General Motors’ decision to stop making Chevy Volts for the time being was an easy one. February’s sales uptick was only a dead-cat bounce for its controversial near-EV, and GM still needs to slim down stockpiles of the car that would last nearly half a year at current sales rates.
No matter Volt’s broader and potentially historic significance — GM can’t simply keep pumping units out of its Detroit factory and expect Chevy dealers to figure out how to sell them to a currently unwilling public.
Now comes a much harder decision for GM’s brain trust: They may need to recast their long-term strategy for Volt. They said as much back in January, after the federal government cleared the car in its safety investigation, and promised the results of their re-evaluation by spring.
The landscape needs to clarify a bit before GM can become confident of making the right call on a vehicle that is so high-profile — hailed as a veritable icon of “green” energy by President Obama and as a “halo” vehicle by CEO Dan Akerson, yet derided as a boondoggle by critics and, at worst, reviled as the poster image for environmental extremism.