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Chevy offers first discounted Volts, doubles number for sale

Justin Hyde
November 7, 2011

With a single email this morning, General Motors more than doubled the number of Chevrolet Volts for sale across the country to 4,100, putting many of them on the market at a discount to their $41,000 sticker price for the first time. It's a Volt-ember to remember.

The move puts GM in a much stronger position to meet its target of selling 10,000 Volts this year, after moving just 5,003 through October. And it will offer a much larger test of just how many electric vehicles with gas-driven generators Americans are willing to buy.

As part of its launch of the Volt, GM had required many of its 2,300 Chevy dealers to buy one Volt as a demonstrator model, with splashy VOLT stickers on the side to use as either a showroom floor fixture or rolling advertisement. Today, GM told those dealers they could sell their demonstration Volts — adding 2,300 cars to the 1,800 that were already for sale.

As long as those models have fewer than 7,500 miles, they can be sold as new and qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit; in most cases, dealers will likely offer a modest discount based on how many miles were peeled off. GM will also give dealers a $1,500 payment to cover any miles driven and prepping the car for sale — including de-stickering the side VOLT graphic.

Chevy spokesman Rob Peterson said the move came after GM’s surveys found that a lack of new Volts was the major reasons interested customers weren’t buying the car, and should help satisfy “pent-up demand" -- something critics have argued doesn't exist. With two months to go, GM’s bet on 10,000 Volts this year will either pay off or go bust in a matter of weeks.