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Old 08-16-2011, 04:47 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Study finds potential buyers losing interest in Chevy plug-in

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Is the Chevrolet Volt running out of juice? Even as the maker begins its long-promised production ramp-up, a new study suggests that potential buyers are rapidly losing interest in the plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Introduced last December, Volt is one of the first new vehicles to test the potential market for electric propulsion. It has been going head-to-head with Nissan’s pure battery-electric Leaf. Sales of the two vehicles have been marginal, at best, though the makers insist that has more to do with limited supply than buyer demand.

Through the end of July, Chevy has sold about 3,200 of the plug-in hybrids compared to 4,500 Nissan Leafs. But both makers have begun ramping up production, General Motors forecasting sales of around 16,000 for the year as a whole – including a small number of Volt clone Opel Amperas targeted at markets abroad.

But a new study by CNW marketing raises a red flag, finding that the potential buyers GM is most counting on are rapidly losing interest in the Volt. In March, 21% of so-called Early Adapters said they were “very likely” to consider buying a Volt, while 38.1% said they were “likely” to do the same. That slipped to 14.6% saying “very likely” in July, and 31.1% “likely.” Among EV Enthusiasts, reports the CNW study, the number of those likely or very likely to consider Volt fell from a combined 71% to 51% during the same four-month period.

“It’s way too early to tell, but the signs aren’t encouraging,” said CNW’s chief analyst Art Spinella.

When it comes to mainstream consumers Volt has all but slipped off the radar screen, only about 3% of new car buyers likely to consider the Chevrolet Volt, the analyst added..

The big problem is the plug-in’s price, CNW data indicate. When first introduced, the Volt carried a $41,000 sticker, though it qualified for a $7,500 federal tax credit. For 2012, the Chevy will drop to $39,995, a $1,005 cut, though it is still thousands more than the Leaf – and nearly double the price of a base Chevrolet Cruze compact, which shares the same underpinnings as Volt.

Chevy officials defend the price tag, pointing to the complexity of the dual gas-electric hybrid drivetrain. Volt is capable of clocking more than 35 miles on battery power alone. While that’s less than half of the range of the Nissan electric vehicle, the Chevy can shift to gas power and keep driving once its batteries run down.

GM officials remain convinced that Volt will meet their expectations, noting the vehicle doesn’t need to generate a wide appeal to still reach sales targets – which the maker projects will grow to 40,000 in 2012, including both Volt and Ampera.

GM’s commitment to electric propulsion is, if anything, being charged up. As TheDetroitBureau.com reported last week, the maker has inked a deal with battery supplier A123 that will be used for a range of new battery-electric vehicles that will begin to reach market in 2014. (Click Here for that story.)
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:00 AM   #2
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The little bit at the end is good to hear.
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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I'd love to be a huge fan/proponent of the Volt, but not at $40k before rebates. Sure I could buy one and take the $7500 fed tax credit, the ~$3k Cali credit, and $5k from my employer to bring it down to a much easier to swallow price, but its not realistic for everyone. Not at $40k.

Ideally, in 5-10 years there will be somewhat affordable battery replacement kits (lease perhaps?) which can be swapped in current electric vehicles to keep them running to infinity & beyond.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:44 PM   #4
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How does 5k from your Employer work..
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:49 PM   #5
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We go by http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/Index.do , any vehicle listed under "Smart Way Elite" status for California.

We tell the HR dept we are car shopping and intend to get one of the Elite ranked vehicles (or a qualifying equivalent). People usually ask me since I'm the car guy around the office, For example the Ford Fusion Hybrid is on the list, but the Nissan Altima Hybrid is not, since its an equivalent (using Toyota's hybrid synergy drive train) it meets the requirements by association.

One then goes to purchase or lease the new vehicle, brings in the paperwork, and gets a payout of $5k for buying under the Green Vehicle Program.

Our CEO has an O.G. Toyota RAV4-E & a Prius, amongst the rest of the lot are a bunch more Prii, a Ford Escape Hybrid, Altima hybrids, and Civic hybrids. But nobody has gone "all in" and picked up a Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, or Chevy Volt, although we have had investors roll up in those vehicles.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:08 AM   #6
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I am interested in this car, but not seriously interested in buying this car because:

1. it's ~2x what I would want to pay for a commuter vehicle.
2. chevy is not high on my preferred brand list
3. some risk with battery technology and future large cost of replacement

I am interested in the Leaf, but not seriously interested in buying it because:

1. range has little margin to my daily requirement
2. cost is ~50% more than I'd like to pay for a commuter vehicle
3. some risk with battery technology and future large cost of replacement

mostly, I'm hoping there are enough early adopters that these technologies become more capable, mainstream, and affordable. If I could get a plug in vehicle with ~150 mile end of life range and a battery that lasts for ~10 years for ~25k I would be pretty happy. especially if it had a fold down seats crv/forester/outback style cargo area.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:48 AM   #7
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Once the early adopters and look at me green showboats bought them there was simply no more demand.. these will sit on lots for a LOOONG time if they ramp up too much. I certainly hope they do. The federal government needs that tax money to roll in these days. Cutting the Electric vehicle incentive is the first thing I would cut. That money is better spent elsewhere.

Also I will echo the above post. When they come down in price, and get more capable EV will start to become more mainstream and less a toy. I am sure that will eventually happen. And since I plan to be one of the last possible people to give up on beautiful petrol, by the time I do give in, I will probably have logical reason not to own one.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:07 AM   #8
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It might have something to do with the fact that GM are not advertising the car much these days (due to production still being limited)... The public has the memory retention of about 10 seconds, and without being constantly reminded of car X, they tend to forget that it exists.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:01 AM   #9
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I've also got one friend in particular who is very interested in buying one and has the financial wherewithal to do so, but absolutely refuses to be gouged by the dealer. Apparently every dealer in the SF Bay Area is gouging to the tune of $3k or more, to this day. GM needs to deal with this kind of BS, quick; interested, non-early-adopters won't wait forever for the dealers to get their heads out of their you-kn-wheres.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FromageTheDog View Post
I've also got one friend in particular who is very interested in buying one and has the financial wherewithal to do so, but absolutely refuses to be gouged by the dealer. Apparently every dealer in the SF Bay Area is gouging to the tune of $3k or more, to this day. GM needs to deal with this kind of BS, quick; interested, non-early-adopters won't wait forever for the dealers to get their heads out of their you-kn-wheres.
I wouldnt call it price gouging. Dealers can mark up as long as they can move the inventory. Let the market's supply and demand correct itself.

Gouging is when the seller is trying to exploit a situation, not weak buyers.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lboogie View Post
We go by http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/Index.do , any vehicle listed under "Smart Way Elite" status for California.

We tell the HR dept we are car shopping and intend to get one of the Elite ranked vehicles (or a qualifying equivalent). People usually ask me since I'm the car guy around the office, For example the Ford Fusion Hybrid is on the list, but the Nissan Altima Hybrid is not, since its an equivalent (using Toyota's hybrid synergy drive train) it meets the requirements by association.

One then goes to purchase or lease the new vehicle, brings in the paperwork, and gets a payout of $5k for buying under the Green Vehicle Program.

Our CEO has an O.G. Toyota RAV4-E & a Prius, amongst the rest of the lot are a bunch more Prii, a Ford Escape Hybrid, Altima hybrids, and Civic hybrids. But nobody has gone "all in" and picked up a Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, or Chevy Volt, although we have had investors roll up in those vehicles.
OK thank You for the reply, I just saw it, I do not know how missed it earlier. Just wanted say thank for answering my question..
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by FromageTheDog View Post
I've also got one friend in particular who is very interested in buying one and has the financial wherewithal to do so, but absolutely refuses to be gouged by the dealer. Apparently every dealer in the SF Bay Area is gouging to the tune of $3k or more, to this day. GM needs to deal with this kind of BS, quick; interested, non-early-adopters won't wait forever for the dealers to get their heads out of their you-kn-wheres.
GM will handle that situation by giving those dealers MORE cars in their next shipments, as they are selling them like crazy, even with the markup.

the dealers are in the business of making profit, so they will continue to do this, as they know the buyers who are willing to pay a markup to be first with new goodies won't hold a long term grudge against them.

my local dealer had a $5k markup on STi's when they came out, and didn't drop it for over a year. I bought mine from a dealership a long way away that was selling at a few hundred over invoice, and drove it back home.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:23 PM   #13
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GM will handle that situation by giving those dealers MORE cars in their next shipments, as they are selling them like crazy, even with the markup.

the dealers are in the business of making profit, so they will continue to do this, as they know the buyers who are willing to pay a markup to be first with new goodies won't hold a long term grudge against them.

my local dealer had a $5k markup on STi's when they came out, and didn't drop it for over a year. I bought mine from a dealership a long way away that was selling at a few hundred over invoice, and drove it back home.
Model T:

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The standard 4-seat open tourer of 1909 cost $850 (equivalent to $20,709 today), when competing cars often cost $2,000–$3,000 (equivalent to $48,726–$73,089 today); ... In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.
This has the potential to be a game changing vehicle, but stealership profiteering is standing in the way. If GM wants to get around that, they should consider selling directly to the customer. Franchises definitely can dilute the brand, and this is a case of that.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:03 PM   #14
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You can bet on one thing. When and if the electric vehicle gets as popular as the model T was, it will look NOTHING like a chevy volt. The volt is just not that amazing considering how much the competition has evolved.
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:51 PM   #15
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The volt is just not that amazing considering how much the competition has evolved.
What's the competition, though? The Leaf? 15 years after the EV1 and the answer is still 80-100 miles of range from a compact car with a 100% price premium?
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:14 AM   #16
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Model T:



This has the potential to be a game changing vehicle, but stealership profiteering is standing in the way. If GM wants to get around that, they should consider selling directly to the customer. Franchises definitely can dilute the brand, and this is a case of that.
what? do you mean like the saturn experiment?

and are you implying that they could revolutionize the industry by selling the volt for ~15k if the dealers weren't in the way?

a couple thousand dollars markup on a $40k car isn't limiting its market penetration at all, especially when it's a temporary thing, and not every area is seeing it.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:53 AM   #17
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What's the competition, though? The Leaf? 15 years after the EV1 and the answer is still 80-100 miles of range from a compact car with a 100% price premium?
I was referring to all the 40+ mpg compact cars out there at half to a third the price. When you look at a car that can give you 80% of what the volt does and it costs 40% of the price of the volt, the shine of the volt goes away VERY fast.

All that is left is the early adopters and the image hungry people. They may have already been used up.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:08 AM   #18
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All that is left is the early adopters and the image hungry people. They may have already been used up.
Government vehicles.
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