Chevrolet recently authorized dealerships to start selling the demo versions of the Volt, Chevrolet’s plug-in electric hybrid. Sales have been decent, but there is concern that models with the desired options aren’t available.
Volt faces tough competition
The Chevrolet Volt, the plug-in electric hybrid, was released last year at a higher cost than other hybrid cars and the totally electric Nissan Leaf. According to The Detroit News, sales haven’t been bad for the Chevy Volt, but it has yet to overtake its closest competitor, the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is completely electric, and the Volt has a “range extending” gas-powered generator. Chevrolet had projected sales of 10,000 for 2011 had only sold 5,003 between January and the end of October. Nissan sold 8,048 Leafs in that time.
The Leaf also has a lower asking price. The base 2011 model lists for $32,780, and the base model for 2012 is $35,200 with new features. The base Volt currently goes for $39,995. Both are eligible for the $7,500 green vehicle tax credit.
Dealers to sell demo units
In order to boost sales. according to USA Today, Chevrolet has authorized dealers to start selling the demo units of the Volt to customers if they want them. Dealer surveys indicate that up to 72 percent of customers were put off from buying the Volt simply because the model they wanted wasn’t available. Further compounding the problem is that supply is fairly limited at many dealerships. Nearly 2,600 Chevrolet dealerships are authorized to sell the Volt and have demonstration models to show customers, but about 700 don’t have a Volt available to be sold.
About 2,300 Volts that had been used as demo vehicles have been sitting on dealer lots but haven’t yet been on the lot for six months, the amount of time necessary before they can be sold as used. There are 4,100 Volts available to be sold, once the demo units are included. That also includes, according to AutoBlog, 1,800 in transit to dealerships.
Municipalities and rental fleets
The City Council of DeLand, Fla., according to the Orlando Sentinel, recently authorized the purchase of five Chevy Volts for use as city vehicles. The city received a $1.2 million federal grant for alternative-fuel vehicles and green improvements . The Volts will be used alongside Toyota Prius and Camry hybrids already in use.
According to a press release in the Sacramento Bee, MPG Car Rental, a hybrid car and green vehicle rental service in Los Angles, has also acquired the Chevy Volt, but the press release doesn’t mention how many it purchased. More rental agencies and cities are sure to add them as more become available.