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
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 .
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 .
Neither of these vehicles sold (note: links will expire in about a
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
Currently a third Volt auction ends Saturday on
That Volt, located in California, is offered for $47,700 USD, a markup of
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
quote: In that case, the Prius is an electric vehicle, since it can run off of electricity exclusively.