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2011 Chevrolet Volt - Click above for high-res image gallery

It's sort of common wisdom that when the first Chevrolet Volt models become available in General Motors showrooms (or on eBay) in late 2010, they'll be priced at around $40,000. GM hasn't made any official statement declaring this specific price – and for a while there was speculation on which way the ticker would go; would it be $30,000? $35,000? – but for now, $43,000 is the expected average transaction price, and GM will lose money on each Volt at that rate, according to a new story in AdAge.

This is much higher than Bob Lutz's original, off-hand estimate of somewhere in the high $20,000s. How GM went from that very attractive price point to the new $40k number proves that, when it comes to introducing a lot of new technology at once, the road isn't always smooth. Lutz told AdAge that GM engineers are "beavering away" to find ways of cutting costs of the Volt as quickly as possible after launch. Considering the surprising rate at which costs and projected costs escalated during the course of the Volt project – when engineers discovered, for example, that some parts from other GM compact cars wouldn't be able to be used in the Volt – it's got to be a big relief for Lutz and others at GM to see that the path to cost reduction is exactly where numbers climbed up over the past two years. The battery and new technology offer "GM an opportunity to bring the cost down much faster than for a conventional car," AdAge writes. With the electric vehicle market growing, larger suppliers are beginning to get EV-specific parts ready, which will help bring costs down, perhaps to the $30,000 range. The changes might not be ready for Job 1, but who can say no to a cheaper Volt?


[Source: AdAge]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Chris
      @Tim

      *whine*whine* big govt* evil black obama *whine* joe the plumber *whine* main street, preserve the status quo; freedom, hot dog, .not doing anything..


      May you put and end to this recurring nonsense? Even if the Volt cost taxpayers $10,000 a piece, it would reduce the nation's oil imports by $10-15,000 over its lifetime. Furthermore, it will lower the cost of production of all EVs and make them more accessible to joe the plumber. Do you think PCs were cheap when they came out? Do you think cars were all cheap when they came out? It's got to start somewhere, and the initial high costs can only translate to high sticker prices in the beginning.
      • 5 Years Ago
      FYI. In a majority of industry, R&D programs are tax write offs. I work for an aerospace company and we pay only a fraction of the cost for our R&D efforts. Just thought I'd add fuel to the fire.

      one more question... What did Toyota do initially with the MSRP of the Prius?. I worked at a dealership in 2002-2003 and seem to remember the costs being higher at first, not to mention the dealer slapping on some $$$$ for good measure... hmm wonder why? Not that the $2000 or so dollar hike was as noticeable as $7500

      These arguments are so tiring. Every time the government subsidizes a company do you think the savings EVER get passed on to the commonwealth? However, every time the govt taxes a company or places more stringent regulations on them, those costs immediately get passed to the consumer. Example of how screwed up the system is? tax fast food joints heavily but continue to limit farmers' production of food crops. I'm not pointing fingers, the whole system is broken.
      • 5 Years Ago
      To those ranting about American health care vs. single payer health care in most other industrialized nations. Do you have your eyes wide open when you visit a doctor or hospital here in the great USofA??

      I found out I have a heart condition, but I waited ONE YEAR before my wonder employer provided health insurance would OK the tests that I needed. It was only after showing up at the hospital in a very "unstable condition" would they allow the tested I needed.

      Our great system in the US is based on for-profit insurance companies. Those companies are solely in business to make money and they do that by finding ways to deny coverage to the insured. Everything is getting hysterical because people are out there saying that with single payer/universal health care, the government will be making medical decisions. Right now insurance companies, not doctors, are making the decisions.

      I go to the doctor on a very regular basis. I try to get the first appointment of the day so I don't miss much work. While I may be the first patient of the day, I am not my doctor's real first appointment. Before my doctor sees any patients, he has appointments with salespeople from the drug companies. They get priority over patients.

      And for anyone who truly believes it is going to cost us more to insure everyone, think again. Society already pays a high cost for everyone who is uninsured. That cost is made even higher because the one thing the uninsured never get is preventative care. They only go to a doctor or hospital if they absolutely have to and by then the cost to help is way more than it would have been if that patient had been able to see a doctor all along.

      I sit through county legislature meetings here at home and recently I learned something. My county tax dollars pay for funerals for people who die in the county and have no money for burial. A recent case involved a 52 year old diabetic man who needed one insulin shot per day, but couldn't afford it. He died and I'm paying for his funeral. I would rather pay and see him live.
      • 5 Years Ago
      WTF? reading the comments is like watching Fox news channel. This is autoblog, not politicalblog. I don't give a flying F about what bloggers on this site think about anything but cars. On the Volt. I'm excited about the Tech. I hope it makes it into lower priced products soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah it is Tim again with his sky is falling tripe. Once again Tim spews but useful, stay of the pills like your friend Rush.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Perhaps I'm the dumbass here, but what the hell does this mean:

      "to see that the path to cost reduction is exactly where numbers climbed up over the past two years."????

      After reading it over like 4 or 5 times I'm getting that the price of batteries and "new technology" skyrocketed over the past 2 years, but in the next two years and beyond they're be reduced dramatically.

      If that's what it means it could have been worded better, and how did prices on "new technology" and batteries jump up so much over 2 years? That doesn't seem right to me, but I don't claim to know everything so it's be nice to get that explained.

      Thanks,
      -Dumbass
        • 5 Years Ago
        What about cars like the Prius? I don't really remember, but I didn't notice the R&D for hybrids being THAT much. Can't GM make some long term contracts that figure in the R&D over the life of the contract? Or, are they trying to recoup $$ from early adopters that are going to purchase the car at virtually any cost?

        ...it'd better have some swanky interior
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ahhh, makes total sense. Thanks. R&D... of course!
        • 5 Years Ago
        "to see that the path to cost reduction is exactly where numbers climbed up over the past two years."????

        I think it means that "when engineers discovered, for example, that some parts from other GM compact cars wouldn't be able to be used in the Volt" That's where the prices climbed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry db. Yes, the intent was to say that designing and building all of this new technology was expensive, but now that a lot of the heavy lifting has been completed, future advances should bring these new technology costs down quicker than they could be reduced in conventional cars. Hope this makes sense now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      40k? 30K? Fail...Epic
      • 5 Years Ago
      This Chevy in the $40k's?!?! It looks and smells of $20k's. Haha, the American company conning the American citizen into paying premium for a car that should cost no more than the Prius.

      I'll say this right here: This car is GARBAGE. Get a Prius or even the lesser Insight. This car will only be bought by Leonardo Dicaprio and other celebrities faking that they care about the environment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM can't claim that Volt R&D drives the price up as the cost of all Volt R&D was paid for in their bailout. Any lingering R&D debts are held by old GM which has no assets.

      So I'd appreciate them not saying that they are paying off their R&D costs as their creditors have already been given the finger.

      In the end the thing is still a Chevy and the design geniuses decided that they had to give it the standard ugly Chevy grill. They could have used the Volt to reinvent the design of Chevy but no... i'd take the Ampera any day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder how many they expect to sell in the first year. I think a lot of buyers will wait and see for 2 years - especially if the price might be coming down.
        • 5 Years Ago
        People will buy while the $7,500 credit is in place. You have to wonder who is going to buy the thing at full price without the credit if the price stays the same.

        My guess is that when the credit runs out that the price of the Volt drops by $6,000 and it is dressed up as "improvements in efficient manufacture" when in reality the price of the car was originally inflated by $7,500 in the first place to sop up the credit for GM.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Speaking of socialized medecine... I live in Canada, and I have had a few opportunities to use the health care system. I caught malaria in Africa and was flown home for treatment at no cost to me other than my $65/month I pay to medicare. How much would a three week treatment intensive hospital stay have cost me in the US?
      About 50% of personal bankruptcies in the US are because of medical bills. How many in Canada? Zero.
      It seems to me that American private health care is a sick little eugenics experiment, weeding out the weak, poor and sickly from the gene pool.
      I'm going to the midwest to pick up a car I've bought next month, and I've had to buy extended health care insurance so I don't go bankrupt if I get sick or injured while visiting your plutocracy to the south. On the other hand, if it's an automobile accident, the paramedics will see that I was driving a Jaguar so I'm sure they will take me to one of the good hospitals with the good doctors so I won't have to mix it up with the un-insured...
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM does NOT have to make money on the Volt (or at all).

      As long as GM is considered "too big to fail" it will remain a Progressive "works program" for the UAW, the progressives will continue to redistribute taxpayer money (debt) to them.

      Consider Big Auto and Big Banking the new Amtrack.

      Now, let's talk about socialized medicine, comrades...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wincros;

        Why do you ASSume that I'm "pro-communist China", have "no problem with bank/Wall Street bailouts" or was in favor of the central planning (Community Reinvestment Act), artificially low interest rates from the Fed which was the catalyst for the wall street and Fanny-Freddy malfeasance (look it up) that created the bubble which burst?

        The bubble (all bubbles) are caused by Fiat Money, the Fed’s and Congresses central planning.

        I ASSume that you are in favor of Statist half-truths, free money, Crony Corporatism and redistributing FROM the productive to the NON-productive until ALL productivity ceases.

        THAT worked so well for the Soviets, right? NO LEFT!

        You are so ignorant of history that it would be funny if it weren't so sad...

        (those who are ignorant of history are DOOMED to repeat it)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Now we know that Chris M is a socialist and has ZERO knowledge of simple economics.

        Yes, the bubble was caused by greedy speculation, but that speculation was caused by cheap and easy fiat money and socialist central planning. Ah, the picture looks completely different when you step back from the mirror, right comrade Chris M?

        By the way, Single payer kills MANY more through low quality rationed health care than it saves by helping the poor. We ALREADY help them with medicare & medicade and dozens of other programs designed to keep the poor on the public dole out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Geoff:

        Seriously? Point to ONE example in the WORLD where socialized medicine works. You can't. People who live in countries with socialized medicine come to the USA to get health care if they can afford it. Most can't and as such, wait 6 months for an MRI, 12 months for cancer treatment, etc. Our system works for 85 percent of Americans. Why scrap a system with that kind of approval? Fix what's broken (the 15 percent), don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        I agree that people should take care of others--through churches, communities, donations, etc. What I don't agree with is your government FORCING you to take care of others.

        In 200 years we've become the richest, most powerful country in the world with the only system of health care that foreigners travel overseas to access.

        World leaders in universal healthcare countries come HERE to take advantage of the most advanced, best medical care available. You know why? Because socialism is for the people, not the socialist.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Tim, economic "bubbles" are not caused by "fiat money", they are caused by rampant speculation, that is, people buying a commodity because they expect the price to go up, which then causes more speculative buying which temporarily drives prices higher which triggers a mad scramble to get in on "the latest sure thing" - until the bubble pops, the prices start to fall, and all those speculators then try madly to unload their "investment", which triggers a complete price crash. It is basic economic psychology, and it works the same way irregardless of the "source" of the money. Speculative bubbles occur througout history, the most famous of which occured in the early 1600 in Holland, driving up the price of tulip bulbs to exhorbitant levels - and the Florin at that time was literally the "gold standard" in currency.

        nbarry: Why have one example of successful socialized medicine, when there are hundreds? Every developed nation and most developing nations have some form of "government run" medical care - including the United States. Yes, the US has "socialized medicine", just not for everyone. It is only for the military and ex-military (Veterans Administration), Senior citizens (Medicare/Medicaid), and Politicians. A recent bill in Congress asked if those opponents of "socialized medicine" really meant it, by proposing to eliminate Medicare and all those other government run medical programs. Not one single "Conservative" dared to support such a move.

        Consider this: if "socialized medicine" in other countries was really as bad as some right-wing pundits pretend, why isn't there any movement in other countries to privatize it? After all, most are democracies, with leaders elected by popular vote, and many have referendum voting as well. Perhaps, just like Medicaid in the US, it is just too popular and too beneficial to consider eliminating it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Tim
        Wow dude, take a chill pill, take a breath and stop seeing the world as all corrupt and the only way is the American way, i.e. capitalism. Way to be childish too. I feel you need to rethink you mindset about public health care. It works, and it's for the greater good of everyone, not just ones that can afford to pay. Did you not learn as a kid, be nice to others so they will be nice to you? Well the adult mentality is take care of others when in need so that they will take care of you in need. Take care.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Viewing the world through a HEPA filter?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah, bloviation from the lunatic fringe that created our economic mess. These people are pro-communist China, but concerned about socialized medicine. Anti-car bailout because it might help union workers, but no problem with bank/Wall Street bailouts. Will it be long before we here screeds against socialized schools, fire departments, armed forces and police departments?

        Let us hope GM makes it and slows our slide to Third World economic status, not making anything and just exporting raw materials and agricultural products.
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