Automaker to put $450M into Hamtramck, Brownstown sites in ramp up of Chevy Volt ...
It’s not clear if any new jobs will go to Brownstown, where workers now assemble lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt, Ampera and Cadillac ELR. That facility, operated by GM subsidiary GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC, employs about 100 people.
Industry analysts believe the redesigned Volt will hit as a 2016 model. Jeff Schuster, an analyst with LMC Automotive in Troy, said in a Friday interview that he expects the redesigned Volt to begin production in fall 2015.
He also expects GM will add another compact [pih] based off the Volt — with a lower electric range — that also would be built at Detroit-Hamtramck.
“They’re looking to take the Volt in kind of a split personality and have a plug-in version and likely a more affordable electric version,” he said.
McBride said GM cannot comment on any future products. Schuster said he expects a new electric vehicle would have a shorter range than the plug-in version, but with a lower price, to reach more consumers.
Sales of the Volt haven’t held up to the company’s expectations. Former Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson had wanted GM to sell 60,000 a year. Last year, GM sold 23,094 Volts and lowered the price by $5,000 to help boost sales. Sales this year total 3,606, down 15 percent from the same period in 2013.
The new Volt is expected to have a longer electric range than the first generation, which debuted in fall 2010 as a 2011 model. Currently, the Volt can travel for 38 miles on electric power before a back-up engine kicks on, providing total driving range of 380 miles.
Akerson told Bloomberg Radio last summer that GM was working to “significantly” improve the range on the next-generation Volt and to get its battery range up to 50 to 60 miles or more.
“I suspect they’ll have to show some improvement,” Schuster said. “How much I guess is the wild card.”