Slow sales has pushed General Motors to cut the price of its gas-electric hybrid.
The Chevy Volt is an exercise in a cool concept that was poorly executed.
While some consumers have range anxiety about the Volt’s pure-electric competition, the Tesla Model S, the Volt seeks to abate those fears by offering both an electric and gasoline engine. The car can be powered by one, or the other, or both, extending the car’s range far past that of what Tesla can offer.
Though the Volt is comparatively less expensive than Tesla’s cars, it does have its share of sticker shock: 2013’s models retail for $40,000. GM sought to ease the sticker shock of buying a Volt by reducing the price by $5,000. In the United States, federal tax credits take another $7,500 off the cost of ownership (though these tax credits can’t be claimed until the next tax year).
GM still faces an uphill battle in trying to persuade consumers that the Volt is a worthwhile buy. Last year, it only sold 23,461 Volts. Part of that reason could be chalked up to CEO Dan Akerson erring in an interview with Forbes and saying that he foresees a $10,000 price cut for the next-generation of Volts. While this is not likely a factual error, savvy consumers will listen to Akerson’s foretelling and wait until that price cut comes to buy a Volt.
GM is facing fierce competition from the more expensive Tesla, and the cheaper Nissan Leaf. It will be interesting to see if it can turn the struggling Volt into a top-selling car.