GM Loses Over $49,000 On Every Chevy Volt

Tyler Durden's picture

Watching Phil LeBlow providing Ford with a reacharound this morning reminded us of total farce that is both the forest and the trees of the US auto industry. We have discussed the FUBAR channel-stuffing and the subprime-lending SNAFU but now, as Reuters reports, we see the ugly truth about GM's little baby "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced". Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds.

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Furthermore, there are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce. And while the loss per vehicle will shrink as more are built and sold, GM is still years away from making money on the Volt, which will soon face new competitors from Ford, Honda and others.

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The weak sales are forcing GM to idle the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant that makes the Chevrolet Volt for four weeks from September 17, according to plant suppliers and union sources. It is the second time GM has had to call a Volt production halt this year.GM acknowledges the Volt continues to lose money, and suggests it might not reach break even until the next-generation model is launched in about three years. "It's true, we're not making money yet" on the Volt, said Doug Parks, GM's vice president of global product programs and the former Volt development chief, in an interview. The car "eventually will make money. As the volume comes up and we get into the Gen 2 car, we're going to turn (the losses) around," Parks said.

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Estimates on the cost to build a Volt range from $76,000 to $88,000, according to four industry consultants contacted by Reuters with one concluding: "I don't see how General Motors will ever get its money back on that vehicle,"

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The Obama administration, which engineered a $50-billion taxpayer rescue of GM from bankruptcy in 2009 and has provided more than $5 billion in subsidies for green-car development, praised the Volt as an example of the country's commitment to building more fuel-efficient cars.

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As a reminder: presenting the Obama Volt

Chevy Volt - Building a Better Tomorrow from Mister Smith Media on Vimeo.