[ad#post_ad]The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt to be built on production line tools at the Detroit assembly plant rolled off the assembly line today.

This vehicle is the first of several hundred PPV (Process, Product Validation) that will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant prior to going into retail production in the fourth quarter.

Theses cars, also known as validation builds, are important because they let the automaker know how the high volume process works and enables them to iron out any snags. They use this process to ensure the tools have been properly built, the factory properly arranged, and the workers effectively trained.

The building process itself was first developed earlier this year at GM's Warren technical center where the 80 IV (integration vehicles) were made. One quarter of those cars have been used for crash tests so far, and the remaining ones have logged well over half a million collective miles of testing.

Like everything else it seems in the Volt program, since its inception, the first full scale assembly line build has gone remarkably well too.

"Never seen a first, pre-production build go as smoothly as this one," said Andrew Farah, Volt chief engineer.

This first car and many more will be kept by GM for testing. The first car builds go very slowly. This PPV number 1 though rolling off the line today, first began production on Monday. At peak production this plant is capable of building 200,000 cars per year. There is some evidence GM has projected a production limit of 50,000 to 60,000 cars per year initially.

However, Chevrolet marketing manager John Hughes has said GM is committed to build to demand.

"We believe initially we'll have much greater demand than we have supply," Hughes told NBC News NY.  However GM "can dramatically increase production if demand is there."

By its production today GM has met another landmark goal of building the first full scale production line Chevrolet Volt in the first quarter of 2010.

Some of the limelight of this news is shared by Nissan announcing its Leaf EV price at $32,780 (plus $2200 for 220V charger), causing some to speculate it has undercut the Volt.  However, the Volt is a very different car, not to mention its price has never been released.

Hughes refused to say when GM will release the Volt's price.

He did say "it takes all kinds of EVs at different price points to  meet the needs of consumers, just as there are all different types of SUVs at different prices."

Source ( USA Today ) and ( NBC News )