Last week, we discovered that the Chevy Volt has been outselling the Nissan Leaf by a wide, wide margin. Since then, I realized that the true measure of the Volt shouldn’t be the actual sales number, but rather the percent change of sales year-over-year.
For groundbreaking products such as the Volt, the actual sales volume is of secondary importance to the growth of sales, vehicle improvements, and overall customer satisfaction. And if you look at all three of these aspects, the Volt is winning on all fronts.
It’s no secret that Volt owners are especially happy with their vehicles. Need proof? Just ask any Volt owner how they like their Bow Tie-wielding EREV. Granted, the current crop of Volt buyers are very educated about the vehicle and are its most ardent patrons. Still, Volt customer satisfaction is high and the vehicle is conquesting customers from other brands at an astounding rate. In fact, one could call it the Apple of vehicles, if you will.
Not only is Volt customer satisfaction high, but The General is making consistent improvements to the vehicle. For instance, the 2013 Volt has a three mile greater all-electric range on a single charge vs. the 2012 model. In addition, the 2013 Volt’s MPGe rating increased from 94 miles to 98 miles, for a total range of 380 miles.
Plus, certain EV-related developments within GM may result in significant increases in the electric prowess of the Volt in the not-too-distant future. In other words, the Volt is already a good product that’s even better for 2013. And it will only get better with time.
Perhaps the most important measure of the success of a new type of vehicle such as the Volt is the rate at which sales grow. General Motors originally projected sales of 10,000 Volts for 2011 and 45,000 for 2012. The automaker fell short last year (by 2,400 units) and will likely not hit its 2012 target, either.
But let’s say the Volt ends up selling 20,000 units in 2012; that would by no means be a fantastic sales turnout, especially when GM has other nameplates that sell more than that in a single month! But that is still a 2.5x increase of last year’s sales figures — which is the truly encouraging part here.
After all, 2012 is the Volt’s second year ever on the market and the car is in a class of its own when it comes to the automotive market at large. Add to that the fact that the Prius sold about 15,000 units during its second year in the U.S. makes the Volt’s sales results thus far that much more of a positive, rather than a negative.