General Motors to temporarily suspend Chevy Volt production

General Motors to temporarily suspend Chevy Volt production

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By ROOP RAJ
MyFox Detroit Reporter

PLYMOUTH, Mich. (MyFox Detroit)
-- The plant that makes the Chevy Volt is closing temporarily this fall.  The headline had people wondering if that meant the spark of the Volt is fizzling.  That's far from the story.  Sales numbers are on fire.

"They're actually looking at growing this.  It's had it's best month ever in August, a lot of sources tell me, so we'll see exactly how they do and where they're going with it," said auto industry analyst Aaron Bragman with IHS.

He said the shutdown isn't about Volt sales.  To the contrary.  GM has the luxury to slow production down to make room for more product, retooling the factory for another car.

It's not just Volt production with the hiatus.  The electric car is joined by another Chevy, which is also being idled at this plant.

"It's not just Volt.  It's Volt and Malibu.  They make Malibu in two plants, so they can afford to stop there for awhile.  It's only for a couple of weeks.  They're going to use it to retool the plant to make the new Chevrolet Impala that's going to be made there instead of in Oshawa, Canada."

At Lou LaRiche Chevrolet in Plymouth it's good news with these Volts.  In fact, there are eight of the 2013 models sitting on their lot and another eight in the pipeline, and the people who have actually driven off and bought them, they say they are giving them pretty high marks.

"They're very thrilled that they don't have to stop at the gas station to put fuel in it, so pretty happy," said John Folino with the dealership.

Sales of the Volt fell short of GM's goals last year, and if this idling of the plant is bringing back de ja vu, the same plant was idled for a month as inventory stacked up in the spring.  This, Bragman said, is different.

"They can afford to do this because they have another plant in Fairfax, Kansas that's making the Chevy Malibu, which is also made in Hamtramck, and they have sufficient inventory of the Chevy Volt, about 84 days on hand as of the end of July, that they can afford to take a couple of weeks off."

California is one of the hottest markets for the Volt.  Electric sales not just because green is on drivers' minds, but time is, too.

"You can now get an HOV sticker for your Volt and drive in the HOV lanes even if there's only one of you in the car.  That's really proving to be a boom for Volt sales.  One of every three Volts is actually sold in California."

So when will this all happen?  The Volt line and the Malibu line will both close come mid-September.

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