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Volt bolting to the top

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson plans to double the 2012 production capacity for the Chevrolet Volt to 120,000 as he works to boost the plug-in hybrid’s sales.

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson plans to double the 2012 production capacity for the Chevrolet Volt to 120,000 as he works to boost the plug-in hybrid’s sales, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in the wake of the hybrid car being named “Green Car of the Year” and “North American Car of the Year.”

Akerson, who became CEO in September, wants to sell more of the $41,000 Volts and is pushing to use its Voltec gasoline-electric drive system for models sold by other GM brands. Akerson has said he wants GM to have more fuel-efficient models ready for a possible increase in oil prices to $120 a barrel.

“We want to stay sharply focused on technology,” Akerson told analysts at Deutsche Bank’s Auto Industry Conference in Detroit on Jan. 11. “We don’t want to be caught flat-footed as we were in 2008.”

More is less for pricing

Higher output will allow GM to reduce the cost of the Volt’s drive and battery systems, helping it lower the car’s cost in future years, said Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics Inc., an automotive consulting firm in Birmingham, Mich.

GM should be able to sell all of its Volt production as long as the government’s $7,500 tax incentive is in place, Hall said. The incentive expires after GM sells 200,000 Volts.

“The only way they will get cost down is with more production,” Hall said. “They are in a race to get costs down concurrent with selling 200,000 Volts.”

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