January 2014 Chevrolet Volt Sales Disappoint While Nissan Leaf Sales Climb


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The Chevrolet Volt posted lackluster sales in the month of January 2014, selling just 918 vehicles vs. 1,140 in 2013.  That’s a 19.5 percent decrease.  The last time the Volt saw such poor sales was in January of 2012.  Granted, January, with all of the cold and snowy weather promised to produce poor sales, not just for Volt but for the car makers in general but the Volt drop was particularly disappointing considering it wasn’t up against strong sales from the previous year.  Part of the drop can be attributed to diminishing inventories but if that’s the case, February will prove challenging as well.  GM needs to build more Volts, plain and simple.  Although Volt was the number one selling EV is 2013, competition is growing and others like the Nissan Leaf are closing the gap.

In January, the Leaf sold 1,252 vehicles which is a 92.6 percent increase over January 2013 when it sold just 650 Leafs.  That could also be attributed to a lack of inventory.  But the Leaf, an all electric vehicle does appear to be gaining some traction, which is positive for the entire EV market.  The two top-selling markets for the Leaf are Atlanta and San Francisco.  Cold weather markets are certainly not going to lead in sales as EV cars are not great in snow and battery charge is greatly reduced, particularly in the extreme cold.  The Volt runs on low friction tires which by very definition makes it not the vehicle of choice in the snow or rain for that matter.

The good news for EVs is that the major car manufacturers appear to be in it for the long haul.  And why not, with overall manufacturer requirements for mileage going up, these vehicles make it far easier to meet those standards. But more importantly, as the technology becomes better and less expensive, they will become a viable alternative to gas or diesel.  They are far less expensive to operate, even though they are currently more expensive than gas vehicles to purchase and are virtually maintenance free.  Finally, despite whether one believes in climate change or not, we can certainly all agree that emitting less carbon in to the air is probably not a bad thing, if we prefer to breathe cleaner air that is.

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