CHICAGO — General Motors said Friday it has suspended production of its electric Chevy Volt for five weeks in order to match supply to weak demand.

"We're going to take five weeks of downtime at the plant as we are going to build to what the market demands," spokeswoman Michelle Bunker Malcho told AFP.

"We had a great month in February (over 1,000 in sales) and are very pleased with what we see happening in the marketplace especially with Volt now being eligible for HOV lanes in California."

GM sold 8,000 Volts last year, less than the 10,000 units forecast in its first year.

Despite the low volumes, the Volt has paid dividends in terms of helping the once-struggling automaker's attract new customers and burnishing its green credentials. The Volt was the first plug-in to reach the US market.

GM's head of product planning said the automaker should know by May or June if the Volt has the "legs" to succeed in the market.

"The fact that GM is now facing an oversupply of Volts suggests that consumer demand is just not that strong for these vehicles," said Lacey Plache, chief economist at the automotive website

"The price premium on the Volt just doesn't make economic sense for the average consumer when there are so many fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars available, typically for thousands of dollars less."

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Photo by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons