The 2011 Chevy Volt  (Source: Flickr)
Some dealers looking to take advantage of limited initial supply of Volt EVs

Dealership markup on past vehicles are nothing new -- when "Cash for Clunkers" was in full effect last fall, we revealed that some dealers were marking up Toyota's best-selling Prius hybrids by $4,000 to $5,000.

That markup may be downright tiny, however, compared to what some Chevrolet dealerships have in store.  A reporter from 
Edmunds inquired at a local dealership about the price of the 2011 Chevy Volt electric vehicle and was told that they were going to be charging $61,000 USD for the vehicle ($52,750 after tax credit).  That price includes a $20,000 USD markup going directly into the dealer's pocket.

The dealer writes:

Hello *****

Thank you for your online request, as you know the Volt is going to be a very limited production vehicle for the first 2-3 years. Demand is going to far exceed supply for this vehicle, initially our asking price for the Volt is going to be MSRP plus $20,000, we are expecting only receive 9 Volts all of next year.

I will keep you in my customer base for when the Volt comes out and I will contact you with any information as I receive it. We are taking orders right now for the Volt, if you would like more information, please let me know and I will be more than happy to help you. Thank you.

***** *****, Internet Specialist
******* Chevrolet
********, CA

Since the email exchange, General Motors announced that it would increase Volt production by 50 percent in 2011, producing about 45,000 units next year.

The markup also seems particularly ironic, given that a GM spokesperson in June stated, "We also aren't expecting our dealers to overcharge anyone for this vehicle, either, and will monitor the situation closely when we launch.  We'll be paying close attention when the vehicle launches and do our best to strongly discourage this kind of behavior, as we always do with any GM-branded vehicle."

If dealerships 
do choose to add a $20K or even a $10K markup to the vehicle, some customers may decide to jump down to the Nissan Leaf.  Many already complain that the Volt is overpriced.

No one is questioning that the Volt is a highly anticipated vehicle right now.  But if GM dealers let greed get in the way, they may be sabotaging the Volt's launch which GM worked so hard towards.

If your dealer does charge some sort of astounding markup, you can lease a Volt for $350/month (with $2,500 downpayment).  If you can find one, that is.

In related news, the base price of the Volt has also come under criticism.  Ford’s vice president of global powertrain engineering, Barb Samardzich states, "Our perspective is we want to be able to provide a solution that works for all of our customers, and at $40,000 or $41,000, you are taking a lot of customers out of that equation."

Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director of hybrid and electric powertrain engineering says that his company has a captive market, arguing, "It’s in a market of its own.  Where else are you going to go to get one of these things? There is no other choice.  Look, it’s not like we’re trying to sell two million of these."

He adds, "I look at it and say with a federal tax credit, it is $33,500.  We think there will be a plentiful supply of customers at that price."

The company's chief rival will be the 2011 Nissan Leaf EV, which retails for $32,780 USD ($25,280 after tax credit).  The all-electric Leaf, however, has a much shorter overall range of 100 miles. 

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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