Electricity building around 2016 Volt

Car buffs are buzzing about the early glimpses of the redesigned 2016 Volt, which will be available at dealerships in mid-2015. While we’ll have to wait for a full look at the redesign until it’s showcased at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, we can talk right now about the upbeat sales forecasts for the 2016 Volt.

Our friend John Voelcker at Green Car Reports has thrown out the intriguing possibility that the 2016 Volt might double its annual sales figures and hit 50,000 in its first year. He’s basing that on the history of sales of the Toyota Prius, which took four years to catch on with buyers.

“Here's the idea,” Voelcker wrote. “If the next Volt follows the Prius curve, its sales could double in 2016, its first full year on sale.” (Check out this Green Car Reports graph.)

There are a lot of potential bumps in the road that might prevent the Volt reaching those sales levels, including lower gas prices and other challenges.

“Still, the Prius curve may provide one useful model in starting to think about how sales of next-generation mass-priced electric cars may grow,” Voelcker wrote.

Getting to those ambitious sales numbers will require more than a redesign, though. So GM marketers are thinking of taking a new tack: enlisting Volt owners as “evangelists” for the vehicle.

Chevy marketing honcho Tim Mahoney told the Automotive News that they’ll focus marketing in areas where the Volt has already been successful, a strategy he called “fishing where the fish are.”

This is good news for us here in Michigan, because we know there’s a lot of good fishing in these parts.