General Motors Co. said Wednesday that August will mark its best-ever sales month for its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.
GM will report sales of more than 2,500 Volts, GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said.
“We are seeing sales momentum continuing to build for the Volt, especially in key markets — California, Michigan, Illinois and Florida,” she said.
“We’re starting to see other markets grow, as well. As with a lot of first-generation technologies, it takes time to build customer awareness.”
GM’s prior best-ever month was March, when it sold 2,289 Volts.
Malcho said Volt sales will outpace the Toyota Prius’ second year.
The Volt, through August, will have sales of 13,300, compared to 15,600 total sales of the Prius in 2001.
This week, GM officials confirmed the automaker would halt production at its Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant, where it builds the Volt, for four weeks for retooling starting in mid-September.
Malcho said the company will “built ahead” with Volt production, anticipating the shutdown, so it will have enough vehicles on hand to meet demand.
The assembly line shutdown will begin Sept. 17 and continue through Oct. 15, as GM readies for production of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the brand’s flagship full-size sedan.
About 1,500 workers will be idled during retooling because the automaker builds multiple models on the same assembly line.
GM was forced to idle Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly for two stretches earlier this year because of sluggish demand for the Volt.
The new Impala goes on sale in early 2013 as a 2014 model. GM plans to add a second shift at the plant when production of the Impala begins.
The Detroit-Hamtramck plant also builds the Chevrolet Malibu; in addition, it’s built at a plant in Fairfax, Kan.
GM abandoned its 2012 U.S. sales forecast of 45,000 Volts, saying it would instead match supply to meet demand. For the first seven months of the year, the automaker sold 10,666 Volts, up 270 percent from the same period last year.
Sales were boosted when California granted access to carpool lanes for solo drivers of Volts. GM says one in every three Volts is now sold in the Golden State.
In July, just 55 — or 3 percent — of Volt sales were to fleets.
GM has a 52-day supply of Volts nationwide and a 34-day supply in California.
At the same time, sales of the electric Nissan Leaf continued to struggle in July, as the Japanese automaker falls further behind its goal of selling 20,000 electric vehicles in the United States this year.
Nissan Motor Co. said it sold just 395 Leafs in July, down 58 percent over July 2011. For the year, Nissan has sold 3,543, down 26.3 percent.
Given Nissan’s monthly sales, it is all but impossible for Nissan to meet its target this year, but company officials have steadfastly refused to back away from the sales goal.