With last month's sales of the 2012 Chevy Volt less than half what they were in December, Chevrolet has stepped up its efforts to sell its innovative but pricey range-extended electric car.

And it's doing it the old-fashioned way, by "putting money on the hood," as salespeople say.

According to Chevy salesman and certified Volt specialist Randall Blaum, the company has come out with what it calls the "Quad $0" lease program for the 2012 Volt.

That means no down payment ($0 down), no security deposit ($0 deposit), no payment for the first month of the lease ($0 first payment), and no cash due when the sale is completed ($0 at signing).

Owners are still responsible for their local DMV and registration fees, plus a small amount in taxes that cannot legally be rolled into the lease amount.

The base payment on a 36-month lease ranges from $369 to $425 per month, depending on the options on the specific Volt leased, and allows 12,000 miles per year.

The base price of a 2012 Chevrolet Volt is $39,995, and adding a healthy number of options can take the price toward $45,000.

The downside to this seemingly attractive offer? It's only available in California--and it applies only to 2012 Volts built before production halted in mid-December.



Those cars do not have a very desirable feature to be included in 2012 Volts built for sale in California when production restarts this month: the added emissions equipment to certify them as "electric Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emission Vehicles."

Volts with that "e-AT-PZEV" certification qualify to receive one of 40,000 "green sticker" permits allowing owners to travel in High Occupancy Vehicle lanes with only a single occupant.

So California Volt buyers will need to assess carefully whether the financial advantages of the Quad $0 lease for an existing 2012 Volt outweigh the benefit of solo HOV-lane travel in an updated 2012 Volt later this year.

You can draw your own conclusions as to whether this will juice sales of the Volt in its most crucial market, or simply act as a clearance sale for cars that may be viewed as less desirable once newer 2012 models arrive at California dealers.

Meanwhile, Blaum says his dealership--Quality Chevrolet in Escondido, California--has 10 Volts that qualify for the Quad $0 lease in stock now.

In case you're interested.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.