UPDATE. 3/10/11 (2:15 EST): Despite the article that we reported stating Volt production increases are definite this year and possible next year, we are being told this portion of the story is inaccurate. GM Spokesman Rob Peterson said the U.S. Volt production plans remain at 10,000 units this year, and 45,000 units next year. No comment one way or the other was given regarding a price decrease for the Volt. When we saw this story last night, it seemed unambiguous, and was said to have come from a direct source. As you can see in text, we only re-reported it believing it was accurate. Our apologies for the mix-up. -Jeff

As many as 1,000 new jobs and 15,000 more Chevrolet Volts are to be created this year at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant as GM prepares to hire a second shift and mulls the possibility of slashing the Volt's price as well.

Plans for 2011 have been expanded to build 25,000 Volts, instead of the originally projected 10,000.

GM executives are also discussing whether to pump out 120,000 Volts in 2012, a number that comes fairly close to tripling initial intentions to produce 45,000.

Another whole shift is to be hired beginning later this year at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. (Photo courtesy of GM.)

This news was originally reported yesterday by the Detroit Free Press which says it was told of the increases by Detroit-Hamtramck Plant Manager Teri Quigley during an event recognizing the facility as a Michigan Clean Corporate Citizen.

Laid off workers would reportedly be first to be considered for the 900-1000 new jobs to be created. Hiring and training is expected to begin later this year and the second shift is anticipated to approach full productivity by early in 2012.

This could become an increasingly common sight by this time next year, if not sooner. (Photo courtesy of GM.)

Also in the works will be supplementation to the plant's electricity usage through installation of solar panels, according to the report which attributes this assertion to Frank Moultrie, chairman of Detroit-Hamtramck's UAW Local 22.

It was further said that Detroit-Hamtramck would assist GM’s Fairfax, Kan. plant with production of the new Chevrolet Malibu, while ceasing production of the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS.

Possible price cut

If expanded production is not enough to increase Volt sales, how about lopping $10,000 off the price?

This was the number GM CEO Dan Akerson challenged the Volt team to look for ways to achieve in December according to a column published by the Detroit Press yesterday.

How this will be accomplished, or if it will be remains to be seen, but the column quotes an anonymous GM “insider” who said they “are there.”

GM is proud of this part of the sticker. Reports are it may soon have reason to be proud
of a reduced price portion too. (Photo courtesy of GM.)

A three-fold means to lower the Volt’s price was speculated by the un-named tipster, one of which was raising the production capability – and this part has now become official.

The other two possible ways to slash the Volt's price were re-engineering the Volt's interior and battery.

One pundit quickly began speculating whether a smaller battery might be used, and how a 20-mile range, $30,000 Volt would sell compared to the more powerful and costly existing one which promises up to 50 miles on electric power before the range extender kicks on.

We do not know whether GM would indeed do anything to the 16 kWh battery, let alone cut its capacity, or replace it with a new generation version so soon in order to reduce the Volt's price.

All we know is it is reported that one way or the other, GM strongly desires to sell the car for less and still make a profit.

While The Motortrend Truck of the Year will retain its uses, GM is considering that the Motortrend Car of the Year will become that much easier to sell if gas prices continue upward. (Photo courtesy of GM.)

As has been noted by the readers of this site, the escalating price of fuel and a decreased price for the Volt could be key to increasing Volt sales – and GM apparently agrees fully with this line of thinking.

In light of oil prices exceeding $105 per barrel and projected to hit $120 this year, Akerson’s statement to investors in November about a “$120 plan” – a sales strategy should oil crest that high – is being cited as the rationale for why GM intends to focus more on its economical cars.

The Chevrolet Cruze, its sister the Buick Verano, the soon-to be Chevrolet Sonic, and of course the Chevrolet Volt are some of the models that stand to enable GM’s profits to continue to rise even as the price of gas does also.

Of these cars, the Volt is said to be the one that could most stand, 1) a production increase, and 2) a price reduction.

At least the first half of this two-fold strategy looks certain, and the other half seems quite likely too – possibly due simply, or in large part, to the increased numbers that would be sold.

We will report more as soon as we find out.