General Motors executives continue to be pleased with Chevrolet’s sales performance in general and cautiously optimistic toward the Volt in particular.

Regarding the company as a whole, the "heartbeat of America” brand that goes along with baseball, hotdogs and apple pie has also now been shown to make two-thirds of its sales in foreign markets.

"Chevrolet is one of the top five American brands in the world,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson recently to the Detroit Free Press, “Parenthetically, it's the only one of the top five who grew market share last year. We sell a Chevrolet in the world every 6.35 seconds. We're proud of that, too - it used to be 7.5! When we sell one every second, I'll be happy.”


Moving forward tentatively, GM says the Volt has a long road ahead of it.

As for the Volt, noteworthy numbers have come forth for it as well.

According to President of GM North America Mark Reuss, as GM attempts to hit sales targets this year, Chevrolet will make available nearly as many Volts in October as were thus far sold.

"[O]ur availability of the Volt this month will be close to 4,000 units," Reuss said, while conceding GM is still feeling its way, and does not yet have an accurate gauge for its real demand.

“Right around [the second or third quarter] of next year, we will actually know what the demand for Volt is,” Reuss said.

This said, Reuss added that GM is optimistic about the future of electric vehicles and said from what GM can tell, demand does justify producing an entire portfolio of electric cars – in due time.

How much time remains a mystery, although Britta Gross, GM's director, global energy systems and infrastructure commercialization, recently hinted at GM electric vehicles to come in partnership with battery maker A123 Systems.

And speaking of batteries, Akerson again confirmed that getting the Volt's battery costs down remains a priority.

"The Volt is going to see significant cost reductions," Akerson said without mentioning whether this will equate to sales price reductions.

"We look at cost per kilowatt-hour. There are 16 kilowatt-hours on a Volt. When I first came, it was over $1,000 per kilowatt-hour. The number is roughly half that today,” Akerson continued. “We are going to make about 10,000 this year [for U.S. consumption] ... We overproduced on our track by 30 in September. I'm watching this. ... And we hope to hit 60,000 next year [for U.S. and overseas markets]. The real cost savings begin to hit next summer, early fall ... “

Akerson explained further nuances to GM’s rationale for approaching cautiously. He said initial thoughts were to produce Volts on a more ambitious schedule, but notching it back to mirror the Prius' original roll out ought to be enough.

"We were going to ramp up for a huge jump [in production]. My fear was, five years from now [there could be a battery technology revolution] and I'm stuck with old technology, and then I'm screwed again," Akerson said. ""You don't want to lose your lead. If we put 60,000 in the marketplace next year, I think Prius for the first four or five years ran at 70,000. This would be a good start. We do not want to lose money doing this. We at least want to break even.”


CEO Dan Akerson speaks generally of GM.

So, aside from mystery surrounding what will actually come out of the A123 deal, a limited EREV portfolio for the moment is conservatively serving GM's purposes, Akerson said, as he reiterated Chevrolet's overall appeal.

"Roughly one-third of our Chevrolet buyers has not been in a GM store in over five years. ... I think Chevrolet has the best lineup, and it will only get better over the next few years," Akerson said. "From the Sonic, to the Cruze, the Eco Cruze, the (upcoming) diesel Cruze -- you look at Malibu with eAssist (hybrid technology), and then you look at the Impala being upgraded – and you throw in some trucks and crossovers – it's in pretty good shape. And you say to yourself, what a better time to have customers you haven't seen in multiple years visiting your stores."

PluginCars , Detroit Free Press .