There’s been a lot of discussion following our “The Volt Loses GM $49K/Car” article. Lost in all that hubbub was a little factoid at the tail end of the Reuters piece offered by GM VP Dave Parks, who now heads global product programs and formerly headed the development of the Volt. That factoid is at least a glimmer of hope for the Volt’s ultimate success. Parks said that the most common non-GM car traded in on the Volt has been the Toyota Prius.
Undoubtedly some of those Prius owners have been drawn in by the attractive $199/mo lease rates currently being offered on the Volt. That cheap lease offsets the fact that even after the $7,500 tax credit on the Volt, it’s still about $7K more than the standard Prius. While that discounted price is undoubtedly a factor, it still has to be reassuring to the Volt’s product planners that owners of the Volt’s primary competitor (if not directly in terms of actual feature sets, at least in the popular mind as the two companies’ high profile green cars) are trading in their Priuses on Chevy’s EREV.
It’s also interesting that those trading in a Prius didn’t opt for the new Prius Plug-In, which is probably a more direct competitor to the Volt. Perhaps the Prius owners trading for a Volt were completely swayed by cost factors but in my experience Toyota owners tend to be a loyal lot and I’ve never met a Prius owner who was disappointed in their car (to be fair, every Volt owner that I’ve spoken to has given it glowing reviews, some completely unsolicited).
Bob Lutz has said that he wanted something to leapfrog Toyota, both in terms of tech and in consumers’ minds. With all the sniping at the Volt for it’s cost, the incredibly hyped fire non-issue, and it’s political baggage, if Prius owners are trading in their hybrids for Volts then it appears that the Volt team has succeeded in achieving at least part of Lutz’s aspiration.
Does it surprise you that the #1 trade-in in terms of captured buyers for the Volt is the Prius? Does this bode well for the Volt’s ultimate success? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading– RJS