The Chevy Volt has inarguably been the poster child for President Obama’s push to electrify America’s auto fleet. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to produce and subsidize the plug-in electric car. For years we have heard about the supposedly amazing technology for the Volt which would lead America to energy independence, be a “game-changer” for General Motors and provide a multitude of new green jobs. Proclamations were made that supply for the wonder-car could not keep up with the demand. Well, March’s sales figures are in and give further confirmation that the lofty claims were all lies.
March’s sales for the Chevy Volt plunged over 35% from last year to a paltry 1,478 units. To put that in perspective, that’s about one Volt sold every two months per dealership. The number is also down from an only slightly less paltry 1,626 sales in February. GM’s excuses for the poor performance seem to be drying up as quickly as the demand for the Volt. During GM’s sales conference call, management claimed that sales are “stable” and that they are “feeling good about the trend.” Such dishonesty brings into question GM’s credibility.
In the past, GM claimed that lack of supply was the reason for low Volt sales. In addition, GM indignantly blamed a Republican conspiracy to hurt Volt sales as a contributing factor to the dismal sales figures for the car. Regarding supply, a recent search on cars.com showed that 6,804 new Chevy Volts are available nationwide. That’s about a five months supply! The problem is obviously a lack of demand as GM produced 2,722 Volts in March; over a thousand more than needed.
GM and the Obama Administration have done what they can to prop up sales of the Volt and give the false appearance of success. Lease terms were manipulated to manufacture demand, as GM even admitted. Crony Corporation General Electric (supplier of charging stations) agreed to purchase 15,000 of the vehicles. Localities, and even the military, used taxpayer dollars to purchase Volts. And worst of all, wealthy buyers of the Volt receive a federal tax credit of $7,500 each to purchase (or lease) the vehicles.
So, now we have one more indicator that the Chevy Volt hype has all been a farce. Yet there is still no admission nor is there any accountability for the hoax that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The lie lives on as few will criticize the politically-sensitive green failure. The Congressional Budget Office reported that electric vehicle subsidies will cost taxpayers about $7.5 billion over a few years for little benefit. Nissan and Toyota have admitted that lithium-ion based, plug-in electric cars are not a viable alternative to gas-powered vehicles. Still, the folly continues.
GM has doubled down on the failed technology of the Volt, now offering a plug-in Chevy Spark while working on plug-in Chevy Cruzes and Cadillacs. The business strategy seems to be politically-driven, since there is no economic reason to pursue a technology that has been a proven failure in the free market, despite taxpayer subsidization. Billions of taxpayer dollars will continue to be lost on a green pipe dream which has no logical basis. When will it be time to say that enough is enough?
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.