The Chevrolet Volt has debuted in Japan, as General Motors prepares to up production for the extended-range electric vehicle.

Chevrolet debuted the Volt May 18, at an industry conference in Yokohama, saying that it also plans to demonstrate the model in Japan.

The vehicle, a battery-powered model which uses a small generator to increase the range when out of power, is currently only available in the US and Canada, although international rollouts are set to begin later this year.

The Volt will have tougher competition in Japan than most other markets, as the high-profile Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, built by domestic Japanese automakers, have been available for some time.

Nonetheless, GM Japan's Sumito Ishii said that the launch was "a great opportunity for General Motors to highlight our advanced technology leadership in front of the tech-savvy community in Japan."

Chevrolet also announced this week that it is to halt production of the Chevrolet Volt for a month in June, in order to perform upgrades on the Detroit plant that produces them.

While the shutdown is intended to improve the plant to boost capacity, General Motors warned that the number of models available for delivery to retail customers is likely to be further restricted in the coming three months.

When the plant reopens, it will be producing both the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, the Volt's European cousin, and is set to manufacture 16,000 of the models by the end of the year.

In 2012, General Motors predicts that 60,000 Volts will be produced.

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