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GM puts the brakes on Volt production for five weeks

Automaker General Motors Co. (GM) has halted production of its much-hyped Chevrolet Volt electric car for five weeks due to slow sales.


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March 4, 2012 by Canadian Plastics

Automaker General Motors Co. (GM) has halted production of its much-hyped Chevrolet Volt electric car for five weeks due to slow sales.

The company says it will shut down production of the Volt from March 19 until April 23, idling 1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan.

GM spokesman Chris Lee told several media outlets that the latest decision was made to “maintain the right inventory levels” and “meet demand.”

The Volt was unveiled with great fanfare in late 2010 but sales have fallen short of expectations perhaps in part because of an investigation into a possible fire risk. Battery fires broke out in three Volts after safety crash-testing last year, but federal regulators determined that the car was no more risky than vehicles with conventional gasoline engines. GM and federal officials believe that the fires were caused by coolant leaking from damaged plastic casing around the batteries after side-impact test crashes. They say that they don’t know of any such fires in regular use of the cars.

The car also carries a high price tag of approximately US$41,000.

The Volt is powered by a 400-pound battery pack on which the car can travel about 35 miles before it needs recharging. After that, a gasoline-powered generator drives the electric motor.

Detroit-based GM sold 7,671 Volts last year, below its original goal of 10,000 cars.