• Jun 19, 2008
Bob Lutz revealed to the Seattle Times that the price point for his company's Chevy Volt series hybrid electric vehicle will be $40,000, or around $10,000 more than originally estimated. Lutz also told the paper that the first-generation of the Volt would generate no profit for General Motors. There's still hope for buyers who were hoping to snag a Volt closer to $30,000, as potential tax incentives on state and federal levels could trim the price substantially. Congress is currently considering proposed legislation for plug-in hybrid tax credits on the order of around $7,000. Still, there's no telling what demand there will be for the Volt, and if it's higher than the supply, we could see markups on GM's high-tech hybrid from dealers who are trying to survive this transition from a market dominated by profitable trucks and SUVs to smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. According to Lutz, however, cars like the Volt are the way of the future, and GM's car czar expects that between 2020 and 2025 a quarter to a half of all vehicles sold will be either electric- or hydrogen-powered. We'd put our money on electric, as this country has not gotten serious yet about building a distribution network for hydrogen.

[Source: Seattle Times via AutoblogGreen, Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty ]


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  • 84 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was ugely interested in this car at a price point of $30K. But at $40K? I could buy a nice Pontiac G8 GT and save near $10K for gas.
      • 6 Years Ago
      sweet jesus about damn time. the prius didn't make money during its MKI generation, the A8 didn't make money during it's MKI generation, damn near any automaker undertands the way to establish yourself in a niche is to take a loss initially... though those automakers have game plans lasting longer then three years. I'm glad to see GM is finally speaking from an outlook beyond the very short term.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Perhaps GM could build two versions of the Volt. An entry level model for around 30K and an luxury model for around 45K.Maybe sell the upscale model as a Buick with a more luxurious interior and trim.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Surprise...Just add it to all of the other GM products losing money.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No profit does NOT equal loss. They will probably break even. This vehicle will also bolster GM's green credentials, increasing sales of their other, profitable, vehicles.

        I am glad you don't run a company. You are flat out clueless.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Where are all the calculator-wielding Prius haters to prove how a used Gremlin would be far better for the environment and your pocket book than the Volt could ever be? I mean, if a 21k car drove 'em bonkers, what abut a 40k car?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm sure that once there are performance figures to evaluate, people will evaluate performance figures.

        Right now, there's a lot of Bob Lutz blabbing. Can't do much of a cost-benefit analysis with that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        $40k!?

        If you guys realliy want to be green, drive an older car into the ground. New crap isn't the solution. Buy a CRX for $1500, fix it up for 3 grand, and enjoy 50+mpg for a long long long time.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LOL WTF: You're failing to consider the massive amounts of energy required and pollution created in the construction of a new car. It's absolutely enormous. Tailpipe emissions and MPG matter not when a car requires a HUGE amount of energy to produce, and creates a lot of pollution before it's even driven 1 mile.

        For more info, watch this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooN9INJxxy4


        Kingus: Whatever man. Some people realize that today's disposable society is crap, and unsustainable. We cannot keep it up. I really don't mind driving older vehicles. I have an 89 accord that gets 30-35mpg, and has 4 wheel doublewishbone suspension. It will outhandle most of today's normal sedans, quite easily. I have another 89 Honda, a Prelude with 4ws. It's extremely fun to drive, reliable, and easy on the wallet. It was also the best handling car sold in 1988 and 1989. And I love my SVX also. It's a great car, very reliable, and very comfortable. Plus, I'm not losing money on depreciation like all the suckers like you out there. Could I afford newer, more expensive vehicles? Sure. But why?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seriously? Buying a beater may be economical from a pure financial sense, but its by far not the best idea for several factors. Two of them being emissions and safety. Buying a old CRX will omit more CO2 into the air and won't solve the enivornmental issues. And with all the advancement in safety technology the past 10 years, you'll most likely survive most accidents that you'll get instantly killed in an old sub-compact car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ vintage

        Some people DO make money. Why would anyone with a decent job want to buy some old POS that they will constantly have troubles with in the future? Never mind the safety concerns.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a great thing regardless of price. Up here in the PacNW most of our energy comes from water, wind, and nuclear plants. So plugging this into the power grid at night isn't going to cause secondary pollution like other parts of the country. Its also gonna go easy on the gas so that will help.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought this was going to save the company? A no profit replacement for highly profitable SUVs. I hope the unions are up for some concessions in 2012.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The second generation will require retooling and further R&D costs, but not nearly the amount that this one received. The first generation is the building block for which the next generations will improve upon. It's easier and cheaper to improve something than to start from scratch.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's not the materials per vehicle that will make them lose money.

        The money losing part has to do with the massive amount of capital invested to get the project started. That's why he said the second generation would be profitable. The initial setup cost would no longer be part of the equation.
        • 6 Years Ago
        People think of CEOs as employees, in fact that have the control of owners with none of the risk. If anyone is going to take a pay cut it's not going to be them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, yes, we all know how economy of scale works. However, GM is on borrowed time, they can't afford a couple years of pissing money away on this thing. Besides, every single vehicle GM has lost money on (all those AU and EU imports), they limit the production to lesson the impact, which means they will probably never reach profitability. Perhaps once all the old men in charge die things will improve.. I don't unerstand what part of the car they are losing money on, if it's the li-ion battery or the aluminum, that's going to be a problem, because the cost of metals ls only going to go up, WAY up.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It always comes down to unions taking concessions. What about the jackass management who decided to roll the dice on sport utilities and pickup sales, even with unstable gas prices since 2005. Are they expected to take concessions? Put the blame at the right person's door. The big three deserve a serious spanking. But don't blame the autoworker. It was shortsighted management that decided to keep building 5500 lb. personal trucks that get 9 mpg. So now when you have no good or even average small fuel efficient cars, and your bloated trucks aren't selling, what do you do? Let's cut shifts and shut down plants and lose more market share. What a great plan. Actually if your average autoworker was as unskilled and stupid as most commentors like to think, I would be willing to bet Joe Lunchpail would have done a better job running the big three.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This car will save the company. Once production ramps up, and the cost of the vehicle drops, this thing will start to make them some money. Plus this will act as a halo car for the other chevy cars coming out at about the same time (the cobalt replacement and the new aveo).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh well, so much for that one. With a Prius hitting $35,000 here in Canada, I wouldn't be surprised to see us overcharged for the Volt at $50,000.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea, too rich for me. I was really hoping to be a Volt customer but with this thing selling for 15-20 grand more than a Prius I'm going to have to pass. I'm also really starting to think this is going to be one of those niche vehicles that will never sell in Prius like numbers.

        It's too bad they can't be more flexible with the batteries and shave some money off the price. Going 40 miles on a single charge is great but I can make due with half that if it would drop the price.
        • 6 Years Ago
        42-45k CND would be my guess. But we pay high premiums on vastly less capable vehicles here anyway.

        I'm still looking forward to it. Mine will be a lease anyway, so the cost isn't a big drawback.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh yes these will sell like hotcakes just like the $50,000 + Tahoe Hybrids :/ .... Lutz is an idiot if the thinks this will help GM bottom line in 3-5 years.

      They should of focused half of their resources in making a sub $20,000 small sedan with an average fuel cost of 30mpg.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Like the Prius, it doesnt yet make complete economic sense, but its a cool piece of technology.
      • 6 Years Ago
      At the rate of the evar daily free falling
      US$..two years from now, the Volt would probably cost $65-75k. Twice the original, at worst probably $80k!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Kotse,

        you're obviously clueless on economics. The Volt and Prius both cost MONEY...so the falling US dollar would affect them equally.

        However, given the fact that the Prius is currently a foreign-produced product, the falling US dollar against the other country's rising currency is going to actually raise the rates of the Prius even more than the US-built Volt.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ok, PROFESSOR Justin...

        Both cars will be affected with the devaluation of the US$ no doubt...

        However, did you account for the huge healthcare legacy costs (on top of other GM's woes) that burdens GM currently?

        Two long years down the road (with more GM retirees coming out)..you'd really think GM would'nt pass those "costs" on to the Volt buyer, and that it would cost less then than a Prius? Heck, Toyota has nowhere near any of the countless financial problems GM has. This Japanese company is swimming in "dough"!..

        With the enigmatic efficiency of the Japanese/Toyota when it comes to smartly running a car business (regardless of currency issues, etc.). Toyota now ahead of the curve...and I'd bet that with the Prius model of two years, would undercut the price of the Volt.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dear god I hope you are wrong. But sadly you are a bit right. Things have a whole lot worse to get before they get better. Hopefully by 2010 we will slowly start coming up again. I am guessing 50k by 2010 and marked up to 65K if its good.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @DKB_SATX

        Really? That's weird. I see vw setting the MSRP on their TDIs thousands and thousands lower then we saw before, accepting lower margins due to the economy. I'm not sure why toyota wouldn’t be able to follow suit given their greater amount of cash
        • 6 Years Ago
        Scared you there huh, Shipey...all of what "you kept" would devalue that much.

        Wonder how much gold/oz would be then..keeping my gold coin stash! :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wow. What an insightful point. Except that you forgot that this unlikely situation would apply to ANYTHING YOU CAN BUY WITH MONEY.
        • 6 Years Ago
        DKB, I didn't say that the devaluation would just hit only the Volt. Of course ALL things considered would be affected...hello!

        What I was trying to say in my 1st post was that the Volt would cost more...much, much more than mentioned in two years (factoring in GM healthcare legacy, currency issues, bad management, etc.)...than say the "swimming-in-money", car business efficient Toyota with their Prius.

        Heck, at this rate where the US$ is going...I would be surprised if the US$ would still exists by 2010 (if the planned North American Union/SPP and a new currency does not come into fruition)...

        http://www.spp.gov/

        And this GM Volt US $40k price point would be one of many pipe dreams...
        • 6 Years Ago
        DKB, Toyota with the Prius is now AHEAD of the curve with the hybrid/electric market, now with plans on assembly in two other countries, one is Thailand (a Tesla assembly point)...

        In two years, plus the fact that the Japanese are at each and every turn, always outwit and outsmarts any of the Big 2.5...I'd bet in 2010 the Prius plug-in would come out cheaper and yet a profit maker for Toyota.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Kotse: you're missing Shipey's point. The Prius' price will suffer the same inflation that the Volt's does if there's further devaluation of the US dollar. If anything, the Prius would be affected MORE, since it's a Japanese product, unless the Yen suddenly starts falling faster than the dollar.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just like I've been posting...Who the hell is going to buy a $40K Volt when the third gen Prius will sell for $20K+/- and Toyota, Nissan and Honda will ALL have reasonably priced and multiple hybrid/clean diesel/fuel cell/pug ins....Wow...Lutz and GM are on some SERIOUS meds...
        • 6 Years Ago
        you must be on serious meds if you think that the equivalent prius (plug in series hybrid prius with Lithium ion batteries) will be able to sell for 20k... the whole reason for the high price is the sheer cost of the materials and technology that goes into the car.

        the Volt will sell... it will sell out and for a long time. i just hope GM can keep the price gouging at a minimum at the dealerships (corporate control GTR style?)
        • 6 Years Ago
        If the next generation Prius is going to be a plug-in hybrid with 40 mile electrical-only range, able to drive 70 mph on batteries alone, then it would cost around $40,000 as well.

        The reason that the next generation Prius is going to cost around $25,000 or so is that it won't be plug-in, it won't have a 40-mile electrical-only range, and it won't go 70 mph on batteries alone.

        To do all of that (40 mile range, 70 mph on batteries, etc.) requires an order of magnitude more battery storage than the Prius has. That costs a lot of money.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Pris is not and won't be a plug-in in it's next generation. Other companies do and will offer hybrids, and will offer some diesels, but none of them are plug-ins, and thus they are fundimentally different. While other automakers claim they will be making a plug-in of their own, none of them have announced anything about pricing. So unless you can see the feature, you have no idea whatthe pricing of plug-ins will be from the competition, and like the Volt, they probnably won't be cheap, as it's anew technology.

        Onemore thing: it's rediculous to even try to make such an ignorant statement as to "reasobaly priced fuel cells". There's no such thing. The FCX and Equinox fuel cell cost millions if I remember correctly, hencer why they are only available for lease to a select few, and why you can't go buy one. The technology is still very new and very expensive. It takes time for the price of new tech to go down, but when it does the prices come down, which will happen with the Volt.
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