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GM Said to Halt Chevrolet Volt Production for Four Weeks

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Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., the largest U.S. automaker, is planning to stop production for about four weeks in September and October at the factory that makes Chevrolet Volt cars, two people familiar with the plan said.

Sales of the plug-in hybrid sedan haven’t met Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson’s projections this year. Through July, GM sold 10,666 Volts in the U.S., according to researcher Autodata Corp. Akerson had aimed for sales of 60,000 globally, of which 45,000 would be delivered in the U.S. In June he said sales would probably total 35,000 to 40,000.

The people who described the temporary shutdown declined to be identified because Detroit-based GM doesn’t make its production plans public. Automotive News earlier reported that the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant will close from Sept. 17 through Oct. 15.

“I can’t confirm those dates,” William Grotz, a GM spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “It’s just a matter of we’re matching supply with demand and gearing up for the production of the Chevy Impala.”

The redesigned Impala sedan will arrive in U.S. showrooms in the first half of next year, Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet global marketing, said earlier this year.

“In the past couple of months, the production of the Volt was running ahead of sales, but I thought that might be for this particular process because they’re bringing in the new vehicle, so they were intentionally trying to get ahead,” Alan Baum, principal of Baum & Associates, an automobile-industry analyst in West Bloomfield, Michigan, said in a telephone interview.

The Volt can travel more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) on electric power before a gasoline engine takes over.

Sales of the Volt slowed after a U.S. investigation into the safety of the car late last year that was followed by a congressional hearing in January, Akerson said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in January that the Volt poses no more fire risk than other cars.

The Volt failed to meet its sales goals last year as well.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Detroit at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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