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2012 Chevy Volt Price Cut: Pay Less, But Get A Lot Less

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2011 Chevrolet Volt drive test, March 2011

2011 Chevrolet Volt drive test, March 2011

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While the price cut on the 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car made headlines on Friday, there's more to the announcement than meets the eye.

And the news gets worse after a look through the really small print.

What many writers appear to have missed is that GM has actually "decontented" the base Volt that's now priced at $39,995.

For 2012, buyers must pay extra for the navigation/DVD system and the sound system, which are now listed as options. On the 2011 model they were included at no charge.

Let's do the math. The base price of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt was $40,280 with a required $720 destination fee bringing the real price to $41,000.

Only three options could be added for 2011:  premium leather interior ($1395); rear camera and park assist technology ($695), and polished alloy wheels ($595).  Several of the metallic paint colors added a further premium, from $495 (red) to $1000 (white diamond or Viridian Joule).

Now, the new base price of the 2012 Volt is $39,145. The destination fee has gone up to $850, bringing the total to the $39,995 mark. 

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

The new and expanded option list for 2012 includes a more expensive wheel option ($695 for 17" wheels with black inserts), as well as a new listing for an energy efficient Bose sound system ($495).

But the shock is that the previously standard navigation/DVD system is now a $1,995 option for the 2012 Volt, and the premium Bose sound system that was also standard for 2011 now racks up that $495 fee.

GM has also reduced the complimentary OnStar coverage included with 2012 Chevy Volt models to three years from the five-year plan included with the 2011 Volt.

OnStar coverage is priced at $299 per year for the package included in the base price of the 2011 Volt, so the two years deleted from the 2012 model amount to a further decrease in the value of the 2012 car of almost $600.

A 2012 Volt does add one standard feature that was universally criticized for its absence in the 2011 model. For 2012, proximity locking/unlocking will now come as standard. Thank you, GM, for a small but very real improvement.

But the bottom line is still grim: To get the same package of features as on the base 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which cost $41,000, the buyer of a 2012 Volt model will have to pony up $43,083.

And the 2012 has added only a single new feature (proximity locking/unlocking) with actual value.

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Comments (6)
  1. Well, since its intended to be a commuter car, it makes sense to charge extra for navigation b/c you probably know how to get to and from work. And I would be willing to bet that most people who have a volt have another car in their home that their spouse drives. It would make sense to get navigation in that one, unless its another volt of course.
     
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  2. Darnelll,
    Actually the Volt is a good "road/travel" car too. We have both the Leaf (for around town) and the Volt (for both town and trips). We have much appreciated the navi on the Volt which is much more current in detail than what is on the Leaf, AND the Volt, with "OnStar" can get it's maps updated while on the road from the "OnStar" service agent. And GM cut the free OnStar from the 5 year program with the 2011 to only 3 years. This past Saturday I attended a gathering of EV drivers in the Davis (California) area. About 3 or 4 of those with the Leaf actually had the Volt as their distance vehicle!
     
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  3. George, thanks again for the quick update. My 2011 is likely to be a 2012 by the time it reached my hands (as always, assuming I don't get something else first) and I was wondering how the content was affedcted by the price cut. Conveniently left out of most coverage, so again, thank you.
     
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  4. If the 2012 Volt still gets the same 40 miles +/- all-electric-miles, this is a winner. The point of the Volt is to ween us off of oil. The 2012 Volt will do that, and more cheaply. I have owned a 2011 Volt for 3 months now, and rarely use the navigation system. (I have only taken two 100+ mile trips.)
    Also, most people are doing a 3-year lease on the Volt (I am), and it made no sense to include 5-years of On-Star when we will be returning the car with two years of On-Star left.
    And I WOULD really like to have had the proximity unlocking feature. It's crazy that the 2011 lacks this feature.
     
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  5. Jim,
    I agree completely on the "proximity locking," but still find it a little deceptive that GM is trying to suggest that the 2012 is less expensive. The sound system and navi on the Volt are really good, particularly as compared to the Nissan Leaf, but I also agree with you that I would not "willingly" pay an extra $2500 for those details.
     
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  6. First some people complained the Volt was too expensive, totally ignoring all the nice luxury add-ons GM included. Now that GM is taking steps to decrease the price by making some of those options, well, optional, people are complaining still. Get over it.

    The way I see it, GM rewarded all the brave early adopters by loading them up with goodies.
     
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