G.M. Offers Deals On Chevy Volt, to Reduce Bloated Inventory

By · June 11, 2013

Chevy Volt

General Motors has a 140-day supply of Chevy Volts.

Last week, I wrote about how Chevy Volt sales had hit a plateau. Readers responded by commenting that Chevy dealers have lots of Volts sitting at dealerships, and that General Motors needs to cut prices to get those cars to move. G.M. was already moving in that direction, because the company last week started putting big bucks on the hood of each Volt.

Chevrolet spokeswoman Michelle Malcho told The Detroit News yesterday that G.M. began offering $5,000 off 2012 Volts and $4,000 off 2013 Volts. She also said that there is a 140-day supply of the Chevy Volt, or nearly five months worth of product looking for buyers. The boost in incentives comes as G.M. prepares to start production on the 2014 model.

The simple math means that a $40,000 Volt drops to as low as $35,000—even before the $7,500 federal tax credit and a $1,500 rebate in California kicks in.

The Volt also can be leased for a compelling $269 a month for 36 months, with $2,399 due at signing or can be purchased with zero percent financing for 48 months and receive $3,000 in cash off the price. The financing and lease deals run through July 1. These offers put the Volt within striking distance of the batch of pure electric cars—LEAF, Spark, 500e, Fit and Focus Electric—available at or near $200 per month.

Echoing what Honda told us a couple weeks ago when it lowered the price of the Fit EV, G.M.’s Malcho told The Detroit News: “The electric vehicle space is extremely competitive.”

Long-Term Scenario

Of course, this is a temporary measure on the part of General Motors. Chevy plans to announce pricing and content for the 2014 Volt later this month. If the car is to continue selling in this competitive market, a permanent lower price might need to be established—which could create difficult economics for the company, which has put so much of its reputation on the Volt as a revolutionary vehicle.

If the car doesn’t sell at a relatively higher price, it looks bad. If a lower price means that G.M. loses a lot of money on each car, it’s also bad. If General Motors kills the Volt, it’s a major embarrassment, conjuring images of the company’s ill-fated EV1 program. Besides, G.M. is mandated to offer cars that earn zero emissions credits in California.

The calculations get even tougher when Chevy, in the next few weeks, starts selling the 2014 Spark EV in California and Oregon. The Spark EV 1LT will be available for as low as $199 a month in a 36-month lease, with $999 due at signing. And next year, G.M. will roll out a luxury plug-in model, the Cadillac ELR. Is there room in dealerships for all these plug-in models to sell at a profit?

The silver lining is that car buyers have more choice in electric cars, at great prices, than ever before.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
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  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.