By on September 11, 2012

 

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

 

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73 Comments on “It May Lose Money But Chevy Volt is Capturing Prius Owners
Toyota Prius is the Number One Trade-In on the Chevy Volt...”


  • avatar
    18726543

    With any luck the rather stellar resale value of those traded in prii will make that 49k/vehicle loss figure marginally more stomachable!

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      The manufacturer doesn’t see a dime from the resale of a car traded in to a dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      And the loss of 49k has been shown to be false.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        No, it’s been rebutted by the manufacturer, various fanboiz of negligible influence and impact, and one senile old man. Big difference.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        @VOF

        And, rebutted by those whackos over at CNBC

        http://www.cnbc.com/id/48974022

        ‘Whether you like GM or not, the company is right.

        In the manufacturing business it’s a cheap shot to take the total amount of money spent developing a new product and use that as a basis for calling the new product a money loser years before that product has finished its run. By their very nature, most large capital intensive manufactured goods lose money for years before they finally turn the corner and become profitable.’

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        So what? CNBC is owned and influenced by NBCUniversal, which time and again has demonstrated a decidedly left-wing agenda.

        Next?

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        So, you disagree with this statement?

        ‘In the manufacturing business it’s a cheap shot to take the total amount of money spent developing a new product and use that as a basis for calling the new product a money loser years before that product has finished its run.’

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        I disagree with the implication in that statement that GM and the Volt have the years and years of life in them necessary to reach the point where the platform is finally profitable, yes.

        I also disagree with the fundamental flaw in GM’s logic in deciding to pursue the Volt back in 2007. At a time when it was already clear the company faced imminent peril, GM decided to spend billions to develop a narrow-market niche product. I’d feel the same if it had decided to approve a 700-hp base Corvette in that time, too.

        Further, “new” GM is wasting production capacity and engineering resources to keep the Volt going, at a time when it still owes billions to taxpayers, instead of channeling its efforts into products with more immediate, and real, financial benefits.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “So what? CNBC is owned and influenced by NBCUniversal, which time and again has demonstrated a decidedly left-wing agenda.”

        Yeah. Gimme the impartiality of “The Wall Street Journal” or “The Washington Times” or “NewsMax” any day.

        I don’t think the Volt will be profitable any time soon (not for at least 4 years and maybe not ever) but the various $49-80K cost estimates are wrong. It’s reasonable for GM to make an amortization forecast and charge off the fixed costs against that.

        The CNBC article makes a reference to Boeing’s fixed costs in the Dreamliner. Yes, it’s a similar situation. It is probable, though that Boeing already has enough firm orders for the plane to make a very good determination of its profitability and investment amortization schedule. GM probably can’t forecast Volt sales as confidently.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Its ok for you to say that the Reuters article was junk….no one will take away your user name or doubt your hatred for the Volt.

        You just don’t think the Volt will be around long enough or have enough sales to reap the rewards. And, you think it was a poor choice of investment at the time. That’s a fair opinion. Time will tell if you are correct or not.

        That’s a key difference on here…opinion vs fact.

        I do think GM needs a solid second market for the Volt (China) just like Toyota had Japan/US for the Prius launch and growth. They would have to build it there to sell it successfully there. The US was a secondary market to Japan early on in the Prius launch. The first Prius was sold in the US 4 years after its launch in Japan.

        .

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        sunridge, right here and now as we sit typing on our keyboards today, the Volt is a prodigious money-loser. It will remain a prodigious money-loser for the foreseeable future. Reuters is right.

        Despite recent (fleet-driven?) sales gains, GM still doesn’t sell all the Volts it builds, by a long shot. And at the moment, it loses tens of thousands of dollars on each sale, as Reuters correctly states.

        Each Volt that is sold does so with a shitload of taxpayer money on the hood, that people like Nosewater and wannabe Volt owner Carlson seem all-too happy to take from you and me, without asking – because it’s there, and they feel ‘entitled’ to do so.

        (I think this perceived attitude will soon be a significant – and perhaps even painful – liability for Volt drivers. Let’s see how November goes.)

        And above all… it’s a GM product. It is still a failure; we just haven’t seen what factor will ultimately kill it.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        VoF: Ok, right now the Volt is a money loser. And the Volt as it sits may never be a money maker. But why should Volt owners feel bad if the country swings hard right this November? Actually there are tons of reason why they should feel bad but that’s not what I meant. Why should owning a Volt make them feel bad? So it has a significant amount of “tax” dollars on the hood. Big deal; I don’t see the fat cats feeling bad that they don’t pay their fair share of taxes as the government subsidizes their lifstyle. Also, why is the Volt a failure just because it is a GM product? The product is a financial failure but it is a technological success. And that is an understatement to say the least. It really is a shame that people’s political beliefs can so poison their brain that they can’t see any positive in something they disagree with politically. And the fact that hard edged Japanese or nothing buyers are willing to buy/lease a Volt is impressive as well. Not to mention its stellar reliability. Yeah, it would be great if it cost 10K less. But maybe this technology will become more affordable in the future. And for once, GM may not be racing just to stay behind.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        “But why should Volt owners feel bad if the country swings hard right this November?”

        Quite the opposite. If the leeches on the Left manage to swing the election for their beloved messiah once again, marginalizing the truly productive and successful members of our society in favor of continued bailouts, government giveaways and endless entitlements, well…

        I sure wouldn’t want to be driving a rolling symbol of those policies, would you?

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        VOF

        I get it…you either can’t comprehend or refuse to acknowledge that the concept that the Reuters article is crap. By your way of thinking, there are a number of failures at any given time in the manufacturing world. Fine.

        I like Snickers bars. I eat a few a week. Maybe you like Snickers bars?

        Did you know that the US govt spends as much $ on subsidies for the peanut industry as they do for the Volt? It must be hard going through life angry at all the things that get government backing. Most people do this selectively and they can sleep at night….otherwise they would be miserable.

        Volt a fleet queen? Nope. But, your friends over at Fox News are on the case! They found 2 Volt sales to the govt in July!

        http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/11/taxpayers-to-get-charged-as-pentagon-buys-up-chevy-volts/

        (This, of course, will lead the TTAC Volt coverage on Wednesday most likely)

        I’m worried you are actually going to have a stroke trying to process how a tax rebate works when a federal agency makes a Volt purchase. I would dial 9 and 1 with a finger above the 1 on your phone before clicking the link.

        Here’s another fun read from your friends at the Cato Institute circa 2001:

        http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/dont-subsidize-car

        Even the Cato institute has trouble with the same concept as the Reuters article…so you are not alone. They too have a hard time understanding that selling more of a product early in the cycle actually HELPS with profitability.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        The Cato Institute, Reuters, and even Fox News have far more brainpower and research at their disposal than you do. As such, I tend to place far more credibility in their conclusions than yours. Notice that Reuters hasn’t retracted the story.

        [EDITED...]

        By the way, peanut subsidies have benefited humanity far more than the Volt ever will. I don’t disagree with government subsidies as policy, just wasteful ones made for political gain over the public good.

        I doubt Barry O cares much about the peanut bloc… but boy, he sure wants to keep the Volt flush for his UAW base.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Common ground at last! We both appear to like peanuts.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        I’ll grant you that one point, at least!

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        VoF: “The Cato Institute, Reuters, and even Fox News have far more brainpower and research at their disposal than you do.”

        Well, that may be but it seems that neither Cato, Reuters nor Fox has a single decent accountant.

        The linked Patrick Michaels article is especially funny. Written in 2001, he declaims that nobody can make money on those little Toyota and Honda hybrids. Well, either Toyota is the most stubborn and deep-pocketed company in the world or they’re making money on them because they’ve now gone to considerable trouble and expense building and selling about 4 million of them.

        Michaels also had this to say:

        “Ironically, there is a potentially profitable hybrid vehicle: the behemoth American SUV, whose profit margins are so fat that a few thousand dollars in additional technology, subsidized by Uncle Sam, might still benefit the shareholders. Daimler-Chrysler has such a plan—a hybrid Dodge Durango with fuel economy boosted from 15 to 18 mpg.”

        Well! We all know how *that* worked out. I like how Michaels was able to go 0 for 2 with opposing projections.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        That “loss” is predicated on just the Volts sold as of when the badly written Reuters article was scribed.

        The cost of R&D for the Voltec system will be parsed out not only for all 1G Volts that will be sold over the next 3-4 yrs, but the next generation Volt as well as other models using the Voltes system such as the Cadillac ELR (GM will likely add more variants like a CUV as well).

        Toyota lost $$ on the entire 1G Prius and most, if not all of the 2G Prius.

        Toyota also subsidized sales of the LS400 when the Lexus brand was launched.

        The pay-off for the Voltec system will be down the road when costs come down and sales start to hit real volume.

        Of coure, it’s not surprising to see VOF spout the usual inanity and misinformation about the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      Edward Ellyatt

      I paid $42,500 and got a tax refund of $7500 so it more like $35,000 about the rice for most similiar upscale cars. I have never been sorry a day.

  • avatar

    At the $40k retail price, GM makes from $10-20k gross profit compared to the manufacturing cost, which was estimated at $22-32k. The real problem is the sunk costs for designing the drivetrain, which if my memory serves were about $1.2 billion.

    If they can use this R&D as a basis for future corporate drivetrains, the investment might not look so bad.

    I still think they should have made a $60k Cadillac, which would have been profitable, instead of a $40k Chevy.

    I’d still rather have a Tesla Model S than a Volt. But Tesla is not going to lease the Model S for $199 a month, ever …

    D

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I’m now of the mind all this “per car” talk is silly – that $1.2 billion in powertrain technology is NOT going to be limited to the Volt for long:

      http://green.autoblog.com/2012/09/06/cadillac-elr-caught-testing-in-production-form/

  • avatar
    rmwill

    I think there are a few segments of Prius/Green Car buyers. Those that value the external symbolism of greenness are willing to pay for the plug regardless of underlying value proposition. Others that are motivated exclusively by acquisition and operating costs will not be swayed by the Volt unless that are one of the very few that fit in the EV only range envelope, as traditional strong hybrid technology uses less fuel as distances increase. The third class, urban dwellers, have little use for plug in vehicles due to the scarcity of dedicated plugs and parking spots.

  • avatar
    John

    They have the choice between a near MSRP plug-in Prius, and a Volt with an approximately $50,000 subsidy (tax deduction + Chevrolet’s loss on car). Which one would you choose?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Tax deduction is absolutely fair as a matter of the calculus.

      But nobody ever makes a purchase decision based on “is the manufacturer losing money on this car?” as if it changed *the amount they’re actually paying*.

      You don’t get to say “MSRP on the Prius” and then handwave the Volt’s MSRP (even with the tax deduction) away by pointing out that GM’s losing money on them.

      If it provides better value than the Prius at the actual-cost-to-consumer, then that’s a great reason to buy one. If not, it isn’t. GM’s profit margin is irrelevant to that calculus.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “They have the choice between a near MSRP plug-in Prius, and a Volt with an approximately $50,000 subsidy (tax deduction + Chevrolet’s loss on car). Which one would you choose?”

      Since I’m not a Marxist, I don’t use the producer’s cost basis (including the cost of the labor) for determining the fair market value of the product.

      Still, I’d like to hear more about how Marx has influenced your life and your views on economics. It’s rare to find a genuine Marxist on this forum.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Uhm, you know that Toyota took a loss on the 1st gen Prius and most, if not all of the run of the 2G Prius.

      GM is just where Toyota was w/ the Prius program in its early stages.

      Imagine if Toyota had given up due to all the “expert” critics (and there were plenty when the Prius was launched).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    In July when we were looking at cars, we looked seriously at the Volt, as I would love to own one, but I won’t lease a car, and the price tag was still ‘way too high. I sure hope this car is successful, though.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Does it surprise you that the #1 trade-in in terms of captured buyers for the Volt is the Prius?”

    There’s insufficient context for evaluating that statement. What does “number one” mean exactly? 1% of the trade-ins? 5%? 20%? 0.1%?

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      “What does “number one” mean exactly? 1% of the trade-ins? 5%? 20%? 0.1%?”

      What else could that possibly mean, Mr. Clinton (“Can you tell me what the definition of the work ‘is’ is?”)? Number one… numero uno, second to none.

      I’m pretty sure that it means the top. In this application then, the forced conclusion is that the “highest volume car traded in for a Volt was a Prius.”. Perhaps I’m thinking a little too… conservative.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Coastie,

        You appear to have some insight (ba-dum, shhh) that the rest of us lack, so do share. How many Prii were traded in to either buy or lease a Volt?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “What else could that possibly mean, Mr. Clinton (“Can you tell me what the definition of the work ‘is’ is?”)? Number one… numero uno, second to none.”

        Some people are pretty good at missing the point. But you’ve gone to a lot of extra trouble to make it obvious that you have. If there was a medal for such an achievement, I’d award it to you personally.

        “Perhaps I’m thinking a little too… conservative.”

        Nah. You’re just not thinking.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Drive a Prius and then drive a Volt. Owners LIKE to drive their Volts. No one LIKES to drive a Prius. Plus the Volt has the ability to run on electricty alone. The Prius, no matter how you drive it is tied to a gas pump just like any other car. You have to drive the PIP down the road like a piece of china to keep the ICE from kicking on even with a charged battery. Hammer the Volt all you want it doesn’t come with those compromises.

    Personally I’d spend 30K on a 2 year old lease return Volt before I’d ever buy a new Prius. But that’s probably not a fair comparison as I wouldn’t drive a Prius at any price.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    Ronnie….you really need to quit the $199 a month lease thing unless you also reference the wheelbarrow full of down payment cash you will need to roll into the dealership to get that payment.

    Do some research. GM is putting about 5k Cap Cost Reduction into leftover 2012 leases and about 2k Cap Cost Reduction into 2013 leases. The $199 leases are a myth unless you are walking in with a bunch of downpayment cash.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Exchanging one green customer for another doesn’t really advance the Cause of filling the roads with green cars.

    It’s ironic that the Prius is traded for the dirtier Volt.

    GM can’t gloat much over winning a few Prius customers. The Prius outsells everybody else’s green offerings combined.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      “It’s ironic that the Prius is traded for the dirtier Volt.”

      Can you specify the “dirtier” part?

      For the record, I don’t own a Volt but I have considered a Hybrid vehicle for my 70 mile daily commute…. not to be a “greenie” but more for the sake of my pocket book. The TDi VW’s aren’t out either. The Volt is 10x more interesting and inspired as a drivers car than the Prius can muster.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      gslippy..

      Why in the world would anyone want to fill up the roads with green cars, when they could be filling up the roads with red ones? (^_^)..

      I was especially thinking of those that start with the letter,”F”…. a real joy to behold..

      ———–

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Prius is significantly cheaper (being on its 3rd gen) and can’t do what the Volt does – run the daily commute w/o using gas.

      The Prius plug-in is the better comparison and the Volt outsells the Prius plug-in despite not having the space passenger/cargo space (which is why GM needs to do a CUV version w/ the Voltec system after the ELR coupe).

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Is this old news or new news?

    GM made this trade-in claim last year when the Volt was selling just a few hundred per month. At that time, the phenomenon was not at all surprising. Prius owners are motivated by many things but some of them are definitely motivated to drive whatever they believe “The Car of Tomorrow” might be and quite a number are interested in driving electrically but can’t live with a range-limited car. They would be candidates for a Volt.

    Recently, however, two-thirds of Volts went out on leases. That strikes me as interesting because people who want to drive “The Car of Tomorrow” would seem to me to be the kind of people who take pride in ownership of that car.

    Maybe the lease deal is just too good to pass up any longer and the not-quite-as-early adopters are now jumping to the Volt or maybe this is just bargain hunters. I’m not sure you can get a Corolla or a Cruze for $200/month. I’m not the kind of guy who leases cars and I’m not super-impressed by the Volt but even I have given this deal some thought.

    In any event, the question remains, what’s the timeframe for Park’s claim that the Prius is the #1 trade?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Oh great, now we know where to go to buy a used Prius!

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Yes, we do… Same place as before… The bulk of the used Priuses are at Toyota dealers. The first runner up would be Honda dealers. Chevy dealers were tied with Chrysler dealers for used Priuses on offer. A Mazda dealer has one, a Suzuki dealer has one…

      All these Priuses traded for Volts don’t seem to have led to a big oversupply of used Priuses on Chevy lots.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        That is because dealers in general don’t like used versions of what is seen as direct competitor on their lot, so they wholesale them off. The theory is that you come in to look at the Volt and see that much lower priced used Prius and decide to drive it as well, you like it more, but decide that you really want a new car and head to the competitor. You do want a used version of your own model on your lot when you have a customer that really likes and wants that model but can’t swing the payment on the new one so you shift them into the usually more profitable used model with extra long second tier financing, reducing their monthly payment while increasing your profit.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Could the Volt have more interior room, better visibility, or maybe someone likes the styling better? I kinda like the Buck Rodgers meets GM styling of the Volt over the(non) stylings of about any Toyota. Yes, I respect Toyota and their last forever dependability, I just think their styling studio go for “safe”.
    The big issue here is how many people will want to replace their daily driver with a hybrid? I somehow think GM won’t do a Henry Ford and lower the price ala the Model T if the Volt sold 10k units a month.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @El sotto:

      I test drove the Volt because I was interested in the technology under the hood. I thought the styling wasnt very interesting. When I actually sat in the car, though, I found it to be surprisingly luxurious in an understated way that did a surprisingly good job of helping to justify the higher price for a guy like me (I’m a dot-com geek who lives in a Midwestern college town). If you’re interested in the Volt but think the styling is blah, you might find it to be more appealing after driving the car.

      On the other hand, taste and styling is a personal preference, so you might feel differently.

      Alas, the Volt isn’t built for people in my stage-of-life. I need to haul kids around and haul stuff from the hardware store, in addition to commuting and hauling my coworkers to lunch electricly so, despite being built for me in most ways, the Volt isn’t a perfect fit. I actually use the middle-rear seat in our Prius and our Escape from time to time, and I actually use the trailer hitch on my Escape. I’ll be looking at the C-Max or C-Max Energi too. Another possibility is a used minivan for roadtrips and hauling, with a Leaf for the other 300 days a year.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    What percentage of this group are GM employees or work directly for the federal government?

  • avatar
    racerxlilbro

    I think the Volt is a great ‘idea car’ folks will point to in a dozen years or so as being a pioneer. It’s too bad GM built it, or I’d own one. But, my experience with their dealer service and cars which spontaneously dissassembled themselves mean I’ll never own another.

    Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out: “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.” I think you meant to say “…its political baggage…” Damned apostrophes!

  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    I’m not sure that this actually is a harbinger of anything in particular, except that this type of buyer will go for the newest and best technology out there at the time that they are looking for a new car. For the previous generation of cars, that was a Prius.

    I’m sure the #1 trade in on Leafs and Plug-in Prii are are also 2nd and 3rd generation Prii, and I’m sure that many who are pondering buying a Tesla are Prius owners, although I’m not sure that Tesla takes trade-ins!

    So – first adopters of Prii are the first adopters of Volts. That only means that GM has to stay ahead of the development curve to keep return customers!

  • avatar
    BigFire

    Not this Prius owner. I’m driving a ’05 Prius. I fully intend on driving this car until it broke down (like my last car, Camrys, which I finally have to get rid of due to frame leak). The next car will most likely be a current model of Prius, or perhaps a hybrid Camrys.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    We’ll have reliability ratings for the Volt soon enough. We already know that the Priii (couldn’t resist) are tres reliable.

    I suspect that GM’s penchant for hiring one engineer for every three sales dorks/four MBAs/ and six UAW clods will soon reveal itself through the reliability ratings.

    (Nope, don’t own a Prius, but I’d pick a Toyota anything over a govt motors anything anyday. Exception: Corvette.)

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Why would that be a surprise? Same market, same customers. If they had said that the #1 tradein was a F150, now THAT would surprise me!

  • avatar
    USguyinMTL

    Not that I would doubt the word of a GM representative on this, but the word “factoid” was invented and defined by the author Norman Mailer in 1973:
    “Factoids..that is, facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority.”

    I know, most people do not use the word the way it was originally intended anymore.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    That $49k story is misleading at best, and here’s why.
    “They’re losing $49k on each sale, huh? So that means, if they sell another one, they lose another $49k, right?”
    “Uh…”

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’m not suprised by this. In my limited experience riding in them, the Prius is a hair-shirt of a car, although I haven’t ridden in the latest version, which reportedly seems less like a science fair project.

    So, it might be that the “hybrid market” (that is, folks, who for one reason or another are interested in owning this kind of vehicle) has discovered that driving a Volt is more pleasant than driving a Prius.

    Or they might be that small subset of people (of which I am one) whose daily drive is within the Volt’s electric-only range, so they anticipate cutting their gasoline bill close to zero (of course, someone who drives that little doesn’t have a big gasoline bill anyway, no matter what they drive or what gasoline costs per gallon).

    But if I were inclined to buy a hybrid and didn’t want a hairshirt, I’d buy a Fusion. For the way the vast numbers of people drive, the Volt just doesn’t make economic sense. You would be better off with its cheaper cousin, the Chevy Cruze or, if you want more posh, the Buick Verano.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I don’t even know what a hair shirt is in this context. What is a hair shirt?

      Part of it, though, is that the Prius solves a problem I have better than anything else on the market. Except maybe a Volt or a Leaf, but I don’t have a paid off one of those in my driveway. When I think of the car this way, its hard to guess what “hair shirt” actually means.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    I’ve been seeing a TON of Volts around the LA area. Was just remarking to a co-worker how it seems like they’ve multiplied like crazy over the past couple of months. On my short 15-minute ride into work today, I saw FOUR Volts, all still with paper plates. That’s in addition to two new Volts I saw charging up at two EV parking spots/charging docks provided by the city I live in.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    How many of those are people who are just looking to keep access to the HOV?

    Honestly, if I were able to afford a volt, I would just keep going down the street to the tesla dealer and buy the base model S

  • avatar

    it makes no difference if they trade in a lawn mower or refrigerator.

    You must remember this
    A loss is still a loss
    The pie is in the sky
    Bad marketing does apply
    As share goes bye.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      You might want to talk to an accountant about that. Things are far more complex in real life, especially in a high fixed cost industry like the auto industry.

      You’ve gotta look at the forest and the trees. But, what do I’ve merely taken an introductory accounting course recently, and it was just enough information to help me talk to a real accountant without looking like a complete fool.

      The issue here is that, in the car industry, you have to spend darned near a billion dollars to design a new platform and build a plant. THEN you earn that money back, car by car. So, if the car has been on the market for a year, you can create dramatically different stories about the car depending on how you account for that billion dollars. Its even more complicated when part of that billion dollars was spent to develop a mass-market car that is built on the same assembly line, as it was with the Volt. So, you’re left with a choice: delve into the details of how GM does accounting, or trust them. Oversimplifying isn’t going to get anyone anywhere.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Mr Schreiber:

    You apparently did not read or understand the previous recent articles on the Volt, and resulting comments. (Most of which were arcane right wing babblings, but some truths did emerge)

    The lease company gets the tax credit, not the person signing the lease and driving the car. Is that understood?

    $199/ month leases need at least $3K down. Did that escape your eagle eye?

    Did you understand Pch101′s comments about the bankruptcy writedowns of then existing R&D costs?

    Do you, and the other howling wolves here, understand what “cdotson” meant about marginal cost pricing of a product in his comments yesterday? I wager not.

    Until this is fully grasped by the foaming at the mouth types here, fueled by bile and little knowledge, most comments are worthless. You all have no idea how a large industrial business is financed or run, or how product pricing is decided.

    What a waste of time flapdoodling this topic to death and getting precisely nowhere.

    I expect an essay on marginal costing by Tuesday next week, latest, or give it up.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know why you’re asking me all those questions regarding costing. This post isn’t about how much it costs to build the Volt, it’s about the fact that people are trading in their Prius for a Volt.

      While everyone was arguing about the Reuters piece, I noticed that little bit of information and I thought it was worth sharing.

      If you want to write an essay and share your knowledge of manufacturing finance with the readers, I’m sure the editors will consider publishing it.

  • avatar
    magicboy2

    I love how one comment–one–actually brings up the DRIVING EXPERIENCE between the two cars.

    Drive both back to back, and it’s immediately apparent how superior the Volt’s throttle response, handling, and road feel is to the Prius. Perhaps that actually counts to some buyers.

    Dont believe me? From TTAC’s Volt review: “The Volt does ride better than the Prius and Fusion Hybrid. Among efficiency-maximizing alt-energy cars, this is about as good as it gets.”

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Anyone looking for a clean used Prius, try your local Chevy dealership. Their loss is your gain. Other than that, this is one more attempt to palliate the relatively low sales of the Volt.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Anyone looking for a clean used Prius, try your local Chevy dealership.”

    It will be parked right next to the Tundra that’s been gathering dust on their lot!……LOL

    On the other side will be the BMW that someone traded in on their Volt. The bigger story is how many curent Volt owners had never stepped foot onto a Chevrolet dealership. Many owned higher end german cars beforehand. How many people are trading NICE cars in on a Prius? It all gets backs to once you drive both you just can’t compare that turkey, which drives like its steering wheel is attached to the chassis with a rubber band, to a Volt.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    Amazing how many flag-wavers are eager for one of the largest American companies to fail. Also amazing how few point out that spending $30k extra over a $20k Corolla to buy something with a German badge on it, makes no economic sense. OF COURSE, it makes no economic sense! Neither does the Volt at present. But people buy cars for reasons other than maximizing utility and minimizing cost (which would be the Marxian viewpoint, btw.)

    The Volt itself is a techno marvel and arguably the first such marvel to come out of Detroit in a very long time. As an American, I’m quite willing to celebrate that, and let people who choose to buy one for their own reasons enjoy their purchase. To date, I’ve not yet met a single unhappy Volt owner, which must be some kind of record for an American car. For those that wanted a hybrid/electric but were forced to buy foreign to get one until now, then traded their Prius for a Volt: Good for You!


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