By JR on Saturday, March 03, 2012
Another of Obama's "Green jobs" projects bites the dust
General Motors has reportedly sent home 1300 employees for five weeks due to a lack of demand for its much-hyped plug-in hybrid car, the Volt.
The Detroit Free Press quotes GM spokesman Chris Lee as saying: "Even with sales up in February over January we are still seeking to align our production with demand."
The Hamtramck production plant, which builds the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera and will also produce the Holden badged Volt, will close its doors from March 19 to April 23, according to Lee.
The plant closure is a public relations disaster for GM, which had heralded the car as a breakthrough for the US automotive industry.
The Volt is GM's first hybrid car that is designed to run primarily on electricity. It uses a small capacity petrol engine as a "range-extender", allowing it to travel longer distances.
Chevrolet fell embarrassingly short of its initial 10,000 unit sales target for the Volt in the US in 2011, with just 7671 cars sold.
Bad publicity surrounding a fire in a crash tested Volt has hampered sales in recent months. The car was cleared by safety investigators but January sales were at an all-time low before rebounding last month.
Industry newsletter Automotive News says GM has a stockpile of about 6000 vehicles.
Price seems to be the main barrier to acceptance of the plug-in, with consumers unwilling to pay double the amount they would for a conventional car of the same size.