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Leaf & Volt Sales: February 2012

UPDATE: General Motors swooned at the prospect of President Obama purchasing a Volt when he leaves office, and as a result, production has been halted for five weeks at the cost of 1300 lay-offs. The real reason for the suspension is that GM needs to ‘align it’s production with demand’, which in plain English means the GE purchase order hasn’t arrived yet and the supply chain is stacked worse than a casting call for Baywatch circa 1991, or something.

Thanks to long-suffering reader WTF for the link, good spot.

Original post:

Electric vehicle sales figures are out for the second month of the year, and GM handily beat Nissan by selling 1023 Volts against the Japanese auto-makers 478 Leafs.

The Volt had its fourth-best ever month while the Leaf sold the fewest units in a month since April last year. Perhaps the Superbowl ads that featured space aliens trying to figure out why an ‘electric’ car has a gas engine helped GM beat out the all-electric Leaf.

The Volt has a potential new buyer in Forbes writer Kenneth Rapoza, who admits to knowing nothing about cars but figures with gas prices hitting near-record levels that he can’t lose. Though someone should tell him the Volt actually does need gas:

The Prius gets 50 mpg’s on average. It cost just $23,000. It’s okay looking. But the Chevy Volt is even better looking, sort of like a brand new girlfriend.

If gasoline is going to $6 a gallon, as libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul thinks, and as Steve Odland considered here at Forbes last week, then I want a car that doesn’t need any gasoline at all. Oil can go to $150 a barrel and my transportation expenses won’t rise a cent. I feel like I’m beating the market, and that feels pretty good; pretty, pretty, pretty good.

GM won the GE lottery when it announced that in future, all sedan purchases by the firm would be Chevy Volts. That will help their numbers, even if there are easier ways to redistribute taxpayer dollars without investing in fiery chariots of doom pretend electric cars.

But GM look like marketing geniuses against Nissan, unless the recall of 86,000 gas-powered cars wasn’t part of a dastardly scheme to drive customers towards the battery option.

Even though sales are still rolling for both Leaf and Volt, there are still at least three good reasons why they’re still a tough sell. Still, things could be worse:

*hippie not included

Neither Chevy or Nissan is facing the level of marketing disaster currently plaguing Tesla. The electric sports car firm was forced to admit that should the battery be drained all the way, it’s no good. Forever:

If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a “brick”: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery.

Here’s a little something from the Video Volt. See what I did there?


 Check in next month for more fun with electric vehicle sales.