General Motors Co sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August — but that probably isn't a good thing for the automaker's bottom line since each rolled off the production line posting up to a $49,000 loss.
GM’s “path-breaking plug-in hybrid” touted by GM and President Obama during the auto-bailout, after two years in production, costs the company about that much for every Volt it manufactures, according to experts.
The enormous losses might explain why the Volt plant was recently retooled to build other GM products, according to a Reuters report.
The $49,000 loss estimate was provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts, however, on Monday, GM issued a statement disputing the estimates, according to the Reuters report.
Analysts say the Volt may have lost even more because of cheap GM-sponsored leases that cost consumers about $5,050 for two years to drive a car that costs about $89,000 to produce. The cheap leases were reportedly designed to draw people into showrooms.
GM's basic problem is that "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced," said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group.
However, Volt is not the only charge-and-drive car running out of gas in the showroom. Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi electric and hybrid vehicles are not selling well, though Toyota's Prius has seen an increase.
But the Volt's $39,995 base price and expensive lithium-polymer batteries, complex electronics and combined electric motor and gasoline motors are not attracting crowds to Chevy showrooms.
Now, presidential pardon notwithstanding, the Volt may go the way of 1960 Ford Edsels, the last of which were produced in Louisville after sales dried up.
That is unless GM continues subsidizing the little car that can't with big losses.