General Motors wants to cut as much as $10,000 per car from the model's production cost to make the next generation of the plug-in hybrid affordable and profitable, Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said.
"That's our goal," Akerson said in an interview after a presentation at the Fortune Brainstorm Green forum in Dana Point, Calif. "Every new technology takes a while to get traction, you've got to work out all of the associated issues."
The Volt, which starts at $39,145 before a $7,500 U.S. tax credit, was introduced in 2010 and has struggled to meet some sales targets. Volt is Detroit-based GM's flagship car for its efforts to have about 500,000 vehicles on the road by 2017 with some form of electrification. The Volt can travel 38 miles (61 kilometers) on battery power before a gasoline engine engages.
The CEO said during his presentation GM wants to reduce Volt's production cost by $7,000 to $10,000 each without removing features.
Volt sales in the U.S. rose 8.4 percent to 4,244 through March after more than tripling for all of last year to 23,461.
"We know we have to reduce costs," Akerson said during the interview. "We've got to look at smart ways at getting it better positioned from a price perspective and that means we've got to take cost out of it."
Asked if the new version of the Volt would be introduced in 2015 or 2016, he said "yes".