For those of you waiting for a generation 2 Chevy Volt, Voltec CUV, coupe, or any other vehicle based on the Volt’s powertrain, you may have to hold on for three more years.
Last week, several media outlets picked up on a quote given at the Frankfurt motor show by GM of Europe head Nick Reilly, who said 2015 is the year to look forward to for Volt derivatives.
“We won’t do it with this generation, and that will run to 2015,” Reilly said in response to a question by Automotive News about whether GM will build variations on the Volt platform. “You’d have to wait until after that until you see it.”
Although the media are just now cuing in on Reilly’s statement, we commented on similar hints in August when he said the second generation Ampera would not be out until 2015, and we noted at the time this could mean the Volt is included too.
It would seem now our hinted-at guess was right but even we did not suppose GM would put a moratorium on all Voltec variations.
Reasons provided by Reilly were GM needs that long to recoup expenses incurred from building the Volt, given a slow U.S. Volt ramp up, and limited sales in other markets of variations of the Volt and its sibling, the Ampera.
As has been also reported, GM is working to get the Volt’s production costs down. It is particularly focused on reducing the single biggest cost driver – the expense of its thermally managed lithium-ion battery pack.
Reilly confirmed GM has made significant headway on this front, without specifying how, and said the battery is now estimated at around $8,000 for the second generation car.
But the knife of cost cutting and conservativeness seems to be slicing into what began as an outrageously bold initiative to build the Voltec platform – and what enthusiasts hoped would quickly lead to a series of vehicles based on the pioneering Gen 1 Volt.
Perhaps the misbegotten EV1 introduction and recall over a decade ago, and more recent financial woes from a bankruptcy and bailout have also contributed to a conservative stance.
At any rate, it would appear GM again wants to take the electric vehicle tech lead with the Volt, although this time without overstepping boundaries or repeating mistakes.
Speaking of which, GM executives have also said the company is working hard to build a “fortress balance sheet.” Although GM has the cash to buy back the 26 percent share of its own stock held by the U.S. Treasury at a discount compared to the IPO price, it has resisted this move as well.
Perhaps considering the pain GM endured being cash poor, its desire to preserve capital on a few major fronts is understandable – or will some consider its latest decision to delay Voltec introductions to be a vote of limited confidence in their marketability?
We don’t know. What do you think? Do you think it is possible Reilly’s pretty unambiguous quote could nonetheless be proven incorrect?
Or do you think the chance GM took on quickly building the Volt during tight times was big enough, and promoting it and the Ampera will be enough, as GM plots a more sedate course through to 2015?
This entry was posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.