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USA: Sales of GM’s Volt tops 7,000

Washington— General Motors Co. said sales of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt have topped 7,000 in the first five months of 2012 — almost as many as they sold in all of 2011.

The Detroit automaker sold 1,680 Volts in May — up 250 percent over May 2011 — and outsold its Japanese rival by more than three to one.

GM came under criticism for saying it would sell 10,000 plug-in hybrid Volts in 2011 — and sold less than 7,700. The company abandoned its 2012 U.S. sales forecast for the Volt of 45,000 — saying it would instead match supply to meet demand.

GM has been forced to idle the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant for two stretches this year because of low demand.

Meanwhile, the Volt’s all-electric rival Nissan Leaf saw sales fall 55 percent in May to 510.

For the first five months, Nissan has sold 2,613. The Japanese automaker has repeatedly insisted it will sell 20,000 Leafs in the U.S. in 2012.

That means Nissan will have to average 2,485 a month for the rest of year — or nearly as many as it sold in the first five months combined.

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