The Chevy Volt is going national a little bit ahead of schedule. GM just released a statement proclaiming that the “don’t call it a series hybrid” vehicle will be available from dealers in all 50 US states by the end of 2011. Currently the Volt is sold and delivered only in D.C., California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas. An additional eleven states will have access by the end of the third quarter with the rest of the Union getting access by the end of the year.
The press release also adds to the case of the Volt’s important halo status. Harry E. Criswell III, president and owner of Criswell Chevrolet, “The Volt is clearly bringing new customers to Chevrolet. We are seeing 10 to 15 customers a week who are seriously considering buying a Volt. Many of them own competitive brands and now have a Chevy on their shopping list because of the Volt.” GM’s diabolical plan is working.
Think of the Volt as a 21st Century Corvette. While in the past, the iconic American sports car would draw customers into dealers, the draw of a fuel-guzzling machine has faded. Besides, GM’s vehicle offering doesn’t particular support a vertical ecosystem with a supercar at the top. The days of the affordable muscle car are gone. No longer can smooth dealers effectively turn lookers of the Corvette into buyers of a Darth Vader Buick Regal or big-block Chevy Impalla. All that’s left is the plastic Camaro.
Enter the Chevy Volt and Chevy Cruze. Nowadays the popular draw to dealers are the fuel-efficient vehicles and Chevy has two of the best. The Chevy Volt’s $41,000 sticker is a bit much for some. “Besides,” says the auto salesmen in golf windbreaker, “it’s alright that you can’t afford the Volt’s payments. You have a long commute. Have you seen the inexpensive 36 MPG Chevy Cruze? It even has the same iPhone app as the Volt!”
The Volt doesn’t have to sell in massive numbers to be a success for GM. Sure, it needs to meet its targets, but as long as there are Volts in dealer showrooms, potential customers will be walking through the doors to see the it. That’s a win and reason enough for GM to accelerate the roll-out to as many dealers as possible.
“We’re accelerating our launch plan to have Volts in all participating Chevrolet dealerships in every single state in the union by the end of this year,” said Rick Scheidt, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. “This is the right thing to do for our customers and our dealers who are seeing increased traffic onto their showroom floors.”
Chevrolet Volts have been delivered to customers in the Washington D.C. area, as well as California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Texas. Customer deliveries in Michigan begin this spring.
Customers nationwide will be able to order Volts with participating dealers beginning in the second quarter. Deliveries will begin in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in the third quarter.
During the fourth quarter, Chevrolet expects to deliver Volts in all 50 states.
The decision to accelerate the national rollout was influenced by Chevrolet dealers like Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg, Md., which has seen a surge of consumers interested in the Volt.
“The Volt is clearly bringing new customers to Chevrolet,” said Harry E. Criswell III, president and owner of Criswell Chevrolet “We are seeing 10 to 15 customers a week who are seriously considering buying a Volt. Many of them own competitive brands and now have a Chevy on their shopping list because of the Volt.”
Some of that consumer interest has been fueled by prestigious industry awards and recognitions for the Volt, including:
2011 North American Car of the Year
Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year
Green Car Journal 2011 Green Car of the Year
Car and Driver 10Best for 2011
Ward’s AutoWorld 10 Best Engines for 2011
AUTOMOBILE Magazine 2011 Automobile of the Year
2010 Breakthrough Technology, by Popular Mechanics
“Such recognition provides customers with credible, expert endorsement of new models, which is important for vehicles like the Volt that feature significant new technologies,” said Scheidt. “Based on the awards the Volt has received, and the number of consumers expressing interest in the technology, we believe the Volt is the right car at the right time.”
The Volt is an electric vehicle that offers a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.