Chevrolet’s firebrand electric-hybrid vehicle, the Chevy Volt, has so far seen a dramatically disappointing sales record. Government Motors, however, is prepared to shovel hundreds of millions of dollars into the continued production of one of America’s least favorite automobiles… Oh, and they’re also going to introduce a new version of the Volt, with a lower price point and significantly fewer options.
Chevrolet has sold just 58,158 Volts since the car went on sale 39 months ago, despite price cuts and heavy discounting. In comparison, the best-selling Ford F-series pickup last month sold more than 70,000.
Wow… That almost makes Obamacare enrollments look like a rousing success. (Almost.) Of course, the two vehicles are drastically different – making the comparison is kinda like comparing apples to spontaneously-combusting oranges. According to sales figures, the biggest difference between the two vehicles seems to be that people actually like Ford pickups.
But let’s not let little business realities (like no one wanting to purchase a heavily subsidized, and overpriced, electric hybrid) get in the way of throwing some more money at the problem. Despite the fact that selling the Chevy Volt has proven to be more difficult than selling overpriced “brosurance” to “young invincibles”, GM is taking a page from Team Obama’s style of management: They decided to invest roughly $384 million dollars to expand production of a “new generation Volt”.
The “new and improved” model will, of course, be stunningly similar to the current model (ya know: the model that, apparently, nobody wants to purchase). According to Reuters:
The standard Volt won't deviate dramatically from the current model, which is priced from just under $35,000 and has a driving range of up to 380 miles, according to Chevrolet.
Inexplicably, some people actually seem to think that continuing the production of GM’s embarrassment will yield different sales figures as time goes on. And, really, it’s a logical conclusion… “Doubling down” is what most businesses do with products that have failed to capture the imagination of consumers. Right?
For good measure, and to ensure that their poor-performing Volt rakes in a couple dozen extra sales each year, Chevy will also feature a “low cost” edition of the vehicle. The plan is likely to work (sarcasm font), because there’s nothing quite like shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a liberal status symbol that doesn’t have electric windows. (Especially when a large chunk of the price of the vehicle is earmarked for the electric power supply.)
The low cost edition will have less than a 300 mile range, less equipment and undoubtedly fewer cup holders. (They could probably cut a few more costs by employing the rarely mentioned “Fred Flintstone” method of propulsion.) Oh… And it will still cost more than $30,000 for the privilege of getting behind its wheel. (A $7,500 tax credit didn’t do the trick… but shaving a few thousand off the price, at the expense of quality, is going to get sales rolling?)
To the untrained eye, the Volt’s sales figures pretty much resemble what the average person would consider “an unmitigated disaster”. Most businesses, after three years of abysmal sales, would sack the creative team responsible for pitching the idea, as well as the dreamy eyed managers who gave the disaster a “thumbs up”…
But, this is Government Motors. Results, apparently, don’t matter… Maybe GM can set up an online exchange for Volts if their “less-car-for-slightly-less-money” campaign doesn’t pan out. (Of course, with our current set of government leaders, I also wouldn’t rule-out a tax on all consumers who “opt out” of buying a Volt.)