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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM launches 1,776-mile July 4 Volt road trip

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GM launches 1,776-mile July 4 Volt road trip

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington -- General Motors Co. this afternoon begins a 1,776-mile cross-country road trip in the plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt that will end in Manhattan on Sunday.

The road trip will start in Austin, Texas and wind through Arkansas, Tennessee, Washington, D.C. -- and will even make a stop at the Volt restaurant in Frederick, Md., before arriving in New York on Independence Day.

GM disclosed today that it plans to build 10,000 Chevrolet Volt vehicles through the end of 2011 and will build another 30,000 in 2012. The company hasn't announced pricing.

GM will notify dealers in the coming days about how many vehicles they should expect to receive during the 2011 model run. The company also told dealers they will need to have special training for sales and service personnel to sell the Volt, said Doug Wernert, GM Chevrolet Voltage community manager.

In a related matter, GM CEO Edward Whitacre Jr. confirmed in a speech today that the company is adding Austin and the New York City area as launch markets for the extended-range plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt, which will get up to 40 miles on electric power alone.

The vehicle will have a range of 300 miles on its gasoline engine.

GM said Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. will get Volts in late 2010 -- as will Austin and the New York City area.

Other launch markets -- New Jersey, Connecticut, and the rest of Texas and New York -- will begin receiving Volts in early 2011.

"We can add markets as diverse as Texas and New York because the Chevrolet Volt can handle both urban commuting and longer trips, in Austin summers and Manhattan winters," Whitacre said. "The Volt can be your primary vehicle, giving you the freedom to drive gas-free without the stress of planning every trip around the battery's charge level."

GM said it was adding markets because of intense customer interest.

Whitacre said GM would make America proud.

"There are countless American families whose livelihoods depend on a healthy auto industry and that means the country needs a strong, vibrant GM," Whitacre said. "It's critical that we get the company back on track. For that matter, it's important to see that taxpayers who supported us get their investment back."

GM reported a first-quarter profit of $865 million and has seen higher sales this year.

"We're still not where we need to be -- but the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day," Whitacre said. "We owe it to everyone who believes in us, who has supported us, who has sacrificed for us to restore this company and rebuild your trust."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100701/AUTO01/7010461/1148/auto01/GM-launches-1-776-mile-July-4-Volt-road-trip#ixzz0sTM1ciY3

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