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Note: I posted this earlier today but it got lost in the shuffle; given Mitt Romney's bizarre attacks on the U.S. auto industry rescue, I really think this news needs as much exposure as possible:

Chevy Volt sales jump, while Nissan Leaf struggles

Washington —Sales of the electric Nissan Leaf continued to struggle in July, as the Japanese automaker falls further behind its goal of selling 20,000 electric vehicles in the United States this year.

Nissan Motor Co. said it sold just 395 Leafs in July, down 58 percent over July 2011. For the year, Nissan has sold 3,543, down 26.3 percent.

Rival General Motors Co. said sales of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt rose again in July to 1,849, up over the 125 the company sold in July 2011 and over the 1,760 sold in June.

For the first seven months, GM has sold 10,666 Volts, up 270 percent over the same period last year.

Volt sales have been boosted by California granting solo drivers of the extended-range electric vehicle access to carpool lanes. GM spokesman Jim Cain says 1 in 3 Volts are now sold in the Golden State. In July, just 55 — or 3 percent — of Volt sales were to fleets. GM has a 52-day supply of Volts nationwide and a 34-day supply in California.

Now, this isn't fantastic news; GM originally projected sales of 10,000 Volts in 2011 and 45,000 in 2012; in reality they came up short last year (7,600) and are projected, based on the first 7 months, to hit around 18,200 for this year.

However, they're still ramping up sales to almost 2.5x that of last year, and GM also beat expectations for their quarterly earnings report again:

GM earnings drop 41% to $1.5 billion, pushed by losses in Europe, but still beat expectations

General Motors lost less than expected in Europe during the second quarter, but strong profits from North American and China enabled the automaker to exceed Wall Street's expectations.

GM's net income for the quarter ended June 30, fell 41% to $1.5 billion from about $2.5 billion a year earlier. But the 90 cents per share beat the average of analyst estimates that was 76 cents per share.

GM earned $1.965 billion in the steadily growing North American market, despite a lower market share. While that 12.6% lower than what it made a year earlier in North America, “virtually the entire decline reflects the strengthening of the dollar,” GM CEO Dan Akerson said in a conference call.

GM is also tracking their early users extremely closely, keeping in constant contact with them to find out what they like, don't like, wish lists, how they use it, where they drive and so on; they're tracking tons of real world data to improve the next model.

For instance, this year they made the following improvements:

--The Volt was released at $41,000; this has dropped to $40,000 (pre-credits, which bring the final price down to as low as $32,500, or $31,000 in California)
--The EPA-estimated EV range has increased by three miles, to 38 miles per charge
--They've added "hold drive" mode to improve battery efficiency
--The Volt is now eligible for single-occupancy HOV-lane access in California and New York

--Also, one other tidbit I didn't know, which is welcome news to anyone who's concerned about the battery: The Volt battery is covered under warranty for 8 years or 100k miles, with no more than 30% reduction in capacity.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Electrifying news! :) (16+ / 0-)

    I have a dream of getting an electric car and putting roof top solar and a charging station at our condo in Santa Fe.  

    This week I talked to Positive Energy, the solar company that provided portable solar power to Occupy Santa Felast fall and they say they think they can help me work through the challenges with the homeowners association.

    Positive Energy installed the first solar car charging station in Santa Fe.

    How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

    by divineorder on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:29:23 PM PDT

  •  Gm (6+ / 0-)

    1. Sales numbers are always suspect because the car companies book a sale when the product goes to a dealer, not when it is actually sold. So you always have to also look at any channel stuffing at quarter end.
    2. Net income was down a lot from last year. Forget analyst expectations, they are just rubbish.
    3. The market is not buying. GM stock is hovering at close to its lows since being refloated.
    4. Good to see electric cars getting at least a tiny bit of traction.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:30:50 PM PDT

  •  "Good news"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, belzaboo, Farugia
    GM's net income for the quarter ended June 30, fell 41% to $1.5 billion from about $2.5 billion a year earlier
    That's a Billion dollars Less
    GM earned $1.965 billion in the steadily growing North American market, despite a lower market share. While that 12.6% lower than what it made a year earlier in North America,
    Think they'll sell 18,600 when they sold 7,600 last year and  projected 45,000 for 2012?

    I'd check your 401k to see how exposed you are to GM...the stock price is still below expectations as to being financially fit enough for the US to break even on its investment...

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:32:03 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, due to weakness in Europe. Nothing they can (6+ / 0-)

      ...do about that; if Europe goes down in flames, it's gonna hit everyone regardless of how well/poorly the company is being managed. They still beat the street--and while analyst expectations may be considered "rubbish" (as taonow put it), perception is still important.

      As for their own projections, if I throw out them beating the analysts' projections, I can also throw out their own projections of sales--the bottom line is that they're on track to ramp up sales 2.5 fold year over year, which is still excellent in my book.

      •  true that - perception is important (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap, elwior, cocinero, Sylv

        and a GM pep rally once in awhile serves to even the playing field against all the negative energy from the chik-fil-a crowd wishing for GM to fail.  I am considering buying one just to annoy those fuckers.

      •  Hate to break it to you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frank Knarf, MGross

        But 18,600 cars in the second year of production is not a success from a car industry perspective or a mass manufacturing perspective...

        Oh, the Cruze ( the non-volt volt) that sells for half the price

        Chevrolet Cruze sales plummet as General Motors vows to protect resale prices

        The article notes that the Cruze used/resale value is high for the moment but if no one's buying new ones resale down the road is problematic.

        I can appreciate you enthusiasm for electric cars but the fundamentals on GM as the one to get us there are not evident at this time

        Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

        by EdMass on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:29:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Corvette only sells between 17,000 and 36,000 (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Farugia, Lawrence

          ...units per year.

          I'm not saying that 18,600 is fantastic, but the Volt is a completely different animal from just about any other car model out there--even other electric cars. It's uncharted territory.

        •  How to make crepes: (0+ / 0-)

          Ingredients

          1 cup all-purpose flour
          2 eggs
          1/2 cup milk
          1/2 cup water
          1/4 teaspoon salt
          2 tablespoons butter, melted
          Directions

          In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
          Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
          Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.

          "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

          by elwior on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:42:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm discussing GM's viability (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Knarf, MGross

            as a company capable of producing the next generation of car, that doesn't matter I guess?

            BTW I don't have the proper pan to make crepes...but thanks for the recipe!

            Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

            by EdMass on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:49:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yeah? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brainwrap, Sylv
          But 18,600 cars in the second year of production is not a success from a car industry perspective or a mass manufacturing perspective...
          Tell that to Toyota....

          In its second year on the U.S market, the Toyota Prius sold 15 k units.  Now its considered to be one of Toyota's most successful vehicles.

          With a groundbreaking vehicle like the Prius was then and the Volt is now, the initial sales volume is of secondary importance to the growth of sales, continued improvements to the vehicle, and customer satisfaction.

          The Volt represents the future, and it is doing well.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 02:05:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Also can't wait to start seeing Teslas (7+ / 0-)

    on the road, although the numbers won't be significant until next year.  The company blog keeps people apprised of the rate of production, and it's steadily ramping up since the commencement of manufacturing last month.

    Republicans hate you more than they love their children.

    by Troubadour on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:37:22 PM PDT

  •  The only problem I see... (8+ / 0-)

    ...is that the Volt is a niche vehicle. In her shopping for a new car revently, Calamity Jean wanted to test-drive a Volt, with the possible purchase of one (she could afford it, BTW). She found it cramped, and the driver's seat to be too narrow, and bought another car. GM needs to consider other platforms, and making more space inside the car. Look at the Prius: they built it so there's more space inside, for a small car. GM can do better, but it's a start.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:38:19 PM PDT

    •  I'm not saying it's perfect (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, JeffW, Larsstephens, Sylv

      I've never actually ridden in one; the other big complaint I've heard is that the rear window visibility is too small. Other than that, however, it's getting extremely high customer satisfaction rates.

      GM is also tracking their early users extremely closely, keeping in constant contact with them to find out what they like, don't like, wish lists, how they use it, where they drive and so on; they're tracking tons of real world data to improve the next model.

      For instance, this year they made the following improvements:

      --The Volt was released at $41,000; this has dropped to $40,000 (pre-credits, which bring the final price down to as low as $32,500, or $31,000 in California)
      --The EPA-estimated EV range has increased by three miles, to 38 miles per charge
      --They've added "hold drive" mode to improve battery efficiency
      --The Volt is now eligible for single-occupancy HOV-lane access in California and New York

      --Also, one other tidbit I didn't know, which is welcome news to anyone who's concerned about the battery: The Volt battery is covered under warranty for 8 years or 100k miles, with no more than 30% reduction in capacity.

    •  Baloney. I own a Volt. I'm 6'1'' 230 lbs. The (9+ / 0-)

      seats are fantastic. It has tons of room. It has so much leg room I can't touch the firewall with the seat all the way back. It is the coolest car, of 25, that I've ever owned. It costs me 1 cent per mile on electric and 39 mpg on gas. My first 1,000 miles cost me $15.38.

      Not only is it the best car I've owned but it saves me $250 per month in fuel costs. That means that the entire cost of the car will be repaid in 12 years. No other car can say that.

      Volt has won more awards than any other car in history and has the highest customer satisfaction rating in the J.D. Power survey.

      Further, affiant sayeth not.

      by Gary Norton on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:36:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Former Pirus owner. (7+ / 0-)

        I loved my Prius 2004 that I traded after 8 years and 104k miles to buy my Volt in mid May and it is the best car I've ever owned.  I feel it drives as well as my BMW 325 and I think the room in it is great.  Put the seats down and I can easily fit 15 or more 2/4s tho I haven't measured it I suspect it would fit 10 footers.

        And I've got 2300 miles on it and I've still got 3 gallons left of my first and only tank of gas.  My electric bill is about 70 cents per day higher than last summer's but this has been a much hotter summer so how much of that is the car versus the AC I'll need more time to tell.

        I'm pretty wide myself and the seats are extremely comfortable.  A LOT of leg room and head room.

        I put it in sport mode and suspect I can blow away 2/3rds of the cars on the road.

      •  Same here. (7+ / 0-)

        A friend of mine bought one of the first Volts in Northern CA and I got to ride and test that car early on . Leg and a** room is absolutely not an issue and I'm above 6' and 30 lbs too many.

        I just wished GM had been a bit more daring, design wise. Although, you always have to be careful for what you wish with those guys. After all, GM's notion of daring includes the 2001 Pontiac Aztek :-)

        I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

        by Farugia on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:11:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I dunno, I wanted to like it but I didn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      Took it for a test drive along with mr. madhaus.  The back seats don't have enough legroom for adults, and we have teens.  I wasn't super comfortable in the drivers' seat either.  And I did not like that sea of buttons on the center console, all looking alike, and none giving cues what they do.  When we started the car the radio was blaring and it took a LONG time to figure out how to shut it off.

      We bought a Nissan Leaf.  MUCH more room inside.  It looks like a small car on the outside, and people I've taken for drives in it are always amazed when they get in.  And not a drop of gas, ever, because it's 100% electric.  Now that my solar panels are online, I can sell power back to the utility during the day when power is pricey and charge the Leaf at midnight when power is cheap.

      I want the Volt to succeed, so I'm glad other people like how they fit inside. It just wasn't going to work for either of us.  I will say it drove just fine, but the dealer wouldn't let us take it on the freeway.  The Nissan dealer encouraged us to rev it up on the freeway, which certainly helped with our decision.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:44:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love those commercials (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Brainwrap, a2nite, Larsstephens

    ...although I have the part about the woman who forgets how to pump gas...But going for months without buying gas sounds good to me.

    Interested in learning about math, probability, or Computer Science and their connections to the real world? Learn more at my site: http://www.learninglover.com, or visit me on Twitter: @MindAfterMath

    by LEARNINGlover on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:51:45 PM PDT

  •  I believe that I saw this the first time around (4+ / 0-)

    and at least tipped and recc'd you.  Since I like to keep my vehicles for at least 10 years, I've only had four of them in my lifetime and the Prius I'm currently enjoying is only 6.5 years old.  The Prius has a 10-year warranty on the battery, as opposed to the 8 mentioned above, but that isn't what would hold me back from eventually owning one.

    I'm hoping that the next vehicle I purchase, in about 5 years, is PEM based vehicle.  However, if that technology isn't market-ready by that time, the Volt will be at the top of my list.

    -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:57:01 PM PDT

  •  It seems such a short while ago (6+ / 0-)

    that everyone drove hummers.  What a difference. I hardly see hummers anymore.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:13:47 PM PDT

  •  At least 4 Volt owners in my town (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Larsstephens

    Although to be fair, it's a very blue town in a fairly well-to-do DC suburb.  But still, just a year ago there was only one Volt owner here.

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:08:48 PM PDT

  •  My next car is a Cruze or a Sonic.... (5+ / 0-)

    ....these are reasonably priced, look great and support America. Chevy is back. Now we need to back them.

  •  That's good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    I just saw a Volt on the road this evening.

    I still want a Leaf or the little Mitsubishi because it's so much cheaper.  It is a bit small though.

    I'd really love a Tesla though, but it's expensive.

    Here they are.  These aren't hybrids, they are electric cars.

    http://www.nissanusa.com/...
    http://www.mitsubishicars.com/...
    http://www.teslamotors.com/...

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:31:27 PM PDT

  •  Here are some pictures (3+ / 0-)

    Of electric charging stations.  If you own a parking lot, you could install one of these and make money and start giving gas stations some competition.

    http://www.google.com/...

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:35:53 PM PDT

  •  Europe needs to ditch austerity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lone1c

    and Germany could use some inflation- particularly wage inflation.

  •  Electric Delivery Trucks Have Been Around.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...for awhile.  Even they the cost premium is $30,000, Staples expected amortization in less than three-and-a-half years.

    source 2.5 yo wsj article

    One thing about electric trucks (and cars to a lesser degree) that scares me as a cyclist is how quiet they are.  In the old days, you could always hear a truck coming up on you, but now not necessarily.  These trucks are only used on inner city routes, so hopefully the cyclists there are already looking and not just going by what's heard.  Lot's of good mirrors to choose from these days.

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:30:40 PM PDT

  •  I wonder how far the British Team Pursuit... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Cycling team could keep up their world-record pace.  These four guys covered 4 km in 3:52.499, which works out to 61.935 km/h (38.48 mph).  That is hauling some serious ass on a bicycle without aid of gravity, no matter the drafting bit, and time being given to the third rider business.

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:40:18 PM PDT

  •  Volt's still too expensive. (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe it'll really take hold in the coming years if they can get the price down. It's only even vaguely competitive against the Prius because it enjoys a huge tax subsidy.

    Right now, GM is burdened by serious problems with Opel, more than any problems selling the Volt.

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