Sales of General Motors' Chevrolet Volt are picking up, leading the automaker
to restart production a week early this month at its Detroit-Hamtramck
Chris Lee, a GM spokesman, confirmed Wednesday that GM would resume Volt production April 16 after a four-week shutdown, instead of the previously planned five-week stretch.
"Employees are being called back one week earlier than previously announced due to increased Volt sales since January and the need to meet demand in our strong markets, including California," GM said in a statement.
The news comes a day after GM reported an uptick in Volt sales to 2,289 in March, a 50 percent increase from the previous high in December. Sales of the extended-range plug-in electric vehicle disappointed in early months but are now gaining steam.
"We are meeting supply and demand," Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said at the New York International Auto Show. "It's not just Volt. It's everything."
GM CEO Dan Akerson told a Bloomberg News radio show Wednesday that Chevrolet expects Volt sales to reach at least 3,000 a month soon.
The Detroit-based automaker said Monday that it would halt Volt production for three weeks in July, instead of the normal two weeks.
The Volt, which starts at about $40,000, can travel about 35 miles on a single charge of electricity before a gasoline generator kicks in.
Analysts have said the car's high price could remain a barrier as buyers flock to fuel-efficient alternatives like the compact Chevrolet Cruze, which is about half the Volt's price.
In 2011, electric vehicles amounted to just one-tenth of 1 percent of total vehicle sales.
Free Press business writer Brent Snavely contributed to this report.
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