The Chevrolet Volt is leading the pack of plug-in electric vehicles and has kicked butt on Nissan Leaf sales numbers but the goal for 2012 is to make 35,000 to 40,000 Volts. Through July, General Motors has sold 10,666 Volts in the U.S., which should get the automaker to 19,000 units sold this year. In Europe, through June, GM sold 2,861 Ampera plug-in hybrids, aka the European version of the Volt. The company recently started selling Chevy Volts in the rapidly growing China market where only 18 were sold through June, according to LMC Automotive.

Add up those numbers and we see that about 25,000 to 30,000 Volts/Amperas could be sold worldwide this year. Wait a minute, though, what happened to hitting that 40,000-unit target? And why do we even know that number?

In late June, CEO Dan Akerson said that GM's initial target – building 60,000 Volts this year, with 15,000 going to exports – was being downsized to 35,000 to 40,000 units. By continuing to give sales predictions, even decreased ones, Akerson serves to reminds us that, last year, GM failed to meet its initial target of selling 10,000 Volts. Will Akerson further downsize the forecast the next time he's asked?