Sep 06

August ‘little league’ EV sales report

 

Usually electric vehicle sales headlines pay attention to the two relatively major players – Tesla and Nissan – but month after month a slew of limited-market electric cars also scratch out some earnings compared to their manufacturers’ respective volume models.

At this juncture, these would be Chevrolet’s new Spark EV, Fiat’s 500E, Ford’s Focus Electric, Honda’s Fit EV, the Smart fortwo EV, the Toyota RAV4 EV and Mitsubishi i-MiEV (sold in 50 states, but with declining sales).

2014-Chevrolet-SparkEV-0
 

Some have not-so flatteringly described some of these as “compliance cars” given that they are apparently intended to do little more for their manufacturers than gain a foothold in states that adhere to California’s Air Resources Board rules.

To be charitable, in this overview we’re arbitrarily calling them “little league” players. This is because their August sales numbers are but a small fraction of the Nissan Leaf’s (record) 2,240 sales and the Tesla Model S’ estimated 1,700 sales in August.

Further, Nissan and Tesla are fully optimistic on the future of EVs and have jumped in head first, and it would appear the market is rewarding their bold moves by leaps and bounds beyond the more tepid competition.

With the exception of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, each of these cars’ respective manufacturers has chosen to not be as gung-ho in making offerings widely available and attractive enough to begin climbing toward mainstream acceptance.

Some of them actually do offer a solid value proposition against Nissan, but this is where things stand.

Spark EV

 

In June this year Chevrolet launched the electric version of its Spark in just two states, California and Oregon. Its sales were 27 units in June, 103 in July and 102 in August.

2014-Chevrolet-SparkEV-045-medium
General Motors made the decision to seed the car into the two most acknowledged EV-embraciong states, and has said it will look to future roll outs.

Although as a company GM experienced multiple record sales in August, the Spark EV dipped back by one unit.

Ford Focus Electric

 

The Ford Focus Electric was initially a limited-market car, is now said to be available in all 50 states, and the company chopped the sales price in July to $35,200 plus $795 destination fee, but its sales have remained middling.

In August it sold 175 units. This is around 17 percent above July’s number, up 415 percent compared to August 2012, but the car had no where to go but up, and still does.

Ford-Focus-Electric-Feature-1213
 

Its calendar year to date sales of 1,225 are more telling. This is about half of what Nissan did in August alone for its competitively priced Leaf.

The Ford does offer a liquid thermally managed battery whereas the Leaf uses air cooling, but the market is speaking more favorably in Nissan’s direction.

Fiat 500E

 

The Fiat 500E was recently launched in California and sold an estimated 50 units in August and 35 in July (Fiat does not report numbers).

Fiat 500E.
 

This month it did experience a setback with a recall, but it’s otherwise an aspiring player, and has room to climb.

Honda Fit EV

 

Honda’s electric Fit is a pretty neat car, and has one of the highest MPGe figures for its size, at 118.

It is lease-only and in May Honda slashed the rate to $259 from $389 for three-year lease with no down payment. The package also includes a 240-volt home charger.

2013_Honda_Fit_EV-668LR
 

In February, Honda expanded beyond California and Oregon to selected markets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.

In June, Honda saw a spurt of 208 leases, but in July they cut back to 63, and in August they were 66.

RAV4 EV

 

The RAV4 EV is a neat all-electric SUV powered by a Tesla powertrain that zips nicely.

2013-Toyota-Rav4-EV-Action-Right-02
 

Unfortunately it’s sold only through selected California dealers in major metro areas and plans are 2,600 units will be made, then production will cease at the end of 2014.

Last month it did do relatively great, more than doubling July’s 109 sales with a record 231 delivered.

Smart Fourtwo EV

 

The Smart Fourtwo EV can be 36-month leased at a starting rate of $139 per month with $1,999 down.

It has only been on the market since May in California, Oregon, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. Vermont and Maine.

Mercedes-Benz auf der New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), 2013  Mercedes-Benz at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS 2013) 2013
 

There are other caveats involved as well, but the car did have a great month in August, relatively speaking.

The Daimler-owned company reported 182 units delivered which towered above 58 in July, 53 in June, and 60 in May.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

 

Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the pioneer among them all. It’s based on a Japanese market “kei” car converted to pure EV and launched in 2009 in its home country.

i-MiEV_Log_Cabin1
 

It’s now sold worldwide under the Mitsubishi brand and Citreon and Peugeot, but alas, in the U.S. only 30 were delivered last month.

The i-MiEV is really not a bad car, but competition from the likes of Nissan and others has made consumers look elsewhere.

Mitsubishi has been bold in offering it in all 50 states, and it will soon enough be joined by the Outlander PHEV which is looking attractive and could put Mitsubishi back in the minds of more buyers looking for plug-in electrified vehicles.

Untapped Opportunities?

 

With the exception of Mitsubishi, it’s believed some of these cars could do better if given the chance.

In the case of the Honda Fit EV, its lease does present a compelling value against competitors, and for that matter, so does the price and value for the tiny Chevy Spark EV and the Ford Focus Electric.

Further, we know people in regions besides California really like the Toyota RAV4 EV, but Toyota is not pushing for it. Also the Smart’s monthly payment is about as much as a smartphone after initial down payment is made.

But outside of the flagging Mitsu, none of these cars are being aggressively marketed like the two Big League players.

IMG_9865
 

Only Tesla’s Elon Musk and Nissan-Renault’s Carlos Ghosn have been bullish enough to take a chance as big as their respective egos to show EVs are ready now.

To be sure, theirs has been an uphill battle that is anything but settled yet.

Tesla and Nissan are making traction however. Of the two, when looking at the “little league” players, Nissan is a better one to compare to as its pricing is more in line with most of them.

SEE ALSO: HybridCars.com August 2013 Dashboard
But every company must do what it sees best to market its offerings as successfully as possible. No doubt this could be a lengthy debate, and comparative fence-sitting automakers have cited reasons for why they are doing what they are.

Who is right or wrong is not being stated here. It would appear however that limited risk seems to reap limited reward, and those who have swung hardest the soonest are playing in a whole other league with 10-times the volume or more than the average for rest of the pack.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 6th, 2013 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.

COMMENTS: 92


  1. 1
    Cam

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (6:35 am)

    Every one of them is so damn ugly. Make one that looks sexy and they will come.


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    James McQuaid

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (6:56 am)

    The Spark is a great looking car (in person, so to speak) that will sell well when G.M. eventually positions it against the Leaf.


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    Mark

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (7:02 am)

    You should be adding fords EVs into the little league. Didnt Ford took $5 billion plus from the same program that nissan borrowed $ 1.5 billion from. Nissan is selling thousands of leafs every month, and ford?


  4. 4
    Mark Z

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (8:02 am)

    The HybridCars Dashboard link in the article has the sales figures for the Ford and Smart. Search for a Focus by entering your Zip here: http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/trim/electric/

    Enjoyed reading the Spark EV sales of “27 units in June, 103 in July and 102 in August.” Sounds like a weather report with buyers cold in June and extremely hot in July and August! Remember that none of these have the SAE Combo yet. It will appear soon for those willing to spend the extra money. What I want is SAER; Superior All Electric Range. 200+ miles please! Design the EV with a modular battery design and dealer installed extra-range battery packs.


  5. 5
    Raymondjram

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (8:32 am)

    All the small electric cars are using a previously produced ICE model as their base. The largest advantage is the availability of servicing and replacement parts. Only a few have been partially redesigned to have a difference with their ICE origins. Personally I like the Spark EV since it is a GM product and the one I sat in the ICE model.

    Maybe a new BEV design from the ground up will attract more potential buyers, as what Tesla Motors did. It will have a greater development cost, but it could be done now, since Tesla Motors did use a Lotus designed body for the Roadster, then based its experience with that model to designed the Model S. So I expect the next generation of small BEVs to be much more attractive in appearance, using the manufacturers experience in the ICE-converted models. GM may already have new designs ready at their Korean office which also holds a Design Center. I would love to see the next generation of the electric Spark, yet it could have a new model name, too.

    Raymond


  6. 6
    Raymondjram

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (8:41 am)

    James McQuaid:
    The Spark is a great looking car (in person, so to speak) that will sell well when G.M. eventually positions it against the Leaf.

    It is the smallest GM vehicle, but it is also quite tall, having a 61-inch roofline (taller than the Cruze or Volt). The driver sits taller and more straight, needing less legroom. The taller seat also improves visibility, and makes entry and exit easier for drivers who may have mobility problem due to sickness or age. For anyone who hasn’t done so, visit your GM dealer, and ask to sit inside the gas version of the Spark. Now you know how you will sit inside the electric Spark, and why it is the best city car.

    Raymond


  7. 7
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (8:55 am)

    James McQuaid:
    The Spark is a great looking car (in person, so to speak) that will sell well when G.M. eventually positions it against the Leaf.

    Agreed.
    I think the Spark could sell really well against the Leaf. I read a post in the forum written by a guy that also has a VOLT and a Spark and HE PREFERS THE SPARK around town because it’s such a kick in the pants.

    Get them little Sparks out there GM. You have a real sleeper on your hands. This EV should sell if you’d quit dribbling ‘em out one at a time! I know a guy in Puerto Rico that wants one.


  8. 8
    DonC

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (10:25 am)

    There are three interesting BEVs which are decent values. One is the Nissan Leaf, which of course has been around for a while. The other two are the Fiat 500e and the Spark EV (I’m excluding the Fit EV because it’s lease only). These last two are the most interesting cars that have been released in a while. While Fiat has announced it has no interest in electric cars and is only making the 500e because it has to, the fact is the 500e is a BETTER car than any other Fiat 500. Plus it’s terminally cute. The Spark cannot be described as cute but it’s OK. It’s big advantage is that it’s really quick. It’s the best Spark on the road, much better than the gas Spark.

    I can see every teenage girl in America wanting a Fiat 500e and every teenage boy wanting a Spark. They’d be great. Decently safe and cheap to operate, they’d provide just the transportation kids would need going to and from school. Too bad Fiat and GM are only releasing a very limited number, and only in a very limited number of states.

    FWIW I don’t see the Spark or the Fiat matching up against the Leaf directly because the Leaf is a lot larger


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (10:39 am)

    Mark:
    You should be adding fords EVs into the little league. Didnt Ford took $5 billion plus from the same program that nissan borrowed $ 1.5 billion from. Nissan is selling thousands of leafs every month, and ford?

    Oh yes, you are right. Just added …


  10. 10
    Robert Pyke

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (10:57 am)

    According to cars.com they are down to 23 Spark EV’s within 100 miles of my apartment in Walnut Creek – that includes all the SF Bay Area, Sacramento and Stockton. Only one or two per active dealership. They seem to be selling as many as they can get. Forget about Atlanta but send one to Raymond!


  11. 11
    Jackson

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:12 am)

    Robert Pyke: Forget about Atlanta

    2ngwv0x.jpg


  12. 12
    Charlie H

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:20 am)

    (click to show comment)


  13. 13
    Jackson

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:25 am)

    Charlie H,

    You’re a real sweetheart, you know that?

    … see, there’s this little thing called “context” you might’ve overlooked …


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    stuart22

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:30 am)

    I was surprised to see Jeff’s numbers for the 500e – 35 for July? I wonder why InsideEVs crowned the 500e as a first month sales record setter in a headlined ticker-tape story last month:

    http://insideevs.com/fiat-500e-posts-big-july-sales-result-takes-all-time-first-month-scorecard-lead/

    I’m puzzled at GM’s act in regard to the Spark EV. They’ve claimed it is not a compliance only car, yet where’s the marketing push? Where’s the inventory? Can somebody with inside connections explain what’s up?

    - are they waiting until cars with the DC quick charge option installed are made available before committing?

    - are they losing money on every Spark EV produced?


  15. 15
    Jackson

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:32 am)

    Robert Pyke (and all),

    (If you haven’t, please take a few minutes to read yesterday’s posting).

    “Forgetting about Atlanta” in this context may well lead to a major EV market hopelessly skewed toward Nissan, as having been the least dismissive of the Southeast in the beginning. This would take a very long time to remedy for GM and others: Following ‘conventional wisdom’ may turn around and bite a lot of car makers in the @$$. (How you can have “conventional” wisdom in such a new undertaking is beyond me).

    I dunno, maybe it’s that same prejudice charlie has espoused … and maybe Japan has a few things to live down too (Then again, they don’t know the narrative, and Yen talks … )


  16. 16
    Loboc

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:41 am)

    Make me a BEV Malibu/Equinox/CUV with a Spark drive train and inductive charging.

    All my wife needs is a 60mi ER 4-door BEV to replace her Impala. But it needs to be a good size car because of her arthritis, rollolator and size. She *can* get into the Volt, but, it’s a little low for her. She needs oh-shjt handles also.

    I estimate that at least 50% of the drivers in my (circa 1951) neighborhood are driving the same schedule as my wife. 10 or less miles between charges. My mother-in-law drives a Taurus and gets only 15mpg because of all the short trips and no highway miles. I told her in 2007 that her next car will be an electric. She doesn’t believe me yet.


  17. 17
    Cameron Chien

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:46 am)

    I test drove the Spark EV and it was a hoot to toss around.


  18. 18
    Barry A

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:49 am)

    This is just speculation, but could the labor problems in S. Korea’s auto industry be limiting Spark EV production?


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:52 am)

  20. 20
    Jackson

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Cameron Chien,

    With a little careful advertising, the Spark EV could be the next Mini.


  21. 21
    Noel Park

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (12:11 pm)

    Leaving in a minute for the races at beautiful Buttonwillow Raceway Park. forecast temperature tomorrow 103. Check with you Monday.

    “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, LOL. (sob?)

    Go Spark!


  22. 22
    Robert Pyke

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (12:18 pm)

    Good comeback Jackson! I thought I’d get a rise out of you! Obviously on the basis of yesterday’s discussion Atlanta should be the first new market after California and Oregon, followed by other big cities because the Spark EV is really just a city car, but I still think Raymond should get his first. And if George can use it in the mountains of Arizona he should get one too.


  23. 23
    Roy_H

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (12:45 pm)

    Please, Please, Please, GM Get a move on! GM has put huge $ and effort into EV design, motor manufacturing, battery evaluation. BUT been far to timid in terms of producing products. The Spark and Volt is just too small for most people. We want more than 4 seats. Spread both technologies over more models, there is an eager market for Sonic, Malibu, Equinox variations of EVs and EREVs. I think larger SUVs should be EREVs. GM has the technology, go for it!


  24. 24
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (12:47 pm)

    stuart22: I was surprised to see Jeff’s numbers for the 500e – 35 for July? I wonder why InsideEVs crowned the 500e as a first month sales record setter in a headlined ticker-tape story last month:

    Tesla and Fiat do not supply data and are therefore estimated.

    The 35 was estimated by analyst Alan Baum based on a recall report that came out after the previous month was posted. August’s 50 is also estimated.


  25. 25
    Charlie H

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (1:09 pm)

    Jackson,

    “Context” is supplied by the Stars and Bars. It’s not that long ago that it stopped flying over Southern statehouses. I have low tolerance for symbols of slavery and oppression. Apparently, you find them useful.

    If that makes me a “sweetheart,” I’m comfortable with that.


  26. 26
    Charlie H

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (1:14 pm)

    Roy_H,

    To get similar AER, a bigger vehicle requires a bigger battery, which means a higher cost.

    And the target market, in buying bigger vehicles, signals that they do not value gas conservation.

    GM, in case you had forgotten, was building hybrid fullsize SUVs for the last few years. To some extent, that makes sense, as the fuel savings could be very great (turn a 12mpg vehicle into a 20mpg vehicle and you’ve made a big difference in annual fuel consumption).

    Nobody bought them.


  27. 27
    Blind Guy

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (1:22 pm)

    I think that States that have an EV tax credit incentive should get priority for EV deliveries. If I were in charge of delivery priorities, I would make those States top priority JMO. Does Colorado have the largest EV tax incentive?


  28. 28
    MotoEV

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (1:49 pm)

    Jackson: Cameron Chien,

    With a little careful advertising, the Spark EV could be the next Mini.

    Anyone seen any Spark EV advertising/marketing yet?

    I’m in London for the balance of this week but will be in Frankfurt for the IAA next week. The Opel Adam would be great to have stateside as an option to the Mini Coupe in the USA. I think whoever does the marketing / branding for Opel should shake things up at GM marketing. Much of GMs marketing follows that old chestnut of “As quick as fill in BMW xxx or quieter than a Rolls Royce xxx’.
    Feels kinda stale.

    Check out the Opel Adam microsite:http://www.opel.de/microsite/adam/
    Most companies are going with lifestyle marketing to differentiate their products from the crowd

    BMW i3 Marketing Splash – Demonstration of Wraparound Services and Features
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssOqQzLvnVs


  29. 29
    MotoEV

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (1:51 pm)

    Blind Guy,

    That’s what Nissan did for their Leaf rollout. Those states with partnership for EV charging stations / incentives were prioritized


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    kdawg-etti

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (2:07 pm)

    Ciao from Rome! Just got here so no time to check out the EV scene yet. I have seen tons of Smart Cars and a few Chevy Sparks. Of course lots of scooters. Italy seems like a great place for a Spark EV.


  31. 31
    MotoEV

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (2:28 pm)

    Marketing the Spark EV

    The test drive reviews for the Spark EV have been very strong but I have seen no advertising. In Europe the marketing approach tends to be quite different for a new product

    Chevy Volt Marketing Strategy
    http://undercurrent.com/post/great-media-chevy-volt-journey/

    In Europe, their marketing communication plan involves:
    - Microsite
    - Unique branding: i.e. musical composition – theme
    - Media launch event

    The more pricier the vehicle, the greater spend. Big spend launches for 2012-2013

    2012-2013 Renault Zoe (Spark competitor)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WdkUZz25UY&feature=player_embedded#at=204

    2013 S-Classe – Very expensive launch
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBBEAIIzFg

    2012 Range Rover – $$$ but good ROI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXaWa3tkVlc


  32. 32
    Raymondjram

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (2:57 pm)

    Loboc:
    Make me a BEV Malibu/Equinox/CUV with a Spark drive train and inductive charging.

    All my wife needs is a 60mi ER 4-door BEV to replace her Impala. But it needs to be a good size car because of her arthritis, rollolator and size. She *can* get into the Volt, but, it’s a little low for her. She needs oh-shjt handles also.

    I estimate that at least 50% of the drivers in my (circa 1951) neighborhood are driving the same schedule as my wife. 10 or less miles between charges. My mother-in-law drives a Taurus and gets only 15mpg because of all the short trips and no highway miles. I told her in 2007 that her next car will be an electric. She doesn’t believe me yet.

    I understand your wife’s condition. This is why I recommend trying out the Spark (the gas version) at your local GM dealer, just to see how it fits and how she can enter and exit the car. I did this and now I want the Spark EV. I am six feet tall, 210 pounds, yet I fit easily in the driver and in the rear passenger seat. It is taller than the other EVs, the seats are taller, and it may be your solution until GM produces the Equinox BEV or EREV, which I also want.

    Raymond


  33. 33
    statik

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (4:23 pm)

    stuart22:
    I was surprised to see Jeff’s numbers for the 500e – 35 for July?I wonder why InsideEVs crowned the 500e as a first month sales record setter in a headlined ticker-tape story last month:

    http://insideevs.com/fiat-500e-posts-big-july-sales-result-takes-all-time-first-month-scorecard-lead/

    Jeff Cobb: Tesla and Fiat do not supply data and are therefore estimated.

    The 35 was estimated by analyst Alan Baum based on a recall report that came out after the previous month was posted. August’s 50 is also estimated.

    Always a little weird popping by the old stomping grounds on a thread about sales, but I figured I should clarify if I could. Maybe Jeff can add it in if he likes? I don’t know.

    We had Fiat 500e at 150 units for July and 160 for August…and truth be told our estimate would have been lower too, except the Fiat had a very serious recall its half shafts. Originally it was small/partial one then it eventually expanded to all the cars (sold and produced) – of which Fiat even put out a note to the NHSTA in mid August – I won’t link because that is kind of bad form.

    August 13th note from Chrysler:
    “Chrysler Group has begun contacting approximately 270 owners of model-year 2013 Fiat 500e battery-electric vehicles. A recall is being conducted to replace bolts that secure the vehicles’ half shafts.”

    The model went on sale July 15th, and they basically put a stop sell on the car August 8th/9th.

    After that, Fiat dealers practically sold nothing (and held onto customer’s cars waiting for parts and the ‘official’ word on repairs) until almost the end of the month. So we penciled them in for 270 from July to August 9th, then another 40 odd on the overflow of what they didn’t originally think needed to be recalled (and ended up getting sold) and the last few days of August.

    All the best to Jeff…love the fact you have been working hard and keeping things going strong here at GMV the past 30 months!

    Has it really been that long? /sigh


  34. 34
    Ross

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (4:33 pm)

    There is someone here in NZ who would buy a Spark EV today if it was available. I have never seen an EV up to now that works for me on all levels. I have followed Raymond’s comments and agree with him on pretty well all points. Much as I admire the volt it would never work for me. I am a landscape painter, and my work vehicle is a 4WD diesel truck. Perfect for backcountry roads, hauling loads, crossing streams, climbing mountain ranges, and on the beach. I love it dearly, but it is a challege driving it around town and parking it. The spark would be the perfect complement. I would drive it most days, and use the truck for hauling and expeditions.


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    DON

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    Why is the Volt omitted from the write up, and the Fords too. They are ev’s as well as erev’s


  36. 36
    Jackson

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    Sep 6th, 2013 (6:57 pm)

    Charlie H,

    It seemed the obvious match for “forgetting” a major Southern city, and would be taken, I thought, in a friendly regional fashion; but many people will see things only through their own lens, I guess.

    Neither the South or Southern history is all about one thing. While Slavery divided the nation, the war was not fought for that reason. Believe me, we’re all acquainted with Civil War history, since that’s the only thing many people associate with us, and it constantly stares us in the face.

    It should be remembered that much Civil Rights history took place down here, where the effort was most badly needed, then filtered elsewhere. Ironically, the South has remained a whipping boy for those in other locales who historically found affirmative action less urgent. Go back far enough, and you’ll find that we’ve all descended from slaves, but you want to single us out?

    When will the South be forgiven? Never. When will the voting rights act be lifted? Never. It won’t matter if the purpose for it is no longer an issue. When will the South stop being last in line at the national culture club? Never. Meanwhile, the barrier which divided Germany since the 1940s has been lifted, and Japan is considered a friend.

    Seems to me that the people who really can’t forget live outside the South.

    … and where do you hail from, if you don’t mind my asking?


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    Here’s a graphic summary I just discovered of the whole plug-in sales picture to date…*

    1236648_10153164973945147_328837389_n.jpg
    *From https://www.facebook.com/electricdrive?ref=stream


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (7:42 pm)

    I really wanted to like the Focus EV. Because I like the Focus ST. But they ripped out all of the sexyness of the ST and replaced it with geekiness in the EV. What a turnoff.

    Going so far off topic I don’t even believe it but,

    Jackson,

    Atlanta is a sea of unusualness in Georgia as Austin is in Texas. Otherwise, it is the south that refuses to get beyond it. And unfortunately your statements about the Voting Rights Act put you on that boat IMO. North Carolina’s efforts to turn back the voting rights clock to the 1950′s is just plain disgusting. Texas is just a little ways behind them. The “good ol’ boys” never forget and they go to great lengths to make sure their children never forget. I grew up around them in Virginia and it was the number one why I got away from them. When I was stationed in Biloxi in the USAF in 1978 the sight of grown men walking around a burning cross in their white hoods in the parking lot of the biggest mall in the area on a saturday morning and ~10 years later seeing the same thing as I crossed the Alabama Mississippi state line on Interstate 10 just reinforced nothing had really changed. 7 years ago my current employer offered to maintain my Silicon Valley compensation ($125K+) if I would move to the Hickory NC area in support of a program. I told them they could leave me where I was or fire me. I wouldn’t move to that part of the country for 3-4 times the money.


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (7:44 pm)

    MotoEV: Much of GMs marketing follows that old chestnut of “As quick as fill in BMW xxx or quieter than a Rolls Royce xxx’.
    Feels kinda stale.

    They also like to do that appeal-to-the-emotions thing which might not even include a picture of the car. That’s when there’s anything at all. Yeah, tell me this isn’t GM we’re talking about :-( .


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (7:54 pm)

    August ‘little league’ EV sales report

    Many times Little Leaguers move up to the big leagues. Here’s hoping everyone on this team moves up.


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (8:05 pm)

    rdunniii,

    Or, like I said, “never.” And I don’t think your comment does justice to progress that has been made on all sides of this issue. You think that we’re all cross-burners and rednecks and “good-ole-boys” just standing in the wings, ready to cut loose the moment that law is abolished. Most of us aren’t. The number of those who pine for the old days grow less each year. And the law won’t be abolished. And it won’t be, whenever the goobers are gone.

    So many seem to know what is, but all I hear is cliche. No, we don’t all go barefoot and keep pigs, either.

    I’m sorry you experienced those things, but I’ve lived my life here, and I know that things are not as uniformly bad as you say. Things are bad in places, but even there things have gotten better.

    What I’m not going to do is sit here and buy into jingoism spread with a broad brush.

    I have some Native American heritage. I never make a big deal of it, but I think it might apply to this discussion. Ask any of us what single person most mistreated the American Indian, and the answer is almost always Andrew Jackson. The “Trail of Tears” was his doing, former Indian killer and hater. People were torn from their homes and forced to march West so that the white man could take their land. The dead were left where they fell, all the way to Oklahoma. I know some people who won’t take a $20 bill because his picture is on it. That’s right. The same president whose image appears above my screen name. So why does it?

    We can’t do anything about the truth of history. I have to live in the modern world, with what has been; and I prefer to consider what is, and what could be. That’s why I’m here.

    And, in my experience, those who seek to dwell upon and even re-interpret history are after something in the present, or want to sway the future according to their own agenda.


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (8:59 pm)

    DON:
    Why is the Volt omitted from the write up, and the Fords too.They are ev’s as well as erev’s

    EV’s perhaps, but certainly not “little league” on the scale of the ones mentioned in this article. The Volt and Leaf got their article yesterday.

    I appreciate this article, because it puts things in perspective. I hadn’t realized there was such a gulf between the few heavy hitters in the EV market and the smaller players. I know there is impressive technology in the Spark EV’s electric motor, but I didn’t realize it was being sold in such paltry numbers. I wonder why GM is holding back, as others have noted here. There must be a reason, though, and I hope GM is working on that.

    Above all, GM has to start putting this stuff in larger cars. Going smaller has reached the end of the road. Let’s hope there is another game changer in the works that GM hasn’t said anything about. They have enough pieces now to make something exciting.


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (9:54 pm)

    Jackson: rdunniii,

    Or, like I said, “never.”And I don’t think your comment does justice to progress that has been made on all sides of this issue.You think that we’re all cross-burners and rednecks and “good-ole-boys” just standing in the wings, ready to cut loose the moment that law is abolished.Most of us aren’t.The number of those who pine for the old days grow less each year.And the law won’t be abolished.And it won’t be, whenever the goobers are gone.

    So many seem to know what is, but all I hear is cliche.No, we don’t all go barefoot and keep pigs, either.

    I’m sorry you experienced those things, but I’ve lived my life here, and I know that things are not as uniformly bad as you say.Things are bad in places, but even there things have gotten better.

    What I’m not going to do is sit here and buy into jingoism spread with a broad brush.

    I have some Native American heritage.I never make a big deal of it, but I think it might apply to this discussion.Ask any of us what single person most mistreated the American Indian, and the answer is almost always Andrew Jackson.The “Trail of Tears” was his doing, former Indian killer and hater.People were torn from their homes and forced to march West so that the white man could take their land.The dead were left where they fell, all the way to Oklahoma.I know some people who won’t take a $20 bill because his picture is on it. That’s right.The same president whose image appears above my screen name.So why does it?

    We can’t do anything about the truth of history.I have to live in the modern world, with what has been; and I prefer to consider what is, and what could be.That’s why I’m here.

    And, in my experience, those who seek to dwell upon and even re-interpret history are after something in the present, or want to sway the future according to their own agenda.

    Mr. Jackson,

    I know you like the avatar you have, and don’t suggest you change it.

    I’ll nominate this one for should you decide to ever switch, sir.

    DSC00477


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    Sep 6th, 2013 (11:05 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    “I think I’m naked!” ;-)

    I neglected to mention that “Jackson” is part of my actual name (having come from more than one people); I choose to celebrate that as well as my Native American heritage.

    … and thanks!


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (12:59 am)

    Caddy ELR – awesome.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (8:27 am)

    America1st:
    Caddy ELR – awesome.

    Did you see one?

    Raymond


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (8:47 am)

    Jackson,

    I replaced it with one more modest.

    Sometimes I think the world (America in particular) needs more people who can be reflective and communicate their best intellectual honesty.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (12:04 pm)

    Jackson: While Slavery divided the nation, the war was not fought for that reason.

    Thanks for that delightful bit of historical bogosity. I suggest you go and read Georgia’s Secession declaration. Or Mississippi’s. Refresh your understanding of what the war was about.

    Prior to the war, of course, were a couple decades of desperate maneuvering on the part of the slaveholders pulling every political trick they knew to extend slavery wherever possible.

    “State’s Rights” as a rationale for the war, was a con, wool pulled over the eyes of the non-slaveholders by the South’s ruling class. Of course, as slavery meant that the meanest of whites was superior to *somebody* the con was willingly accepted. That’s how con jobs usually work… the conned buy in willingly.

    Once the war was over, the South then spent the next 100 years trying to nullify the result with systematic discrimination and, when it seemed expedient, outright terrorization of blacks.

    The Voting Rights Act should never be gutted or repealed… discrimination at the polls continues to this day, renewed and fuelled by bogus claims of voter fraud, as a pretext for systematic discrimination and the focus of this is, once again, the South. rdunniii is exactly right.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (1:10 pm)

    Jackson: While Slavery divided the nation, the war was not fought for that reason. Believe me, we’re all acquainted with Civil War history, since that’s the only thing many people associate with us, and it constantly stares us in the face.

    With respect, ‘property rights’ / ownership of slaves were not the ONLY reason for the Civil War but served as one of the primary reasons. This is considered settled history and has been written about by scholars.

    Please watch this video for some perspective on the topic of the Civil War
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363696n&tag=related%3Bphotovideo

    If you have an opportunity to visit Charleston, South Carolina, please take the opportunity to stay at Middleton Place. The plantation currently represents a small fraction of it’s original footprint yet it is hard to get your mind around how many people were needed to maintain this massive plantation.
    https://www.middletonplace.org

    C-Span has an excellent video archive and several long-format discussions on this topic with scholars and intellectuals of our day.
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/RaceandtheC

    While the subject of the treatment of Native Americans and African Americans is still a sensitive subject, there are still opportunities to not let time and memory serve to rewrite history.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (1:38 pm)

    Jeez Charlie H., my original comment about Atlanta was intended to be a plug for Raymond and to get a rise out of Jackson. Which I did. I thought his response was great. Let it go. No need to be a PITA. The United States is great in part because of its diversity. We don’t all have to drive or like the same cars and we don’t have to all think alike.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (1:44 pm)

    OK, have been in Rome a day now and I have never seen so many Smart Cars before! I think one out of four cars is a Smart Car. I haven’t seen any electric ones yet, even though it appears Hertz rents them. Interesting that the battery is by Tesla. Rome also has tours by electric vehicles. I may go that route.

    http://evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=28191


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (1:47 pm)

    Charlie H: The Voting Rights Act should never be gutted or repealed…

    Uh oh Noel, now I’m agreeing with Charlie.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (3:50 pm)

    kdawg-etti: OK, have been in Rome a day now and I have never seen so many Smart Cars before! I think one out of four cars is a Smart Car.

    Hey kdawg, based on my many trips to Rome I have to wonder if they like the Smart cars in part ’cause they can squeeze one more of ‘em in a single lane than they can Fiats. BTW, if you have a chance, get down to Pompeii, about a 2 1/2 hr drive; of the 25 countries outside the US I’ve been to, Pompeii is BY FAR the most jaw-dropping and memorable!


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (3:55 pm)

    kdawg-etti,

    Didn’t they tell you not to drink the water?


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (4:16 pm)

    Charlie H,

    rdunniii,

    kdawg-etti,

    My point being, there will never be forgiveness, long after those unfortunate events; even to the remotest future. Go back and read. I said even when any need for the law has passed (or words to that effect). I pulled it out of the air as an example, and you’ve shown only your intolerance of an entire region, proving my point. Things are not what they were, and you can’t change this no matter how hard you try. Have you forgotten that it was Barack Obama, the first black president, who recently said,

    “To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed — that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years.”

    My point being, for many of you, there will never be forgiveness, or respect. We’ve kissed and made up with Germany concerning the Nazis, Japan for Pearl Harbor, and if not for Putin, Russia for the oppression of the Soviet Union. We’ll probably have our violent differences with Islamic Fascism and make up with each other afterwards before many are willing to “forget.” It seems that you are the ones who have taken to heart the phrase: “Forget, Hell.”

    So go ahead and skip Atlanta. Let the South be forever last in line to receive any new technological blessing, any economic recovery, any quarter, any respect for progress made. Excuse me, while I convince as many of my neighbors as possible that we should all hang ourselves in shame for events before our birth. After all, it’s the only decent thing to do … And would even this be enough for you? I doubt it very much.

    I know of some foreigners who are willing to sell electric cars even to the likes of us.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (4:21 pm)

    Robert Pyke:
    Jeez Charlie H., my original comment about Atlanta was intended to be a plug for Raymond and to get a rise out of Jackson.Which I did.I thought his response was great. Let it go. No need to be a PITA.The United States is great in part because of its diversity.We don’t all have to drive or like the same cars and we don’t have to all think alike.

    Could Charlie’s objection have possibly been an inappropriate threadjack? If so, The terrorists have won; and shame on all those who jumped right in with him. I never realized that there was so much vehicle electrification involved in Civil War history. :-P

    This reinforces my notion that if Charlie isn’t a sock puppet for John1701a, he’s his truest ally.

    What will it be next time? Indian digs?


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (4:51 pm)

    MotoEV,

    The issue of slavery had divided the Nation for many years prior to the Civil War. Appeals to end the evil practice on the sole basis of morality fell largely on deaf ears; on both side of the Mason Dixon line. New States were added in pairs so as not to disturb a political balance of power. It was not until the Southern States decided to leave the Union and form their own country that the so-called Civil War began; over whether it was the State or the Federal Government which held ultimate sway over the peoples’ destiny. The reason the South wanted to be separate was ultimately slavery, but the motivation of the North (at least officially) was to preserve the Union at all costs. People accepted the dual nature of American society as normal, and they understood the conflict in those terms:

    2k4rvm.jpg

    Slavery was abolished, mainly, as a means of assuring that the issue could never arise to threaten the Union again. If you’ve ever read the Emancipation Proclamation, you know what a terse and technical document it was; with no mention of morality or human rights in it.

    “Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

    [ list of States ]

    And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.”

    http://www.historynet.com/emancipation-proclamation-text

    So in an even-handed look at the history, we see that abolition of slavery was more a beneficiary of the war than it’s cause. If you want to be ashamed of your Country, do it for this reason, not for popular conspiracies designed to keep the wounds of the nation ever fresh.

    The power of the States have been diminishing ever since the 1860s, and it’s possible to argue that this has not always been a good thing; though it may have been needed at the time. Would we be better off today if we could’ve just put the past behind us and made the most of our future? If Lincoln had not been assassinated, how different things might have been.

    Charlie H: Once the war was over, the South then spent the next 100 years trying to nullify the result with systematic discrimination and, when it seemed expedient, outright terrorization of blacks.

    Don’t ignore what came after that century. Let’s see, 1863 + 100 = 1963; fifty years ago. You know, of course, what began in the 1960s.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (4:59 pm)

    Robert Pyke: The United States is great in part because of its diversity.

    Yes, but it’s often in spite of the best efforts of some to prevent that diversity or to disenfranchise some of that diversity.

    Literacy tests and lynchings and other techniques have been used to terrorize, disenfranchize or disadvantage black people within my lifetime. It’s true that the North has its share of people who should hang their heads in shame over similar issues but these things were institutionalized in the South, that institutionalization has only recently been eliminated and there’s Southern politicians waiting in the wings to bring it back.

    I’m not going to forget, I’m not going to forgive, at least not very soon and I am not overreacting.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (5:24 pm)

    Jackson: The reason the South wanted to be separate was slavery,

    There. Was that so hard?

    Jackson: The power of the States have been diminishing ever since, and it’s possible to argue that this has not always been a good thing; though it may have been needed at the time. Would we be better off today if we could’ve just put the past behind us and made the most of our future?

    A disingenuous question, as the South worked very hard for the next 100 years, to preserve as much of the ante-bellum status quo as possible.

    Jackson: Could Charlie’s objection have possibly been an inappropriate threadjack?

    Considering that my original response was hammered deep into negative territory, you could have easily ignored it. If a threadjack has occured, whining about it is unseemly, since you helped cause it.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (5:27 pm)

    kdawg-etti:
    OK, have been in Rome a day now and I have never seen so many Smart Cars before!

    How about this ForJoy concept:
    forjoy_zpsa667a139.jpg

    http://green.autoblog.com/page/2/


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (5:44 pm)

    Charlie H: these things were institutionalized in the South,

    These things were institutionalized throughout history, by all races, and in all parts of the Earth before they came to these shores.

    Charlie H: there’s Southern politicians waiting in the wings to bring it back.

    If there are, they are so far into the minority as to be irrelevant. You’re dreaming (a nightmare) to believe otherwise. Of course, it can be hard to campaign against dreams, even bad ones; especially when they are so deeply held.

    Charlie H: I’m not going to forget, I’m not going to forgive, at least not very soon

    Now who’s the bigot?

    Charlie H: I am not overreacting.

    Oh, yes you are. And what are you after, keeping the coals alive? Reconciliation? Healing? Doesn’t sound at all like it.

    Charlie H: Considering that my original response was hammered deep into negative territory, you could have easily ignored it. If a threadjack has occured, whining about it is unseemly, since you helped cause it.

    “You helped start the fire too,” said the match to the gasoline.*

    It might help to recall that your original comment was hammered by a majority here; as well it should have been, for what was essentially a sucker blow attempt to restart the Civil War on this site: in response to a posting which was obviously not intended to be so inflammatory (obvious to most, that is). If you think I’m not going to respond to such a vicious attack, or be made to stand in for generations of history, you are completely without hope. So go on and hate; but know that you hate me for where I live, not because I have wronged you personally.

    There are times when suffering an offense calls for introspection more than overt anger. Sometimes taking a dim view means that you need to clean your own glasses.

    And as for threadjacking, what purpose does this historical strife have on a site called “GM-Volt?” It’s not like you’ve never taken the contrarian view, or tried to distract us from a topic. You bear full responsibility for your words, and I will not back down.

    *Gasoline. Boooo …


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    Since I was personally insulted in this thread, without even having participated, I’ll take that as an invitation to reply.

    Want to know why there’s a constant push on this site? It’s to make Volt competitive. GM missed the mark by quite a bit. Unfortunately, it was due to their own choice not to follow the very goals they themselves had established. Remember those? The biggest was targeting price at $30k. That recent drop of $5k is clear evidence they should have held to that all along.

    Want to know more? Look no further than the best-selling nameplate of all time: Corolla. The 2014 model will come with LED headlights, standard. That’s better than Volt, which is supposedly a technology leader. The target is always moving. GM cannot afford to be wasting time & effort trying to realign to goals they should have been sticking to all along.

    Notice this topic? Wasn’t the point of Volt to prevent EV range-anxiety? If so, why is each automaker… including GM …offering EV anyway? What changed?


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (8:44 pm)

    john1701a: Notice this topic? Wasn’t the point of Volt to prevent EV range-anxiety? If so, why is each automaker… including GM …offering EV anyway? What changed?

    What has changed is that the old guard mindset of developing and maintenance of an automotive brand can occur through a series of conversations and ‘bright ideas’ developed on a napkin are dead. We will probably never know or see what business case underpinned the development of the Volt and the Voltec platform but it is evident the initial business outcomes did not occur as planned (GM never planned on having to cut the price of the Volt without a commensurate reduction in production costs).

    General Motors has demonstrated repeatedly that it can innovate, but as a Technology Manager one can see where the process appears to break down at GM for the Volt. Somewhere in the business rationalization process, things start to unravel and the feasibility process step (technical and financial) appears to be diminished due to other business imperatives.

    What is sometimes troubling on GM-VOLT.com is the negative attack on a post when it is constructively critical of GM or the Volt. Seriously, why would anyone in this country want the Chevy Volt initiative to fail? I cite sources in my posts because I believe statements supported by well respected industry experts trump sound-bites. 2010 has now passed and we have the ability to reflect on the Volt project based on the original product lifecycle plan and what exists today. Case studies on the development of the Volt are being written and offer insight to the development process.

    http://www.presidioedu.org/about/news-events/press-releases/professor-writes-story-chevy-volt

    http://www.presidioedu.org/userfiles/file/Case%20Study/Chevrolet%20VOLT%20Case%20Study,%20rev_%208-27-2013,%20incl%20JLL%20comments.pdf

    What tends to be forgotten by some at GM-VOLT.com is that many of us are early adopters in advanced hybrid, EREV, BEV, and PHEV technologies (we share a COMMON interest) and demonstrate it by making purchases where price is not the driving factor.

    I will stay with GM-VOLT.com because there is something new to learn and Jeff brings stories daily that demonstrate his investment / interest in the topic.


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    Sep 7th, 2013 (9:01 pm)

    statik: Always a little weird popping by the old stomping grounds on a thread about sales, but I figured I should clarify if I could. Maybe Jeff can add it in if he likes? I don’t know.

    Hey Statik. No, nothing to add. Hopefully Fiat will get some momentum going …

    statik: All the best to Jeff…love the fact you have been working hard and keeping things going strong here at GMV the past 30 months!

    Has it really been that long? /sigh

    Thanks Statik! Yeah it’s funny. I was thinking about that. Lyle brought them all to the Volt’s production in December 2010 and a little while longer. I’ve been here since February 2011 …

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (1:42 am)

    MotoEV: What has changed is that the old guard mindset of developing and maintenance of an automotive brand can occur through a series of conversations and ‘bright ideas’ developed on a napkin are dead. We will probably never know or see what business case underpinned the development of the Volt and the Voltec platform but it is evident the initial business outcomes did not occur as planned…

    GM didn’t plan ahead. That was the very same mistake they did with Two-Mode. Watching that history repeat was unpleasant. Constantly being attacked when contributing constructive advice did help the situation either. You’d bring up business need and end up getting negative votes along with accusations of attempting to undermine.

    Focus was entirely on technical innovation, which GM does indeed do well. That clouded judgment, allowing the hype to get out of control. The resulting poor business decisions were supported until sales fell so far of expectations price had to be dramatically dropped.

    All along, the message has been to tell management what to do. All those posts telling us to just trust their choices was obviously bad advice. They didn’t deliver a vehicle for the masses, because enthusiasts enabled them to build the car they wanted instead.

    It is disastrous outcome we need to acknowledge and prevent from happening again. Hoping production cost-reductions alone will make it profitable & competitive is yet another example of not being constructive. Those saying we should just be patient and wait have lost touch with reality. We all know GM will need to make sacrifices to get Volt back on track.

    The next-generation must become the vehicle it was intended to be, which means matching the purchase priorities of ordinary consumers. That requires change. Who here will continue to fight that, making “early adopter” excuses and “vastly superior” claims rather than helping GM take the next step? Ending that mindset is essential.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (9:16 am)

    Jackson,

    Jackson

    With all due respect I don’t think he is a sweetheart
    I think he like I was mystified as to why in a reference to a 21 st century EV rollout including or not including Atlanta, you respond so easily with a liscense plate holder showing what appears to be a deranged elderly white male dressed in military uniform holding the Confederate flag shouting Forget HELL?

    You do understand how irrelevant that old man is to most people?
    You do understand that the great majority of African Americans view the Confederate flag as symbol of racism?
    You ask for forgiveness for the South by continuing to wave a reminder of slavery in our faces and are surprised when someone is offended?

    I have no bones to pick with the south especially as we work together to make the United States better.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (9:35 am)

    nasaman,

    I think they like them for parking. They cram as many little cars and scooters as possible into every space. I’ve seen a lot of the Smart Cars with their rear bumper against the curb since they are so short.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (9:45 am)

    George S. Bower,

    That’s an interesting open concept. Speaking of open concepts, look what
    I saw last night.

    Twizzzaaahh!

    IMG_20130907_211842_531_zps1c220046.jpg


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (10:44 am)

    Well, we own a Volt and love it. however I think GM needs a new marketing staff for their EV vehicles. How about installing charging stations at every GM dealership even if they don’t sell Chevrolet. Nissan has public charging station at every dealership, even in Brunswick, GA!!! Just a thought…..


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (10:51 am)

    nasaman:
    Here’s a graphic summary I just discovered of the whole plug-in sales picture to date…*



    *From https://www.facebook.com/electricdrive?ref=stream

    Interesting Data Nasaman,

    If we take a partial derivative of this plot to get the rate of change of plug in sales per month we find that since March of 2012 (1.5 years ago) sales of plug ins has roughly doubled from about 4000 per month to 8000 per month.

    That’s a pretty good growth rate wouldn’t you agree?

    Where has all this growth come from???

    Number 1 would be Tesla during this time frame with about 2000/ month compared to zero back in March 2012.

    Second I would say Leaf sales have had a big effect.

    thirdly combined sales of Ford and the piP have contributed around 1000/ month.

    Volt sales YTD 2013 versus 2012 have only increased around 10% from an average of 1687/month to 1875/mo.

    However this latest drop in price for the volt could be a good sign going forward. We need to see a pop in monthly sales of around 1000 volts per month from roughly 2000 per month to 3000 per month. We demonstrated this pop in august with killer lease deals on 2013′s and the big price drop for 2014′s should help keep sales up to around 3000 Volts per month.

    Can Volt hold this 3000 cars per month sales rate going forward??

    What will be the next big driver to push Volt sales besides price?

    I would say introduction of the turbo 3 cyl should help….AND for Volt 1.5 I would say adding the fifth seat would also be a big driver. This could be accomplished NOW just by increasing DOD to Spark levels.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (11:10 am)

    Subman647:
    Well, we own a Volt and love it. however I think GM needs a new marketing staff for their EV vehicles. How about installing charging stations at every GM dealership even if they don’t sell Chevrolet. Nissan has public charging station at every dealership, even in Brunswick, GA!!! Just a thought…..

    Meh, I’d never drive to a dealer to get a charge. I’d rather they sponsor a charger located somewhere I would actually go. They could put some kind of ad on it for their dealership.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (11:23 am)

    Tom: I have no bones to pick with the south especially as we work together to make the United States better.

    It might help if people would stop remembering one of the few bad things about the South. My understanding is that the Civil War was mostly about unfair tariffs on cotton exports to Europe, to benefit Northern textile factories, which enjoyed cheap cotton from the South. Maybe if they had been able to export their cotton for a better price, they would have started treating and paying their employees better.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (11:24 am)

    Subman647,

    Unless the Spark is a ‘flash in the pan’ (pun intended), one would expect 24/7 customer accessible charging stations soon at all GM dealerships (Chevrolet 1st) in preparation for a national rollout of the Spark.

    Anyone have any info on this?


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (12:00 pm)

    George S. Bower: Interesting Data Nasaman,

    What will be the next big driver to push Volt sales besides price?

    ….AND for Volt 1.5 I would say adding the fifth seat would also be a big driver. This could be accomplished NOW just by increasing DOD to Spark levels.

    Adding a fifth seat also results in another price reduction since we removed 20% of the Volts battery while maintaining 40 miles AER.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    George S. Bower: Can Volt hold this 3000 cars per month sales rate going forward??

    What about the question of should they? Remember the problem of the past, where sales count was more important than making profit?

    Getting more out on the road sounds like a great idea. But the reality of selling at a loss and the inevitable end of the $7,500 tax-credit makes the topic of production-cost a major concern.

    3,000 per month is still a rate far short of the mainstream minimum of 60,000 per year. For Volt to become a business-sustaining source of profit it was intended to be, a top-seller among GM offerings, it needs to grow to roughly 5 times that monthly rate. Notice the recent sales of Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, Impala, and Sonic?


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (12:27 pm)

    john1701a:

    Getting more out on the road sounds like a great idea.But the reality of selling at a loss

    We’ve been over this a hundred times. On a recurring cost basis, the Volt makes a profit. The more you sell the more non recurring costs get written off.

    The original ballyhoo’d target was 5000/month so 3000/month is getting close.

    In the long run it will take Gen2 Volt to really make this car’s sales break out.

    It is an exact parallel between gen1 and gen 2 Prius.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (12:36 pm)

    George S. Bower: We’ve been over this a hundred times.

    Broken record player…. There’s no point of replying, as this same BS will appear again a week from now. Unless you want to keep a text file handy, so you can copy/paste to save the keystrokes.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (12:51 pm)

    kdawg-etti: Broken record player….There’s no point of replying, as this same BS will appear again a week from now.Unless you want to keep a text file handy, so you can copy/paste to save the keystrokes.

    Here it is straight from Toyota’s mouth so we can copy and paste:

    General critics and pundits have found major fault with Chevrolet’s Volt – talking about how it is not profitable and GM lost big and now is having somewhat less than projected results. Yesterday Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., said the Prius did not turn a global profit until perhaps five or six years after it was launched in Japan in 1997.

    In getting further clarification, I learned the company’s global amortization process did not let its bean counters say it was slightly in the black with the Prius until “just before” generation 2 came out. That was maybe around 2002 as gen 2 was launched in Japan in 2003, and 2004 in the U.S.

    source:
    http://gm-volt.com/2013/08/29/toyota-event-sheds-light-on-the-electrified-market/


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    George S. Bower: On a recurring cost basis, the Volt makes a profit. The more you sell the more non recurring costs get written off.

    Do you have a source for this recurring cost assumption? I have yet seen anyone from GM make this claim. It has been said that building and selling the Volt satisfies emission targets by generating carbon credits to offset the sales of less emission-friendly vehicles sold by GM.

    Please clarify…


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (1:33 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    George, what you are not including by sharing this quote is that Toyota as a company was profitable and could absorb those ‘losses’ while expanding globally.

    How much of old GM debt tied to Volt R&D and development costs was eliminated and not carried forward to new GM? In 2009 GM filed for bankruptcy reporting $172.81 BILLION in debt. Can you name another manufacturer who has received the benefit of having their hybrid and EREV/BEV R&D / development costs forgiven?

    Here was the situation at GM during that same time:

    Source Wikipedia..
    Wagoner became president and chief executive officer in June 2000 and was elected chairman on May 1, 2003. Under his leadership, GM suffered more than $85 billion in losses.

    In an interview,[11][12] Wagoner stated that the worst decision of his tenure at GM was “axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids. “It didn’t affect profitability,” Wagoner claimed, “but it did affect image”.[13][14]

    In April 2005 Wagoner took back personal control of GM’s North American car division in light of its poor performance. In early June 2005 Wagoner announced that GM in the United States would close several plants and shed 25,000 employees (17% of GM’s U.S. workforce) by 2008. The cuts will result in GM production reducing output by one million cars and trucks (from 6 million to 5 million).
    Source ending…

    What I hear as a recurring theme that gets dismissed is that GM needs many more volume HIGH PROFIT vehicles to fund current and future advanced technology programs such as EREV. This may be why GM is reluctant to spell out a multi-year EREV product program because if they signal this to the market and fail to meet expectations, GMs stock price will suffer.

    In addition, time has shown that Wagoner was wrong about not putting the needed resources into a hybrid program not impacting profits. People shopping for a credible full hybrid are not coming to GM (Volt excluded).


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (2:05 pm)

    MotoEV: Do you have a source for this recurring cost assumption?I have yet seen anyone from GM make this claim.

    It’s not rocket science. If GM can sell a Cruze for around 20k they should be able to add the battery and more expensive transmission for another 15K. It doesn’t sound that tuff to me.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (2:57 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    I keep on hearing GM-Volt ‘elders’ stating comparisons to the Cruze are not appropriate but for conversations sake let’s look at the initial cost differentials and potential warranty obligations.

    Many Volt components are product specific and are not shared with other vehicles in the GM stable (i.e. higher cost per unit produced). A Cruze equipped similarly to a base Volt (sans EV components) retails for approximately $24K

    Volt-Specific Costs:
    - Significantly upgraded Volt IP stack and console displays
    - Volt transmission
    - Electric HVAC
    - Battery temperature management
    - Powersplit management electronic controls and programming
    - Charging components
    - Battery packs and assemblies
    - Battery warranty costs (potential liability)

    Indirect Costs
    - GM lease subsidation
    - Higher floorplanning costs
    - Dealer incentives provided by corporate and passed to customer

    There appears to be little to no opportunity for profit here…


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (3:20 pm)

    George S. Bower: It is an exact parallel between gen1 and gen 2 Prius.

    Complete disregard for the tax-credit, the market & business differences, and prior expertise is clear evidence of not being constructive or even taking the situation seriously. It’s time to move on. Let it go! This is most definitely not the same.

    Tell us what the plan is now.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (3:44 pm)

    MotoEV,

    john1701a,

    GM can make the Volt profitable and, at the same time, more attractive from a consumer POV. I’ve outlined all the changes that need to be implemented to make it happen:

    http://gm-volt.com/2013/06/07/my-vision-of-gen-2-0-volt/

    http://gm-volt.com/2013/08/02/spark-ev-versus-volt-battery/

    http://gm-volt.com/2013/05/27/will-volt-gen-2-have-a-flat-battery-pack-in-the-floor/


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (3:52 pm)

    MotoEV:
    George S. Bower,

    Many Volt components are product specific and are not shared

    That’s why you can’t start with a loaded Cruze. LS’s are more like 17K (I rounded up to 20 to be fair. So the real difference is more like 35-17= 18000 dollars. Shit if GM can’t put production battery and 4ET50 tranny in for that I’d be shocked.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    George S. Bower: http://gm-volt.com/2013/06/07/my-vision-of-gen-2-0-volt/
    http://gm-volt.com/2013/08/02/spark-ev-versus-volt-battery/
    http://gm-volt.com/2013/05/27/will-volt-gen-2-have-a-flat-battery-pack-in-the-floor/

    From your lips to God’s ear…. All what you say sounds so logical. Use your connections at GM to ‘make it happen’. An EV quiet storm is forming and in the 2016/2017 window we can probably expect the following:

    The Tesla ‘volume’ product will be announced / beta test
    The new Prius PHV will be here
    A Toyota fuel cell may be entering the market
    BMW will announce the i5 3/5 series BEV with generator
    A new Nissan Leaf will be on the market along with Infiniti spinoffs

    Renault is ‘ all in ‘ on EVs
    Volvo is investing big dollars in EVs / Advanced Hybrids

    There will be a shakeout in the EV space and to the winner go the spoils. Chevy needs that Voltec EREV CUV yesterday!!!


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    George S. Bower: On a recurring cost basis, the Volt makes a profit. The more you sell the more non recurring costs get written off.

    First, define what you mean by “recurring cost.” Second, show how we know that “on a recurring cost basis, the Volt makes a profit?” The best authority we have on profitability is Akerson, who used the phrase, “lose money on every one.” The only way you can parse that as making any kind of sense is that the marginal cost of each Volt is greater than the revenue, which is not how the vehicle is going to get to program profit. Mind you, revenue is the invoice minus the holdback and other dealer incentives, along with rebate cash to the customer.

    Development costs were maybe a $billion. So far, they’ve sold about 50K. If they sell another 50K, each Volt “owes” the program $10K to pay down the development. That may take two more years, which brings us well into 2015… and then GM’s trying to pay the investment in Volt 2.0, which will easily run them another $half-billion.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (7:36 pm)

    MotoEV: GM to ‘make it happen’. An EV quiet storm is forming and in the 2016/2017 window we can probably expect the following:

    The Tesla ‘volume’ product will be announced / beta test

    A Toyota fuel cell may be entering the market
    BMW will announce the i5 3/5 series BEV with generator
    A new Nissan Leaf will be on the market along with Infiniti spinoffs

    That’s a great vision Moto. I share it with you.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (8:29 pm)

    George S. Bower: Prius did not turn a global profit until perhaps five or six years after it was launched in Japan in 1997

    What does “global profit” mean?

    In any event, that was 1997-2002 or so. Is that really relevant to the current situation? In 1997, nobody knew how to build an electro-motive drivetrain. That technology is now proven and at least two companies are able to do it at reasonable cost: Toyota and Ford. If the Volt isn’t making money in spite of the tax benefit assisting sales (see Akerson’s remarks), GM is very badly behind in the game.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (9:03 pm)

    Charlie H:
    Jackson,

    Yeah, well, I’m real sorry we forced you to give up slavery but you’re just going to have to get over that.

    nevermind


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (11:15 pm)

    Jim Seko,

    Ditto.


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    Sep 8th, 2013 (11:17 pm)

    Have it your way, guys.

    Ya’ll take care.