While General Motors (NYSE:GM) aims to confront Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) on the electric vehicle front, its key weapon doesn’t appear primed for battle. Sales of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid slumped 32 percent in October when compared to 2012 figures. As Tesla’s results arrive Tuesday, November 5, the big winner in the all-electric segment actually appears to be the Nissan (NSANY.PK) Leaf, the EV on the rise with 27 percent better sales in October — enough to virtually match the Volt’s total volume.
Though it’s clear General Motors is still honing its electric vehicle strategy, it has been a depressing tale of the tape for the Chevy Volt when matched against EV competition. Sales of the plug-in Volt are down 3 percent in 2013, shying next to the Nissan Leaf’s impressive gain of 167 percent against 2012 year-to-date figures. Dan Akerson, the chief executive of GM, has gone on the record saying that he sees GM challenging companies like Tesla on the the EV front.
For now, GM is presenting its best green car in the luxury segment with the Cadillac ELR, which has the same powertrain as the Volt, capable of getting 35 to 40 miles on its electric motor. Its all-electric Chevy Spark is only available in Oregon and California, but is selling a negligible number of cars — just 66 Spark units moved in October. GM rival Ford (NYSE:F) is having its own problems in the electric vehicle segment.