The Chevrolet Volt ended 2011 on a high note, charting its best month of sales to date.
Chevy moved 1,529 of the plug-in hybrids in December, despite the specter of a possible recall to address the potential for battery pack fires uncovered during government crash testing and continuing, but improving supply issues.
Full year sales checked in at 7,671, well short of the company’s stated goal of 10,000, but enough to outsell one of its top rivals, the Toyota Prius. Not in 2011. Toyota sold 136,463 Prii over the last 12 months, once again cementing its position as best-selling hybrid in America, by far.
But go back to the turn of the century, when the Prius was introduced to the United States in 2000, and you’ll find that Toyota managed to sell just 5,600 of the innovative cars to a skeptical public that was enjoying gasoline prices starting with a 1. However, sales didn't begin until July of that year, so it was a short reporting period for the car.
Just over 15,000 were moved the following year, and it wasn’t until 2004, when the second generation of the Prius was unveiled, that sales broke the 50K barrier and took off from there.
Chevrolet is aiming for 45,000 Volt sales in the U.S. for 2012, and a worldwide take of 60,000, all built at its Hamtramck, Michigan factory.
It’s an increasingly ambitious-looking goal for the $39,995 car, but one the automaker has yet to back down from, even in the face of new competition on the way from none other than Toyota in the form of a plug-in Prius.
Check back next year to see how it fares against the Volt, not to mention the original.