It’s no secret to anyone who’s purchased a new car in the last three years, but the downturn in the economy has lowered the already questionable moral standards of car dealers by a significant margin. Take, for example, the Edmunds employee who contacted a California Chevy dealer for information on leasing a Volt. Even I had to admit that $350 per month sounded appealing; if I was in the market for a commuter car, I may have even entertained the idea for a few seconds.
The reply received from the California dealer was astonishing, and I regret that Edmunds redacted both the name of the dealership and the name of the internet sales manager. Here’s the text of the reply, in its entirety, as originally published on AutoObserver:
Thank you for your online request, as you know the Volt is going to be a very limited production vehicle for the first 2-3 years. Demand is going to far exceed supply for this vehicle, initially our asking price for the Volt is going to be MSRP plus $20,000, we are expecting only receive 9 Volts all of next year.
I will keep you in my customer base for when the Volt comes out and I will contact you with any information as I receive it. We are taking orders right now for the Volt, if you would like more information, please let me know and I will be more than happy to help you. Thank you.
***** *****, Internet Specialist
Yes, you read that correctly. If you want to purchase a Volt from this particular dealership, you’d best be prepared to pony up $61,000, and don’t even mention the word “lease”, since Chevy’s $350 per month deal doesn’t apply here. I’m all for a free market economy, but price gouging to this extreme, for a car as important to GM as the Volt, should not be tolerated.
In a perfect world, GM would have already fast-roped a strike force of ninja lawyers through the roof of this dealership. In fact, the dealership itself would be gone without a trace, its inventory partitioned off to other Chevy dealers with more common sense. A smoking crater in the ground, some fifty feet deep, would serve as an appropriate warning to other dealerships that such practices won’t be tolerated.
We don’t live in a perfect world, and GM is likely to do nothing more than slap this dealer’s wrist (if they’re even contacted). This should serve as a reminder that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and that you absolutely need to do your homework before attempting to buy a new car.