Brakes on for GM Chevy Volt

City A.M. Reporter
GENERAL Motors has announced it will temporarily shut down production of the Chevy Volt, its innovative electric car.

GM will also temporarily lay off 1,300 employees who work on the Volt’s production line between 19 March and 23 April, Detroit Free Press reported.

The company cited the need to “align our production with demand” for the halt, meaning it has been producing far more cars than it can sell.

The Volt was released in 2011 and sold a mere 7,671, missing its 10,000 sales goal. Sales have been up this year – in January and February it sold more than 1,600 models.

But GM’s 2012 plan is to produce 45,000 Volts for the United States, and with only 1,600 cars sold in the first two months, there is a low likelihood it will be able to push that many units off the lot. It seems GM is taking this time to scale back production and rethink its strategy.

GM announced in early January that it will be improving the Volt’s battery cooling system in response to two Volts that caught fire after their batteries were punctured.

Chevy stands by the safety of the Volt, but the bad press from the fires has clearly hurt the Volt’s image and sales of the car.

Industry experts had hoped the car might benefit from the rising cost of petrol but this hasn’t happened.

The failure of the car has been seized upon by critics of President Obama who have lambasted his state support for the automotive industry and his penchant for giving financial assistance to green energy solutions.

Some say that the Volt’s pricing – it costs around $40,000 (£25,263) – was at too high a premium to its rival, fuel driven cars.