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A Sylmar, CA Chevy dealership is among those price gouging on the new Volt. Dealers are marking up the Volt by $5,000-$10,000 on eBay auctions. Offline one Florida dealer is reportedly asking for an incredible $25K above the MSRP.  (Source: eBay Motors)
A number Volts are selling at $5,000 or more markup -- one dealer is reportedly asking for $25k extra

General Motors' 2011 Chevy Volt is the first EV from an American automaker to debut under $50,000 USD.  Priced at $40,280 before $7,500 tax credit, demand for the EV is very high.  Despite increasing production in response to demand, GM will likely only be able to ship 25,000 of the vehicles this year.  While it promises more production next year, some "green-minded" customers can't wait to get their hands on the vehicle.

Dealers are looking to take advantage of this situation by offer the scarce Volt vehicles at anywhere from a modest markup to a giant one.

One Michigan dealer listed a "Buy It Now" Volt on eBay Motors for $46,923 USD -- a markup of $6,643 USD [1].  Another North Carolina dealer actually tried to resell a Volt it bought from a Maryland dealer.  That Volt was marked at a cool $49,900 USD -- a markup of $9,620 USD [2].  Neither of these vehicles sold (note: links will expire in about a month).

But these examples pale in comparison to a Florida dealer's incredible asking price of $65,590 [source].  We'll save you the math -- that's a markup of $25,310 USD.  

We've been following the Volt since its days as a concept and we absolutely give GM praise for following through and delivering on its ambitious design.  That said we're not sure who would shell out an extra $25K for a Volt.  If current auctions are any indication, most people aren't interested in buying the vehicle at that high a price.  But if P.T. Barnum is to be believed, the dealer may eventually find someone out there who would be willing to pay that much for it.

Currently a third Volt auction ends Saturday on eBay [3].  That Volt, located in California, is offered for $47,700 USD, a markup of $7,420 USD.

GM will be building 60,000 or more Volts next year, so if you don't want to pay a markup, you could always wait.  

The company claims it isn't happy with the markups.  But Chevy Volt marketing director Tony DiSalle tells Ward's Auto in an interview, "there isn’t a mechanism to prevent that from happening."

Price markups are nothing new, but on EVs and hybrids they're an especially sore spot as customers already are paying a premium for the fuel-efficient technology.  

The Chevy Volt's price markups are similar to markups that some Toyota dealers were placing on Prius hybrid vehicles back in 2009, when the new third generation models first were shipping.  While the Prius markups were a bit subtler in that most Toyota dealers didn't blatantly post them to eBay, they were occurring nationwide.  We did a report on this practice and caught one dealer in the act.  While the 2010 Prius was a much higher volume vehicle, its similar respective demand per volume offers parallels to the Volt.

The Volt's key competitor is the 2011 Nissan LEAF EV, which went on sale in early December.  The Volt's key advantage is that it has a backup fuel take, greatly extending the range.  The 2011 Nissan LEAF EV is optimistically rated to deliver 100 miles on a charge under good conditions.  Another disadvantages is that Nissan is only selling and service LEAF EVs in a handful of "green" states -- California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Tennessee.

The LEAF's big advantage is that it is priced a $32,780 USD before tax credits in the U.S.  Nissan has been less specific about its production plans, but it says it will fulfill all reservations placed in 2010 by September.  Given that it claimed 20k reservations and that only 4 in 10 of those who placed reservations are reportedly following through with a purchase, this would indicate -- with the inclusion of conquest sales -- shipments of anywhere from 10,000-15,000 by the end of the summer.  This places Nissan's production slightly above GM's current levels.



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RE: following through???
By Solandri on 2/18/2011 4:58:36 AM , Rating: 2
That naming taxonomy for electric vehicles, I'm sorry, vehicles which can run off electricity, ranks down there with USB hi-speed/full-speed and Microsoft trying to trademark "Windows" in terms of stupidity. It's like using "game" as a synonym for "football", then saying no other games can be called a "game", only football. If you want to talk about a basketball game with your co-workers, you cannot ask "did you see the game last night?" You have to ask "did you see the basketball game last night," because someone who wasn't thinking enshrined into law that "did you see the game last night?" must automatically mean a football game.

"Electric vehicle" should refer to all vehicles which can run off electricity, fully or partially. ZEV (zero emissions vehicle) or electric ZEV should refer to a vehicle which can only run off electricity and no other (emitting) power source. California got the terminology right in the '80s and '90s. Who screwed it up? If you pick stupid names which don't make common sense, you shouldn't be surprised when people consistently "misuse" them. For the sake of our future sanity, you'd better hope that you're wrong and these definitions are subject to change.


RE: following through???
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/18/2011 7:34:41 AM , Rating: 4
In that case, the Prius is an electric vehicle, since it can run off of electricity exclusively.

The Chevrolet Volt was originally touted as a Series Hybrid, but it is in fact a Parallel hybrid, as is the Prius. The only significant difference is the greater range of the batteries on the Volt, and its plug-in capability. When Toyota comes out with a plug-in Prius next model year, the two cars will be exactly the same in configuration, but the Volt will have a greater range on the battery charge, and the ICE will kick in at a higher speed to drive the wheels.

I think GM are still equivocating on the term EV, which ropes in a lot of suckers (see PT Barnum reference in article), but it is sadly just an overpriced plug-in parallel hybrid.


RE: following through???
By gregpet on 2/18/2011 1:40:49 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
In that case, the Prius is an electric vehicle, since it can run off of electricity exclusively.


Yeah, up to what, 15 MPH??? What an intellectually dishonest, stupid comment...


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