Report: GM to double Chevy Volt production; nationwide in 2011

General Motors says the hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt will be available in all 50 U.S. states in 2011. Is there enough consumer demand for the company to succeed?

The Chevrolet Volt may be neat, but only residents of six states (and the District of Columbia) have been able to actually buy one.

General Motors announced on Thursday that it was accelerating its rollout of the hybrid electric vehicle in response to consumer demand.

The timetable now looks like this:

  • Q1 2011: California, D.C., New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and Michigan.
  • Q3 2011: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
  • Q4 2011: All 50 states.

It's a bold move for GM, particularly in light of a Bloomberg Businessweek report that newly-appointed CEO Dan Akerson wants to double production capacity for the vehicle in 2012.

The company's original target for 2012 was to ship 30,000 Volts; now it's looking at something closer to 120,000 units.

That decision raises several questions, including:

  • Is there actually enough demand (quantitatively, not just geographically) to satisfy these targets?
  • Are that many consumers ready to plunk down more than $40,000 for this vehicle?
  • Is GM's supply chain prepared for this? (Was it already?) A chief concern is the ability of LG Chem to supply enough lithium-ion batteries for this.
  • Will gas prices increase enough to stoke more demand for the Volt?
  • Is GM prepared for Act Two, when the federal government's $7,500 tax incentive expires after it sells 200,000 Volts?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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