TRAVERSE CITY, MI – General Motors plans to introduce a second-generation ’16 Chevrolet Volt at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, a company executive says here.

Global Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney gives few details beyond that, deflecting specific media questions following his presentation at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

“You’ll see improvements all the way across, from technology to design,” he says of the new model. “There will be more technology. We’re not going backwards.”

He says the 2015 Detroit auto show “seems like a natural place” to unveil the new extended-range hybrid-electric vehicle. The Volt is built in Detroit.

The first Volt went on sale in late 2010 as an ’11 model. It won the 2011 North American Car of the Year award in conjunction with the Detroit auto show.

The car’s powertrain won a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award.

The Volt runs in electric mode until its battery capacity drops to a point where an internal-combustion engine kicks in, powering an electric generator.

When it debuted, the system was hailed for its innovations, particularly the ability to overcome range anxiety suffered by electric-vehicle owners who worry they may run out of power before getting to where they are going.

Although many people lauded the Volt’s technology, some critics panned its design, calling it uninspired.

Despite the overall warm reception, the Volt has not been a runaway hit in the market. That’s true of virtually all plug-ins, which get a lot of attention but register only modest sales. About 65,000 Volts have been sold since the sedan was introduced. Volt sales were up 13% in July, making it “the No.1 plug-in,” Mahoney says.

The current car carries a $34,185 manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Pricing information is to come for the ’16 model. Mahoney shows a rear-end teaser photo of it at the conference.

He describes Volt owners as “the happiest on the planet.” The vehicle represents a 70% conquest rate for the Chevy brand. Most Volt buyers who traded in non-GM vehicles had been Toyota Prius owners, GM says.

The automaker says Volt owners drive more than 63% of their overall miles in electric mode, collectively saving more than 25 million gallons (95 million L) of gasoline.

Volt owners who charge regularly typically visit gas stations only once a month.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com