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Summary:

General Motors plans to relaunch a marketing, PR and advertising campaign for its extended-range electric Volt in the next 30 to 60 days, according to GM CEO Dan Akerson, to help boost under performing sales.

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General Motors plans to relaunch a marketing, PR and advertising campaign for its extended-range electric Volt in the next 30 to 60 days, according to GM CEO Dan Akerson, who made the remarks in a press conference at the Common Wealth Club on Wednesday night. Earlier this month, GM announced that it would suspend production of the Volt for five weeks, to enable the supply of Volts to catch up with demand.

GM was looking to sell 10,000 Volts in 2011, but sold a bit under that — reportedly 7,671. Then in January the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency started an investigation into the Volt over safety concerns, but closed the investigation after finding no evidence of safety issues. Still, Akerson said the investigation “set us back, so we’ve got to rebuild,” and noted that Volt sales have now snapped back to the levels that they were at before the investigation.

Akerson said the new marketing and advertising campaign would “relaunch the product” and focus on things like testimonials from Volt users and would highlight facts like the Volt’s stellar safety record. We’ll be moving away from introducing the product to the world, to showing how the Volt is performing with real customers, said Akerson.

That said, GM will continue to watch the Volt’s sales closely and Akerson says “we’re not going to continue to produce beyond demand. That is foolhardy.” The Volt also makes up less than half of a percent of GM’s overall sales, noted Akerson.

The slightly under performing sales aren’t necessarily an indicator that the Volt is doomed. GM paused production of the Chevy Cruze last year for two weeks, and it ended up becoming one of the company’s most popular cars, pointed out Akerson. He also said that Toyota sold about the same amount of Prius’ in its first year as the Volt in its first year.

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  1. I own a Volt and its a pretty cool car. I’m not an environmentalist (previous ride was a Ford Expedition) but it’s not as expensive as one would think. Ontario gov gives you $8500 and you will save about $2000 a year in gas and maintenance (oil changes once every 2 years, brakes last 100K minimum). So over 5 years thats 18.5K towards the purchase. So about $30K for a really advanced car is actually in line with the average cost of a new car these days.

    Its range is pretty good – 75Kms in the spring/summer/fall on battery – more if you use gas. If you charge at work or in between drives you can actually go 100-200kms per day on electric – basically you get to give the oil companies the middle finger when you drive by the gas station. Weird to spend more on car washes than gas. I routinely buy $2 gas just to get the discount on the car wash at PetroCanada. And my hydro bill (which in Ontario is not really sourced from coal at all) has gone up about $45 a month (including all those surcharges). I also love the fact I am using a domestic source of fuel and not relying on sources of energy produced by hostile regimes.

    One more thing – the battery will likely outlast the car. The battery and all electrical components of Volt, Leaf, etc are warrantied for 8 years / 160,000kms. In California it is for 10 years. The car will fall apart before the battery goes. And even if the battery failed outside of warranty period, for the Volt it is $2400 to replace which is not bad. Me at that point 8+years out I would simply run my barely used ICE and be satisfied with the 35-40mpg on ICE only as I would have made my money back years ago.

    Bottom line is the Volt is a great fun car with great service and support from GM. People really need to get out and test drive one. And it looks great to.
    David,
    Ottawa

  2. terry d young Sunday, March 11, 2012

    My name is Terry D. Young and I work at Mann Hummel in kalamazoo mi. I am a team leader in the battery room and vary proud to work for them and you. We have a new volt and almost everyone who has driven it loves it. I will be driving it may 5th and looking forward to it. I live in Battle Creek mi. about 30 miles away and looking forward to one day getting one. Watching mostly local tv I have seen vary few commercials about the volt. I thing you could push it a little more. If there is anything I could do to help let me know I believe in the volt Thank You Terry Young

  3. I want to get a volt but really can’t afford any new car at this time, but I have one very good idea for a commercial, that would help gm sell more volt’s I think great commercial’s really help bad commercial don’t
    jeff

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