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Chevy Dealer Wants $20,000 ‘Additional Dealer Markup’ For Volt: Let’s Grab The Pitchforks And Torches

Posted in auto industry, Car Buying, Car Deals, Chevrolet, FAIL, General, GM, New Cars, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | August 3rd, 2010 | 6 Responses |

The $41,000 Chevy Volt, now available for $61,000 in CA.

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:

Hello *****

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
?******* Chevrolet
?********, CA

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.

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6 Responses

  1. 68SportFury says:

    If Chrysler didn’t do anything to punish the dealers who wanted five, ten, twenty or thirty grand over MSRP for the Challenger when it came out, why should GM do anything to punish this tool?

    Sadly, there are laws in place which prevent manufacturers from forcing dealers to sell cars at a certain price. If this guy thinks he can get $20k over list for a Volt, there’s nothing GM can do to discourage him.

    • Kurt says:

      SportFury, if this were a conventional car, I’d tend to agree with you. Who cared, for example, when Chevy dealers were looking for $20k over sticker on the ZR1?

      The Volt has the potential of being a game changer for GM. Despite all the negative press (“You have to use premium fuel!”, “It looks like a Camry!”), the Volt is the first electric car that gives you the ability to travel reasonable distances on a single charge. It’s the only electric car that won’t force you to take a bus when you forget to plug it in overnight. GM has one shot to get this right; screw it up, and they’ll forever be playing catch up to Nissan.

  2. 68SportFury says:

    Oh, I’m not saying it’s OK, not by a long shot.
    I was thinking more of it as another case of a dealer saying, “Hey, here’s a car people want to buy–let’s drive away as many potential buyers as possible!” Which is an attitude that Chrysler should have discouraged when the Challenger came out, and it’s one that GM should discourage with the Volt. The introduction of a new car, particularly one as important as the Volt, shouldn’t be allowed to be screwed up by dealers treating them like tickets to Cartmanland (“It’s new! It’s different! It’s the best electric car in the world! AND YOU CAN’T BUY ONE! Unless you cough up $20,000 over MSRP, that is!”).

    GM needs to move as many of these as possible, and that won’t happen if dealers take an attitude that makes potential buyers say “Screw it, I’ll just get a Prius.”

    • Kurt says:

      SportFury, I couldn’t agree more.

      I bought a Toyota FJ Cruiser back in 2008, at a time when car dealerships were deserted wastelands. Tumbleweeds were blowing across the showroom floor, and the only sound you could hear was crickets chirping. Despite this, the first dealership I went into had the balls to list $3,000 ADM on every sticker. I walked out when the salesman told me they’d lose $5,000 if they sold me the truck at invoice plus $500.

      Sadly, I think it’s only gotten worse since then, especially for high demand cars.

  3. Taylor says:

    The one variable that is the cause of most price gouging is danced around but never blamed outright, the people. Just like with any shiny new techno gadget, people will fight tooth and nail to be the first on the block with the new toy (and then bitch and moan when they find out that others are getting the same or better product at a cheaper price). The dealers are not taking advantage of people, they are taking advantage of the idiocy of people.

    Don’t fault the dealer. We all do this when we buy and sell. Who doesn’t want to get the best price (more money) when selling something?

  4. Kurt says:

    Taylor, unlike a “normal” car launch, GM has far too much riding on the intro of the Volt. If they can’t get the car into the hands of Mr. & Mrs. Average American, with their 2.4 kids, they’ll have one hell of a time proving that electric cars are a viable alternative to gas powered ones. Average Americans can’t afford $61,000, and for many (especially now) even $33,500 is a stretch.

    If this were the iPad or the Corvette ZR-1, I’d agree with you. If GM allows its dealers to blow this launch, they’ll never regain the ground lost.