Some Chevrolet Dealerships Have Volt Revolt After Price Increase
January 2, 2013 5:14 PM
Dealerships don't want to spend more on tools needed to service the Volts since sales for most are down
Select Chevrolet dealerships around the U.S. are ditching
after General Motors (GM) hiked up the price of tools to service the vehicle.
Last year, dealerships spent $1,800 to $2,800 on tools that are required to service each Volt plug-in hybrid. However, GM has raised the price of these tools to $5,100. The reason? A battery-repowering tool that removes and ships sections of the Volt's huge 435-pound battery for repair instead of shipping the whole thing costs dealerships about $4,735. This makes up the bulk of the tool costs while a few others are needed as well.
Due to this price hike, some dealerships have decided to stop selling the Volt altogether. Some say their overall Volt sales just don't justify the additional cost.
Allyn Barnard, owner of Jim Barnard Chevrolet in Churchville, New York, is among those who feel that way. He has only sold five Volts since the vehicle's launch in late 2010/early 2011, and doesn't see the point in paying over $5,000 for the tools needed to service them.
"Going forward, the profitability would be really hard for us to justify the expense of the repair tools," said Barnard.
The Volt may have had a bumpy start with a few
and issues with lithium ion battery fires during National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing, but
sales of the Volt have been very impressive
over the last year. During the first seven months of 2012, GM sold 10,666 Volt extended range electric vehicles for an increase of 270% compared to the first seven months of 2011.
However, Chevrolet then had a low November sales month due to low inventory. Chevrolet sold 1,519 Volts in November 2012, which represented a 33 percent increase over November 2011. But the number of cars sold in November was roughly half the number sold in October and September when the company sold 2,961 and 2,851 Volts respectively.
Chevrolet said this is a good thing, though, because it means
demand is higher than expected
As of December 2012, General Motors had sold 20,828 Volts for the year.
Despite these excellent numbers (Nissan was hoping to sell 20,000 Leafs in 2012, but fell way short), about 70 percent of Volt sales are generated by the 300 top-selling dealerships. There are about 2,614 dealerships certified to sell the Volt.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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