Since its introduction, General Motors hasn't been able give away the Chevy Volt. Despite rebates and heavy government subsidies sales of the "plug-in hybrid" continue to be way below projections.
Two months ago, General Motors announced it was going to knock another $5,000 off the sticker price of a new Chevy Volt, making it the latest electric car to be steeply discounted as automakers battle to find people who will purchase their cars even at a steep discount.
Even at the new fire sale rates Volt sales continued to tank as September's product movement report showed sales of a measly 1,766 units (less than one per dealership)a decline of over 38% year over year and just over half of what sold in the previous month.
The floundering sales of the Volt saved taxpayers some money over August when federal subsidies totaled more than $25 million. The federal tax credits for September ring in at about $13.2 million. Taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars more in state subsidies, as well.Isn't it time for Congress to de-fund the Volt? That $13 million may not seem a lot by today's government spending but imagine for example how many cancelled White House tours could be rescheduled with the money.
My best guess for why sales of the unwanted Volt are doing so poorly compared to previous months, despite GM's Obama-appointed management's efforts to continue to try and prop up the President's favorite car, is that lease residuals must have been reset to more accurately reflect the rapidly depreciating resale values of the car. GM has been able to manufacture demand for the vehicle in the past by manipulating leases.
Chevy Volt may very well turn out to be one of those infamous Harvard Business School case studies where MBA candidates explain why a product failed. With the Volt the reason is easy; most drivers don't want tiny energy efficient cars, especially the electric ones with their limited range between charges and their very high out of pocket costs. Something our arrogant government didn't consider.
The Volt is just another classic example of what happens when the government picks winners and losers in the marketplace, they are generally wrong and end up costing the taxpayers money.