The Chevy Volt, not on fire.
Slower than projected sales of the part-gas, part-electric Volt vehicle has led GM to lay off 1,300 employees from March 19th to April 23. The vehicle was introduced last year and fell short of its projected goal of 10,000 sold by almost 25%. As of February 2012, Chevrolet has sold 1,626 Volts. Instead of expanding production, they will suspend manufacture for five weeks at their Detroit plant.
The car became a political lightning rod last year when accusations of cover-up by the White House were suspected. President Obama’s administration, wishing to promote electric and hybrid cars to the American people, allegedly covered up the fact that two Volts burst into flames weeks after severe NHTSA crash testing.
The car has a high selling point of $40,000, but government subsidies knock the price down to $32,500, still pretty steep for a small car that still uses gasoline. And rival Ford released a statement today that their new Focus Electric is “officially America's most fuel-efficient five-passenger car."
The government famously purchased the first 100 volts made as part of its promise to lead America in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
GM released this through a spokesman: “Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand.”