What Makes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a Better Electric Vehicle? (video screen capture)

What Makes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a Better Electric Vehicle? (video screen capture)

How much is that Volt going to cost? That is a question that buyers are starting to find some shocking answers to and this is after the $41K sticker price reveal (more here). It is no secret that GM is getting some heat from critics on it anticipated and forward thinking electric plug-in hybrid—Volt—due to the sticker price. The accusation is that the Volt, a revolutionary (ok, still to be seen) vehicle is priced out of the range of consumers that could utilize the vehicle most. The flip side of that is that the vehicle is one of the cheaper electric powered vehicles on the market only bested by the electric only Nissan Leaf. However, new news from the NY Times and Edmunds.com are showing that Chevrolet dealers may be marking up the price of the Volt to as much as $20,000 over sticker.

Of course, $20K over sticker is an extreme, but it was the answer from an undisclosed dealership in California when Edmunds.com inquired about a new Volt via email. “Initially our asking price for the Volt is going to be M.S.R.P. plus $20,000.” In the D.C. area, consensus has apparently settled around $50,000 for the base model and up to $53,000 for higher equipment levels; this according to Donald Moore, general sales manager at Darcars in Lanham, Md. I know what you are thinking, “Is there anything GM can do about it?”

The answer is really no. By law, GM is not allowed to set or require specific prices for GM authorized dealerships. That is why they use MSRP—Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. It is indeed only a suggestion, one that GM has tried to encourage their dealers to follow so that the Volt will become a success for the company. “The dealers are independent, for better and, in very rare cases, for worse,” he said. “There are some who have moved in the opposite direction of our request. In response, what we’ve done is to urge customers who have contacted us about pricing discrepancies to shop around, because there are dealerships in their area that are honoring M.S.R.P.” That is the comment from GM spokesperson Rob Peterson reported by the NY Times.

The end result? Buyers should shop around if the are looking at buying a new Volt. The hard reality is that in situations of supply and demand, those with the cash tend to win the prize. For the savy shopper, you should be able to find a dealer that will sell you one at MSRP, even if you have to wait longer for it.

[Source: NY Times]