Think of it as an extended test drive.

General Motors is looking to spur sales of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid in California by loaning hundreds of Southern California drivers Volts for as long as a week, Green Car Reports said, citing GM representative Shad Balch.

Under GM's "Cars to People" program, the automaker has loaned almost 300 people Volts over the past few months, and will likely loan the cars to a few hundred more by the end of the year, according to the website. Balch told Green Car Reports that the challenge behind simply explaining the cars' technology to potential customers was the impetus behind the program, and that the Volt "sells itself" to potential buyers.

The program represents yet another way GM's trying to boost sales in the most populous U.S. state. GM last month started deliveries of 2012 Volts, which are notable because they're eligible for solo-driving in California's high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes. California Volt buyers are also eligible for a $1,500 rebate from the state, on top of the federal tax credit worth up to $7,500. Last month, GM also began offering so-called "Quad $0" lease program on Volts made in 2011, in which customers could lease the vehicles without a down payment, security deposit, first month's payment or cash upon sale. Those cars aren't eligible to be driven solo in California's HOV lanes.

Meanwhile, GM this week began a five-week shut-down of Volt production in an attempt to thin out dealer inventory. While GM was about 2,400 units short of its goal to sell 10,000 Volts in 2011, Volt sales showed signs of life last month, moving 1,023 units, up from 603 vehicles sold in January.


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  • 32 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gas is marching towards $5/gallon. I think sales will pick up naturally soon enough..!
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        You can't call it "naturally" when the federal gov't is donating $7,500, and the state is donating some cash as well.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          You can't call mining tar sands and refining that into gas, "natural" either, without federal subsidy, and the Koch Brothers funding Republicans to shut down the EPA, to allow free unregulated pollution of your air and water.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          @ Dave No Dave, mycommentemail, got your point. he just doesn't agree!
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          you've missed my point completely
          Nick
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Dave True. But then again, oil is SUBSIDIZED to the tune of BILLIONS. What do you say about that?
          mycommentemail
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Sort of like the road subsidies that come out of the general tax fund that enable auto travel in the first place? Or the oil subsidies that allow petroleum based travel at all? How about the cost of the highway patrol? Transportation in this country is subsidized. And, generally speaking, this is a good thing. There is nothing natural about auto sales. Without government intervention it would be a non-starter. Offering a tax subsidy to encourage the adoption of a new technology that will have many benefits (both geo-political as well as environmental) is just one more, small piece of the puzzle.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm at a loss to understand why GM has stopped their lines when they have 7,000 orders outstanding in Europe. It makes no sense whatsoever to me. Any one got any idea?
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        The only thing I can imagine is that the Ampera bumpers weren't spun up, or the line stop is cover for some other "stealth" fix. Otherwise, it seems you switch the mix to 100% Ampera for the next 7000 cars.
        Paul Stoller
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        My guess is that they need to shut down to update the lines to start producing the Malibu at the plant as well. They need a higher volume cart produced their alongside the vole/ampera to be profitable.
      Grendal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Excellent marketing idea. If only they had smart ideas like these before they started the "See it's got a gas tank AND a plug!" commercials. It's good to see them on track. The 7000 orders in Europe will only help to generate more interest and sales here in the US.
      christianii
      • 3 Years Ago
      soooo if you don't pay a lot money up front for the car, you can't drive in the HOV lane?
        MTN RANGER
        • 3 Years Ago
        @christianii
        The new production units since February are good for the HOV sticker. The old models were being blasted out with the quad program. The new ones still have a $349/mo lease price.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      What else do people need to snap up Volts in large numbers?? You get an exceptional car for a paltry $349/mo lease price !! COME ON GUYS !! At that price, and assuming you have a power outlet, the payment could partially pay for itself via gas savings !
      amtoro
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is nice to see something like this coming directly from the manufacturer, however, many dealerships of different makes offer extended test drives. I can quickly mention Team Nissan west of Atlanta, they lend their demo LEAF overnight quite often.
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      I see in the news today that GM is offering Volt leases for $349/month. I have heard it is costing GM over $250,000 per copy to produce the volt. Even with a $7500 government bribe, people aren't buying this car. That's pretty good, a $250,000 car leasing for $349/ month. What's next, the government passing a law that the people have to buy this car? You think I am kidding? It's a compelling design, but....................way too expensive, epic fail.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Lies spurred by Fox news, they're in bed with GM! Obama gon' take allll yo guns!
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Even you know you're completely full of it. You throw out BS controversial phrases like "a $250,000 car leasing for $349/ month" just to get a bunch of people here to correct you. Since you've already gotten those same responses on similar posts, why repeat it? I suppose if it's fun for you and you've got nothing better to do. Do you actually have a gripe with the Volt? If so, bring up your realistic points and debate them. You know that no one here is going to believe the "Volts are going to catch fire!" or "They cost GM $250K each" BS, because it's just made up crap.
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        No, this isn't an EV1 with $250k cost. The Volt is breaks even on cost at $39k MSRP. That much we know as stated fact, which is why the Volt is a tremendously good deal compared to things like FFE. At an even $30k after $7.5k Federal and $1.5k CA rebates, this is actually a very good use of what would otherwise be a big pile of tax dollars.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Fox news isn't telling you the truth, harlanx6! It really costs $999,999,999,999 per car! Where's the birth certificate!!
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Oh dear lord. Harlan hasn't been attending the meetings of the Objectivist Radical Right Wing Extremists I see. Hopefully the rest of cringe when a lefty rails against highways as a method to subjugate the people (saw that one a week or so ago).
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @ 2WM, and everyone... Ok,OK, It was me, I'll confess. I told Harlan that the Volt cost $250k ! I know it was wrong but I needed the money and Harlan's friends bought all those Volts "Off the back of the truck", for $125K each! Look, it's not my fault ! Ezee introduced me to the Las Vegas show girl, who turn out to have brothers called "Fat Tony' and 'Ice pick" Louie, who work for her bookie husband! Well ..anyway, y' c'n see I needed the money real bad, ...and.....it all was so easy once Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the guy's on Fox news ranted that the Volts true cost was $999,999,999,999 per car! Harlan's right wing cronies believe anything on Fox TV is absolutely true! Regards, Marcopolo, On the midnight Greyhound bus, Wearing a false beard Headin' for San Fransisco.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        You heard wrong about the price of producing a Volt.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Yeah, that report was debunked immediately. You should keep up with the news my friend...
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Loan my ass one. I'll drive that bitch all around town,
      mapoftazifosho
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't understand why more companies don't do this. Like, I've gotta commit to a 3-5-7 year purchase cycle with a 20 minute test drive?! FML!
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        this is why I am a fan of car sharing/zip car stuff. Rent one for a day, kick its butt, then decide to buy me or not.
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmm... Free Volt for a week? I'll have to look into this. That would be fun. Esp as the battery is small enough to charge overnight just fine on 120V.
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