Thursday, June 02, 2011

May Car Sales -- 481 Chevy Volts

Even with gas over $4 a gallon and the expectation it will head to $5, almost no one wants a Chevy Volt, the electric Edsel. What a surprise. Consumers find nothing appealing about a $41,000 electric golf cart that goes 40 miles on a single battery charge. Of course it only goes 40 miles on flat terrain. Throw in some hills while traveling on a hot rainy night when you need the wipers, the air conditioner, the lights and you're blasting the stereo, well, then you'll go less than 40 miles on that single charge.

Electric Boogaloo: Nissan Leaf tallies 1,141 May sales to Chevy Volt's 481

Once again, General Motors is burying the monthly sales totals for the Chevy Volt. In a press release headlined "May U.S. Retail Sales Rise 9 Percent on Demand for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles," the Volt's sales numbers are not disclosed. Instead, the total – 481 – is in the detailed PDF of the Chevrolet brand sales totals and shows the car is suffering from another month-to-month drop; GM sold 493 in April.

Last month, GM told us that drop in Volt sales compared to March's 608 units was due, in part, to the company sending 300 Volts to dealers to use as demo vehicles. We await word on what the reason for the drop is this time.

On the other hand, Nissan is proudly proclaiming that it sold 1,142 units of the Nissan Leaf in May, a huge increase over the 573 sold in April. Overall, Leaf sales have now totaled 2,167 deliveries this year. For comparison, GM has sold 2,184 Volts in 2011.

If this trend continues, it won't be long before we hear Nissan touting a new tagline for the Leaf: the best-selling plug-in car in America.

So, these numbers give us more fodder for the comment grill. What's going on with GM's all-conquering halo car? Is the price too high? Is it just that the true early adopters are more interested in a pure EV than something with a gas engine? What's your take?

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