Who buys a Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car? 

It’s a question that we’ve tried to answer in the past, examining initial sales data from General Motors to try and create the automotive equivalent of an indentikit Volt buyer. 

Unsurprisingly, many early-adopting Volt buyers were green car fans looking to make the switch to a plug-in hybrid, regardless of who made it. As a consequence, 90 percent of early-adopters were new to the Chevy brand.

Now data from GM shows that trend has continued, with nearly 70percent of new Volt sales to date being made to customers who would traditionally have avoided the Chevy brand. 

Traditionally called “conquest buyers”, these new-to-Chevy buyers are trading in an array of different cars from different automakers. 

Most noticeably however, the most frequently traded-in cars are the Toyota Prius Hybrid, followed by the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic and BMW 3-series.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

“Nearly seven in ten Volt buyers are new to Chevrolet,” said Volt marketing manager Christi Landy in a recent press release. “With new customers coming to the brand because of the Volt, our dealers have a great opportunity to establish lasting relationships and introduce them to our entire Chevrolet product line up.”

It’s worth noting of course that while many new Chevy customers go to a Chevy dealer to look at a Volt, not all of them end up buying one. 

For Chevy however, it’s not always a loss: once inside a Chevy dealership -- somewhere they’d not ordinarily shop for a car -- those car buyers who decide a Volt isn’t for them end up buying a different model, such as the 2012 Chevy Cruze

In short, the Volt not only brings in new electric car customers to Chevy, but also new gasoline car customers. 

However, it’s easy to get overexcited over sales data, and worth noting that the only competitor to the Volt at present is the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. 

With little competition from elsewhere, we think it prudent to remember that the true measure of the Volt’s popularity -- just like any other green car --  can only be measured when the plug-in hybrid marketplace has substantially grown.


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