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USA: GM Volt Beats Plug-In Prius, Leaf in U.S. Rechargeable-Car Sales

General Motors Co. (GM) (GM)’s Chevrolet Volt was the best-selling rechargeable auto in the U.S. in May, topping Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s plug-in Prius and Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s all-electric Leaf hatchback.

Deliveries of the GM plug-in sedan more than tripled to 1,680 units from 481 a year earlier. Toyota sold 1,086 of the Prius version, introduced in March, and Leaf sales slid 55 percent to 510 cars, the companies reported today.

The Volt gained after Detroit-based GM briefly halted production of the car this year as inventory grew and as sales cooled after news of battery-pack fires following crash tests. Output resumed in April with structural reinforcements for safety, as well as modifications that qualified the Volt for rebates and carpool lane access in California, the top market for rechargeable autos.

Leaf sales have dropped the past two months as the Yokohama, Japan-based company has changed how it sells the car, now available in all 50 U.S. states, said Al Castignetti, vice president of Nissan’s North American sales.

“I have huge dispersion issues,” Castignetti said in an interview today. “In places like California, dealers have pretty good inventory, but I’ve got states that literally have no Leafs, and we’ve got to address that.
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