Friday, May 20, 2011

GM to halt Volt production temporarily

By Joseph Szczesny
 General Motors Co. is planning to halt production of the Chevrolet Volt for four weeks in June as it prepares to build additional vehicles at the company’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.
 Cristi Landy, director of Chevrolet Volt Marketing, said production of electric-powered sedan will be expanded to meet the rising demand for the vehicle in the U.S.
  GM also is preparing to export the Volt to China and the  Opel Ampera, the European version of the Volt later this year. Landy added total EV production at the Detroit-Hamtramck or Poletown plant is expected to reach 60,000 units next year.
“The Volt will be available to customers nationwide by the end of 2011,”  Landy said.. “By taking the time to reconfigure the plant, we will be better able to meet the tremendous consumer demand.”
Both the expansion of distribution of the Volt in the U.S. and the exports to Europe and China have been in the works for well over a year.
Already in tight supply, the number of Volts available for delivery to retail customers will be restricted over the next three months before production resumes, Landy said.
The 2011 Volt was launched in California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  The Volt will be available nationwide and in Europe, China and Canada by the end of this year.
As a result of the plant upgrades, planned Volt and Ampera production capacity this year will increase to 16,000 units, including exports and a fleet of several hundred demonstration units sent to U.S. dealers.  In 2012, global production capacity is expected to be 60,000 vehicles with an estimated 45,000 to be delivered in the United States.
In addition to expanding production of the Volt, GM also is preparing the “Poletown” plant  to build the  mid-sized 2013 Malibu  , home of the Chevrolet Volt, will close for four weeks beginning in June for planned, starting next year. GM recently unveiled the updated version of the Volt at auto shows in New York and China..
During the four-week shutdown this summer, the plant will complete some pre-scheduled upgrades, including the installation of new tools, equipment and overhead conveyor systems throughout the facility. 
 The Detroit-Hamtramck plant also will start production next year of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. The next Malibu will build on Chevrolet’s reputation for providing the most fuel-efficient passenger cars. The 2013 Malibu launch will be led by the Eco model, expected to achieve 38 miles per gallon on the highway.
Earlier this month, GM  broke ground on a six-acre field of solar panels in front of its Detroit-Hamtramck plant as part of an effort to green up  production of the Volt.
DTE Energy will own and operate the 516-kilowatt system as part of its Solar Currents program, which is installing photovoltaic systems at sites such as Monroe County Community College and a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan parking structure in downtown Detroit. DTE will lower GM's energy bill because of the solar panels will be combined with more efficient lighting and equipment updates to lower Detroit-Hamtramck's energy costs by nearly $3 million annually.


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