General Motors has cast doubt over the long-term future of the Chevrolet Volt by claiming it may not be commercially viable and other rivals may overtake it with superior and more advanced technology.
GM submitted a regulatory filing report to the US Treasury yesterday and CEO Fritz Henderson claimed its “disclosures are consistent with our commitment to remain transparent and to keep the public informed of our progress”.
The Volt is scheduled for a November 2010 launch, but the GM report claimed that the range-extender hybrid technology may not be fully developed in time to meet this target date. Pre-production Volt models began testing in June.
GM has marketed the Volt as the model to turn the company around, but the report claimed it “has not yet proven to be commercially viable”. GM is likely to sell each Volt at a large loss, although it would hope to recoup the development costs in future-generation models as Toyota has done with its Prius.
GM, which is majority-owned by the US Treasury, has based its entire business plan around securing US Department for Energy loans to help it develop advanced fuel technology vehicles. So far, despite three applications for a $5.7 billion (£3.4bn) share of the $25bn (£15bn) fund, GM has not been accepted and is due to make a fourth application this month.
“There can be no assurance that we will qualify for any remaining loans or receive any such loans even if we qualify,” said the GM report. It added that the US Treasury “is able to exercise significant influence and control over our business if it elects to do so”, but so far this has not been the case.