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GM to halt Volt production amid slow sales

The company wants to reduce bloated inventories of the current-generation Volt as it prepares to build the 2016 model.

General Motors is reportedly preparing to suspend production of the 2015 Chevrolet Volt.

The current generation has continued to fall short of sales targets, with March shipments collapsing by 57 percent to 639 units. Just 1,874 units have found their way off the showroom lot in the first three months of the year, down 48 percent from the same period in 2014.

GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho told Automotive News that the company is halting production due to a "multitude of factors," not just poor sales but also retooling efforts for the next-generation model.

Interestingly, the latest report suggests GM's Detrit-Hamtramck plant will continue producing the Cadillac ELR and the Volt's Euro-spec cousin, the Opel Ampera, despite a shutdown of assembly for the Chevy-badged model. The company earlier this week confirmed that the ELR will be retired when it reaches the end of its current lifecycle.

The automaker is hoping the 2016 Volt will receive a better market reception. It is build upon a brand-new platform, pairing a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with an 18.4-kWh battery that is expected to power the car for 50 miles on electricity alone.

Reflecting the internal optimism, GM is reportedly preparing to invest $449 million in two Detroit-area plants and hire an extra 1,400 workers to help establish a second production shift for the 2016 Volt. It is unclear if the production suspension for the 2015 model will result in an earlier arrival for its successor.

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