General Motors Co. expects to build about 10,000 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicles by the end of next year and estimates it will produce 30,000 cars in 2012.
The production numbers are the first from GM since Bob Lutz told journalists at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December more than 8,000 units would be built in the Volt's first full year of production.
The Volt, which can travel 40 miles (64 km) on electric power alone before a small internal- combustion engine takes over as a generator to take the car another 300 miles (482 km), launches in November from GM's Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant.
Tony DiSalle, marketing director-Chevy Volt, still expects demand to outstrip supply in the early going.
As such, GM will require dealers who want to sell the car at retail to keep a demonstration vehicle on site.
“This car is going to be very hot, it's going to be turning very quickly,” he says during a Web chat late Friday. “It is possible dealers will not be able to hold inventory, so we're going to have the dealer dedicate a vehicle (for) demonstration purposes so customer(s) get a sense of what the car is all about.”
Some of GM's other hot products right now, such as the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain midsize cross/utility vehicles, are losing sales because inventories are so tight that dealers do not have units on their lots to show car buyers.
DiSalle says GM will require dealers to complete specialized sales and service training before receiving the Volt for retail sale and then keep a certified Volt specialist on staff in both the service and sales departments. Dealers must also install a 240-volt charger unit in their stores.
GM also is working to train dealer staffs outside its 7-state initial launch market, he says, as the auto maker expects owners will take advantage of the vehicle's range-extending feature.
GM does not expect to have national coverage for the vehicle until the 50-state rollout begins later in 2011.
The Volt initially will launch in California, Michigan, Washington D.C., Connecticut and the cities of Austin, TX, and New York.
DiSalle says retail agreements recently have been sent to Chevrolet dealers hoping to sell Volt, so it still is unclear how many might sign up.