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Volt electric vehicle production ramps up

September 1, 2011 | 10:52 am

Electric cars still continue to only trickle into the market.

General Motors said that it sold only 300 of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid sedans in August, bringing its total for the year to 3,172.

Meanwhile, Nissan North America said it sold 1,362 of its battery-electric Leaf in August and 6,187 since its December launch. Nissan said its Leaf supply is stable and that it will be able to sustain the sales rate.

Combined, the cars account for not quite 10,000 sales this model year.  Meanwhile, the industry sells more than 1 million gasoline-powered vehicles a month.

"Shopper consideration for the Leaf and the Volt is flat, and down from earlier in the year. Consumer awareness just doesn't seem to be significant yet," said analyst Ivan Drury.

GM took its Detroit-Hamtramck plant down for about two months to make changes to ramp up production of the Volt and the Ampera –- its sibling for the European market.  But now it is up and running, and manufacturing capacity this year will increase to 16,000 cars.

Some of that will be sucked up by exports and a fleet of several hundred demonstration units sent to U.S. dealers so that Chevrolet can expand sales nationwide.

In 2012, GM plans to build 60,000 of the vehicles, with an estimated 45,000 to be delivered in the United States.


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Consumer guide to electric vehicles

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-- Jerry Hirsch

Photo: A Chevrolet Volt gets charged at a GM factory in Detroit. Credit: Reuters