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TheStreet Open House

About That Chevy Volt Price Cut

Stocks in this article: GM TSLA TM HMC

As such, the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Volt 2.0 is likely to deliver both dramatic cost reduction (over $5,000), improved efficiency and improved refinement in terms of comfort and telematics. The exact timing of the introduction and production of this car is simply not known, but I'm on record as having said a January 2014 introduction and a mid-2014 production, being within realistic reach.

Some people will ask: Why even bother with the Chevy Volt? Why not just cancel it? Hasn't it been only a big pile of losses to date?

Without doubt, it's not paid back its development cost yet. Not even close. If the world ended today, the Volt would have been one huge mistake.

However, the Volt architecture has decades to go until it is time to write it off. In these early stages there are some good signs:

1. Customer satisfaction rate: 91%. It's the highest of any GM car in memory, perhaps ever. It's the highest of any car in the market, period. How do you cancel a car like this?

2. Brand conquest rate. I don't know many Volt buyers who were previous GM owners -- not in the last decade or two, anyway. Most Volt buyers have come from other brands -- Toyota, etc. If you're GM, how do you cancel a car that takes more customers from other brands than any other model you have ever sold?

What the Volt needs for market success are these things:

1. A fifth seat. You need to fit three people in the back seat. That has been the biggest objection by would-be customers. This will be fixed. I wrote about this a couple of months ago.

2. More body styles: Many people love the Volt architecture, but they need to replace a minivan or large SUV such as a Chevy Suburban. All they want is a Volt to fit into the body of a Honda (HMC) Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Caravan or Cadillac Escalade. If GM just did this, sales of the Volt drivetrain would go through the roof.

3. General development and refinement: Better suspension, better noise/vibration/harshness (NVH) treatment, better telematics, better plastics in the interior, and so forth. This comes in the all-new 2015 Volt 2.0 a year from now.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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