With its launch slated for the second half of 2011, Kevin Wale, president and managing director of General Motors China, promises that the Chevrolet Volt will be priced to compete in China's fledgling alternative technology car market. The selling price of the Volt will not be officially unveiled until the vehicle launches in China, but as Wale spoke at a news conference in Shanghai recently, the words "I believe the pricing will be competitive" resonated throughout the room.
Priced at $41,000 in the U.S., the Volt is not exactly a bargain and, at nearly $8,000 more than the Nissan Leaf, naysayers suggest the Volt is simply too expensive. While we'd disagree with the notion that the Volt is way overpriced, the Chinese market is ripe with hybrids and plug-ins that will undercut Chevy's breakthrough model by tens of thousands of dollars. For example, BYD's F3DM plug-in hybrid starts at a very reasonable price of $22,000 before incentives, yet it still struggles to rack up a meaningful amount of sales.
So, what is a competitive price for the Volt in China, exactly? Does GM hope to compete on level terms with the $22,000 F3DM? Doubt it. Will The General aim for a $41,000 price tag? Probably not. We're inclined to believe that GM will shoot for a target price that's pretty squarely in the middle, but we'll have to wait for official word to see what "competitive" actually means to GM.