Chevy Volt Sales Plunge; Cost to Taxpayers $15 Million in October
General Motors had another disappointing month of sales for its much-hyped green wonder-car in October. Sales for the Chevy Volt plunged over 31 percent from last year, down to 2,022 units for the month. To put that number in perspective, Toyota sells that many Toyota Camrys in about two days. Or, GM is selling less than one Volt per Chevy dealership per month.
Despite the dismal sales figures, the loss to taxpayers for federal tax credits of $7,500 per vehicle that go to the wealthy buyers of Volts tallies out to $15,165,000 in October. If GM had come anywhere close to its initial lofty sales goals for President Obama's favorite car (remember, he's promised to buy one in three more years!) the tax bill would have been ten times the amount. I guess this is one instance where taxpayers can be thankful that GM's false hope for the Volt did not pan out.
Even GM fan, CNBC Reporter Phil LeBeau, questioned the lack of demand for the Volt. Gee, is it possible that after three years of dismal sales explained away by lame excuses from GM (primarily supply couldn't keep up with demand followed by a right-wing conspiracy to hurt sales) for the Volt that we might possibly conclude that there is a somewhat limited demand for the vehicle? Never fear Volt enthusiasts, GM is feeling good about selling 2,000 Volts a month.
According to LeBeau's piece:
Kurt McNeil, head of U.S. sales at GM, dismissed suggestions the Volt is struggling. "The Volt is still in real good shape," he said. "If you look, we sold a little over 2,000 units; 99 percent of that was all retail business."
To be fair, Volt sales last month were being compared with October 2012, which was the second-best month in the car's sales history.
During GM's October 2013 sales call, Don Johnson, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet sales, said the Volt is hitting internal targets. GM also said the Volt is selling well in California, which is by far the biggest market in the U.S. for electric vehicles.
99 percent of that was ALL retail business? Is that kind of like saying GM executives tell 100 percent of the truth 10 percent of the time?
At least GM is no longer lying about why the Chevy Volt is selling so poorly. Now they just claim that 2,000 sales a month is a success. In fact, the figures are so good that GM will now launch a Cadillac version of the vehicle for rich suckers who are willing to pay twice the price of a Volt to have a classier version of the vehicle. Hey, if you can't sell them at $35,000 a pop, might as well spruce it up, double the price and throw a Cadillac badge on it.
Those future subsidized Cadillac Volt buyers will be even richer than the Chevy Volt buyers who are currently getting subsidized for buying the vehicles. The cars will sell in such limited numbers that US oil consumption and the dreaded global warming crisis will not be affected. We will continue to give tax breaks to wealthy purchasers of high-priced plug-in cars that are doing nothing to help the country.
If our government wants to wantonly waste tens of millions of dollars each month to further enrich green ideologues who buy plug-in vehicles, why not just start a stimulus program to help the rest of struggling Americans. Since we obviously have money to burn, why not randomly choose 30 or so middle-class, taxpaying Americans each month and send them a good old government check for a million bucks each instead of continuing the plug-in tax subsidies? We'll create millionaires out of the lucky recipients who do not have much hope of getting there on their own in the current crony-capitalistic system that seems to reward those with the right connections while the majority of Americans fight to make ends meet in the continuing poor economic environment. It couldn't be any more wasteful than the subsidies that have helped fund the Chevy Volt fiasco.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.