General Motors will add a third shutdown week this summer at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the birthplace of the Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera. The move is in line with one of “New GM’s” objectives to produce to meet demand, rather than amass inventory at dealerships.
The plant, which employs 1,300 workers, also saw an extended summer shut down last year. It was then idled late December 2011 until early February following by a shut down from March 19 through April 23 — all in response to soft demand of the extended-range electric vehicle, which sold 1,023 units in February and 603 in January.
However, Volt sales seem to be on the rise, as over 2,200 were delivered in March. General Motors originally planned to sell 10,000 Volts in 2011, but fell short of the target, selling 7,700 units. The company then abandoned plans to sell 45,000 units in 2012, instead setting out to match market demand.
In a recent interview, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that “It’s foolhardy to produce beyond demand”, a practice for which Old GM was notorious. Doing so resulted in significant incentives on aged inventory and decreased profitability for GM as well as its dealers.
Detroit-Hamtramck will most likely see very few periods of shut down in the future, however, as it will also produce two all-new vehicles — the 2013 Chevy Malibu and 2014 Chevy Impala. The latter made its debut earlier today at the New York Auto Show.
The GM Authority Take
As we said earlier today — with gas prices approaching $5 a gallon, a new series of nationwide commercials, and declining (unfounded) political attacks against the Volt — we expect demand for this excellent vehicle to continue to grow in the near- and long-term futures… because at some point, enough people will understand the Volt to buy it in droves.