General Motors sold only 603 of its electric Chevrolet Volt automobiles in January 2012, according to sales figures reported by the Detroit News:
General Motors extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt had its worst sales month since August, as negative publicity over fire risks hurt vehicles sales in January.
GM sold just 603 Volts—above its sales in January 2011, but far below GM's best-ever sales month in December, when GM sold 1,529 Volts.
Last week, GM North America President Mark Reuss said sales of the Volt have been hurt by bad publicity.
After a series of post-crash fires in safety tests of the Volt, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into potential risks. NHTSA announced in January that the fires posed no great risk.
GM abandoned its 2012 Volt sales target in January. The automaker also failed to reach its 2011 target of 10,000 units. Despite numerous and costly tax incentives and government subsidies—which could add up to $250,000 for every Volt sold when federal, state, and local incentives are totaled—only 7,700 Volts were sold in 2011. The sticker price of a Volt is $39,145.
As he campaigns for reelection, President Obama touts the federal government’s bailout of General Motors as an economic success story. More than two years after the bankruptcy, however, the federal government maintains a 32 percent stake in the automaker.