General Motors has told 1,300 employees at its Detroit Hamtramck that they will be temporarily laid off for five weeks as the company halts production of the Chevrolet Volt and its European counterpart, the Opel Ampera.
“Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand,” said GM spokesman Chris Lee.
Lee said employees were told Thursday that production would put on hold from March 19 to April 23.
The Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric car, is both a political lightning rod and a symbol of the company’s technological capability.
Chevrolet sold 1,023 Volts in the U.S. in February and has sold 1,626 so far this year.
In 2011, Chevrolet sold 7,671 Volts, but fell short of its initial goal of 10,000.
In a true free market, an auto manufacturer would read the hand-writing on the wall and most likely pull the plug on a sedan that stickers at $40,000 and which possesses sales figures that anemic.
Of course, this is anything but a free market scenario as the federal government after having bailed out General Motors with tens of billions of your dollars is still partnered with GM and on top of the $7,000 rebate (again, your tax-dollars), The Mackinac Center for Public Policy estimates that the actual cost-per-car of each Volt, once all the federal subsidies are factored in, comes to $250,000 or $3 billion, total.
If auto manufacturing and financial institutions in this country are deemed "too big to fail", you better believe that the bailouts that "rescued" those same outfits are as well.
Just think: tens and tens of billions of your tax dollars and years and years later chasing the impossible dream, GM might just get this Volt thing figured out.