General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson plans to double the 2012 production capacity for the Chevrolet Volt to 120,000 as he works to boost the plug- in hybrid’s sales, said two people familiar with the matter.
Volt output this year may increase to 25,000 from an original plan of 10,000, Akerson said earlier this month. GM now is working with suppliers to raise 2012 capacity from an earlier target of 60,000. It may not build that many if parts aren’t available or demand isn’t strong enough, said the people, who didn’t want to be named because the plans are private.
Akerson, who became CEO in September, wants to sell more of the $41,000 Volt and is pushing to use its Voltec gasoline- electric drive system for models sold by other GM brands. Akerson has said he wants GM to have more fuel-efficient models ready for a possible increase in oil prices to $120 a barrel.
“We want to stay sharply focused on technology,” Akerson told analysts at Deutsche Bank’s Auto Industry Conference in Detroit on Jan. 11. “We don’t want to be caught flat-footed as we were in 2008.”
Crude oil that year climbed to more than $140 a barrel and average gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon. Sales of trucks and cars with large engines plummeted, contributing to GM’s $30.9 billion loss that year.
Randy Fox, a GM spokesman, declined to comment on production plans. He said he didn’t know how many people have ordered a Volt or how long they will have to wait.
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