it seemed like a good thing in August when sales of the $40,000 car set a monthly record of 2,800. But a closer look shows that things aren’t what they seem for the cutting-edge car.
Sales rose mostly because of discounts of almost $10,000, or 25 percent of the Volt’s sticker price, according to figures from TrueCar.com, an auto-pricing website. Other pricing services gave similar numbers, and dealers confirmed that steeply discounted Volts are selling better than a few months ago.
GM’s discounts on the Volt are more than four times the industry’s per-vehicle average, according to TrueCar estimates.
Here’s what I wrote about the Volt back in January:
Eventually, GM will have to offer huge incentives to move Volts off the dealer lots — incentives, I imagine, that will make the existing $7,500 tax incentive (paid for by you and me) look small.
A politically-friendly electric motor allows GM to sell a $13,000 three-banger for about $33,000 (shoddily-equipped). Generous subsidies allow them to first mark up to price to $40,000. Somewhere between $13,000 and $33,000 is the real market-clearing price of this car. [Emphasis added]
So, GM has offered incentives which, along with tax breaks, bring the purchase price of the Volt down to about $25,000 — and sales are picking up, although still far short of expectations. So it’s a safe bet that even bigger incentives are sure to follow.
I told you so.