Bolt Prices Are All Over the Map
With an all-electric range of 238 miles and a price tag right around $35,000, the new Chevrolet Bolt EV shouldn’t have any competition in its price range; surprisingly its biggest competitor is itself.
Just seven states into Chevrolet’s incremental rollout of the new Bolt, some dealerships, especially those in California, are already marking down prices in order to move their product, according to the trade publication Automotive News.
As a quick reminder for those of you that may not know, almost all auto dealerships are independently owned and operated. This creates competition between nearby dealerships as they work to keep their sales numbers up.
This competition greatly contributes to the varying prices of the Bolt at different dealerships in the seven states currently selling it. One San Francisco Bay Area dealership, for example, was advertising an equally equipped Bolt for $5,198 less than another dealership only 40 miles away.
Add the $7,500 federal tax incentive a
nd $2,500 California rebate that the Bolt qualifies for (which may or may not be available depending on state funding priorities), and buyers could effectively pay less than $25,000 for the base model; well below the $30,000 number General Motors was said to be looking for as the car’s target price. GM is not offering any incentives to consumers or dealers on the new car, other than discounted financing.
Sales Prices Are Rising
According to TrueCar, the average amount consumers paid below sticker price grew from $1,400 in January (a 3.4 percent discount from MSRP) to $2,200 in February (a 5.3 percent discount).
In some areas, however, dealerships are doing the opposite and marking up prices of the Bolt to as much as $5,000 above sticker price. Most of these dealerships are in rural areas and have less competition from other dealerships.
These price mark-ups could also be the result of a new market product meeting old market sales strategy. This is why Tesla Motors has, controversially, refused to franchise its dealerships and sells its product directly to the customer, albeit in limited retail outlets.
“Existing franchise dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between selling gasoline cars, which constitute the vast majority of their
business, and selling the new technology of electric cars,” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, wrote in a 2012 blog post explaining his company’s retail model. “It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business.”
The contrast here is that General Motors. For all of its efforts through bankruptcy and downsizing, it remains with more dealers than needed in many markets. So, rather than competing with other makes, they often find themselves battling with each other over discounts on the same vehicles.
The bottom line is that as hot as the Chevy Bolt is (leapfrogging into the top eschalon of EV sales), there are deals to be had.
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