This is just a quick entry, but it came to me as an epiphany.
I was thinking, why on earth would anyone buy an underpowered, POS Malibu without an engine for $40k each? Then I realized that "no one" was the answer, but the Volt was not made to be purchased - except by idiot tree-huggers. The real reason it was made was to "buy" CAFE leverage. By making just one - NOT selling, just MAKING - GM can make 11 other cars [averaging 15 mpg, like the Camaro or Corvette - cars people WANT to buy] and remain below the 35 mpg CAFE standard, set for 2016.
The jury is still out on the Camaro, but without Pontiac and Hummer dragging down the corporate line, the VOLT, even if NO ONE EVER purchases ONE, will allow GM to continue [or start to] make real vehicles that everyone outside of the city limits of SanFran wants and needs.
At 235 miles each, one can make a whole lot of other gas guzzlers and keep below the 35 mpg CAFE standard. $40K is a cheap write-off.