither one wanted to be the first to try it, so they palm it off on the younger brother, Mikey.

      He tries it and likes it. Then, of course, the two older kids want some, too. It’s a classic example of human nature. First no one wants something new. Then everyone does.

      It is hard to predict just when that crossover point will happen for any particular product, but when it does, watch out. A trickle can become a stampede overnight.

      You are a missionary. Go forth and convert the unbelievers!

      • Jim Smith

        yep. Just wish GM would support the car too. Where are the TV ads? I see that Malibu commercial ten times a day.

        • Steve Hanley

          The head of electric car marketing for GM says EV customers don’t watch TV ads. He may have a point. Instead, Chevy is using print and digital ads at places like Wired and other tech oriented publications.

          • Jim Smith

            so all those 400k+ Model 3 reservations don’t watch TV? The universe of car buyers sure watches a lot of TV. If not, why do car companies advertise so much? I do not think that marketing guy has clue. Scratch that, i know….

          • Steve Hanley

            Hmmm… make a good point, Jim

      • Baker

        Hey Steve, did you notice that evangelist starts with EV! I now know what I’ve been for the last 4 1/2 years raving to people about my 2012 Volt. 65,000 miles and still in love.

        I last put gas in it on Jan 17 coming back from the Detroit (North American) Auto Show and yes, I drive every day.


        • Steve Hanley

          That is way cool. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hugh Jorgen

      Go forth and peddle your scrap!

  • Hugh Jorgen

    A hit with the buyers till the warranty expires. It’s still a Government Motor vehicle which is destined for the scrap yard before its time. Who’s the biggest scrap dealer in North America? Garbage Motors!

    • Steve Hanley

      You must be one of them Ford guys! ; – ) Actually, reliability for the Volt has been surprisingly good. Failure rate for battery cells is 3 per million. Still, what happens when the warranty runs out is one significant factor holding people back from taking the electric car plunge.

      • Hugh Jorgen

        Was a Chev guy many many moons ago, but after 2 engine failures immediately after the warranty expires turned me off that scrap for ever.

        • LafayetteCoboll

          How often do you two change your oil or top it off? Results not typical.

  • Andrew Doolittle

    The Model 3 will destroy the Bolt and Leaf unless they really pick up their game or start offering massive discounts. This is a great article….I love the Chevy Volt as nothing beats the energy content of gallon of gasoline. The problem is car sales are down overall in the USA and GM, Ford and Chrysler are yet again in a fight for their lives.

    That says to me discounts across the board for the entire industry save for the Model S and Model X.