Some critics will say that the federal government's decision to buy a lot of Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids for the Pentagon will artificially inflate sales figures for the extended-range plug-in. Others will point out that there is another program being promoted to move Volts, a dealer-incentive program initiated by Chevy parent General Motors.

GM has been instituting a so-called stair-step incentive program that boosts per-vehicle cash payouts to dealers that exceed targeted goals for selling the model, Automotive News reports.

Take the story of dealer Ourisman Rockmont Chevrolet near Washington, D.C., which generated almost $100,000 in incentive cash from GM this summer. The Maryland dealer sold 33 Volts in July and August, with demand spurred in part by the dealer's own $5,000 sticker-price mark-down, $9,500 in state and federal tax credits and a cheap leasing program.

Such incentives were among the factors that pushed the Volt to monthly sales record numbers last month. That's when GM sold 2,831 Volts, more than nine times as many as August 2011.

Earlier this month, reports came out saying that the U.S. Department of Defense will buy as many as 1,500 alternative-power vehicles, including many Volts, in order to cut pollution and refueling costs. Right on cue, some conservatives are decrying what they say is the continued taxpayer subsidy of a less-than-successful vehicle.


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  • 80 Comments
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      SVX is right, the best lease deals were for 2012's, and the deal didn't last long. Also, most of the articles that are negative about the 'give away lease deals' quote prices that require a huge GM credit card balance or a large down payment that isn't disclosed in the main part of the article.
      brotherkenny4
      • 2 Years Ago
      What will happen first, GM selling 75,000 units and becoming profitable on the Volt, or Tesla selling 7K units of the S and becoming profitable?
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        GM will have sold 75k Volt & Ampera sometime next year, and is already net operating cost profitable on the Volt. Tesla, I just don't see them selling 7k Model S before the end of next year, much less ever being profitable.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        These kind of posts do nothing to better GM or Tesla, brotherkenny4. Tesla and GM are not at war and they are selling their products to two different customers. They are both innovative new technology cars and they both deserve to succeed. And I'm a Tesla enthusiast and they need to make a lot more than 7K cars to become profitable. Even Elon said they need to make 8K and that was two months ago. Costs in business have a way of creeping up...
        taser it
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        GM is profitable, now. Tesla is not and would not be selling 7k Model S.
      • 2 Years Ago
      So far the US government/pentagon has only bought 130 volts in the last 18 months. The Idea that volts sales numbers are being warped by fleet pruchases is a Myth. Here’s a good run down of some of the other myths being circulated to squash Volt sales that you might find useful. http://gm-volt.com/2012/09/25/five-myths-used-to-bully-chevy-volt-sales/
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Years Ago
      Government fleet purchase and dealer incentives prove to the world than the GM Volt is profitable car to manufacture despite substantial profit lost per car sale. As a clever GM bean counter would phrase it: We lose money on every Volt sales, but we make it up on volume. Government Motors has the taxpayers as the back-stop, so why worry.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Levine Levine Oh STFU with your made up garbage. The Volt is making money now, and it will break even within its lifetime.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Bail out is over. So no back stop. GM is making money now. So under your premise, you dislike a winner that makes us, the taxpayers, money. Over 1 million Americans are employed by GM and their support companies.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dealers service departments don't like these cars... I can't even imagine the obstructionist crap the cab drivers will do when autonomous cars are truly affordable...
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Yep. We can obsess over electric cars all we want, but nothing beats mass transit.
          Vlad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Vlad
          ...replied to a wrong comment...
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Engineers... the job destroyers! The price of progress people... stop having babies. We don't need cheap labor anymore.
        MTN RANGER
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Why? It's not like I can take my Volt to any corner mechanic to work on the Voltec system. The dealer service department will do just fine.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          For Tesla, a premium brand (still much more limited and expensive than the average Benz and Bimmer) the owner can afford it. For mass market, that is a losing strategy. I am sure Tesla will come up with something else by the time they are making large volume low cost EVs.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          Tesla requires Model S owners to use Tesla service, or else they void their warranty.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          Right now, with reliability still largely unknown... yes. But really, there is not much that is going to be required for maintenance and regular service for the Voltec system. The corner mechanic can do everything else. The ASE certified mechanics will be getting training on these systems too. There is only so much GM can keep proprietary.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Just look at Vegas. If the tram that is within the airport or the monorail went to the strip, they would lose out on thousands of fares, and we could save thousands of gallons of gas. It would also save time and make Vegas more modern. Everyone wins except for the cab drivers and the oil companies.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          How about Oakland Airport - BART doens't connect to it, but it should. Same with the Stadiums. It should be mandated that all airports and stadiums have mass-transit stations!
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          There are very inexpensive shuttle vans to/from the hotels. Probably cheaper than building a monorail to cover the whole distance.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          @spec - I, agree, with, you. Me. @ford - I agree! That's why those republicans want to raise gas taxes to replace the taxes lost by higher mileage cars in Arizona, Oregon, and elsewhere! Those b*stards! That will hinder EV sales, as well as hybrid sales! I ate them! Oh wait, they are all democrats. it's for the best really, because they care...
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Yeah, holy smokes is that a terrible inefficient system. And you get stuck in traffic often. If any place should have a train to the airport, it is Vegas.
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          If the oil companies even lose 1 red cent, your "Republican" congressperson will vote NO, no matter the outstanding benefit of the rail system.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Dave, the monorail already runs the length of the strip, it stops right near the border of the airport, which is behind the Tropicana.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Factory incentives, a government buying locally produced car to support local industry, increase export earnings, dealer volume sales incentives, .....so what's new ? Where's the story ? Oh, I understand it's another story about GM's Volt ! It's only by these sneaky practices that GM can persuade people to buy the Volt ? Well in that case all I can say is, well done GM ! All Americans should be proud to support the recovery of GM, and the success of US technology. I am looking forward to placing an order for our twelfth fleet Vauxhall Ampera ! (and I'm not even American). So far the Ampera has been very well received, (even by the initial doubters), making the rivals look old-fashioned by comparison.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Yes the way to go, support your home grown products & industry the way to go, well said Marcopolo. Lets hope more US government departments at national & local buy more of these fantastic E-REVs. Just look at Japan & South Korea Top 50 sales charts they are all Japanese or Korean made. Flipside of this the poor new Focus is suffering in Europe due to new wave of nationalism sweeping around the globe. Ford's new Focus dropped out the European top 10 list for the first time last month. Funny how the Chevy Volt & Opel/Vauxhall Ampera are all sold together essentially the same car under the skin in Europe, the Volt comes with a big discount from GM in Europe, so which are Europeans buying on mass and which one has virtually no sales in Europe at the moment? They are going with the more expensive European badges on the grille. Last set of European sales numbers l can find that lists every car sold in Europe was April 2012. Opel/VauxhallAmpera. 499 sales. Chevy Volt 0 Locals seem prefer the home grown badge, gotta say l prefer the Chevy would have one sitting on my drive today if only it had been RWD without all that nasty understeer.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick
          I'm sure that traction-induced understeer is a huge problem for you all the time. You're, what, out driving the BTCC daily? Oh wait, the winners of the BTCC are usually FWD cars too. RWD is a tough sell in an EV/PHEV because it means reduced regenerative braking efficiency. And since most EVs right now are concentrating on efficiency (due to small battery capacities) you're going to see a lot of FWD. Finally, it's "en masse", not "on mass".
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick
          Rick Keep in mind that there are practically no Chevrolet dealers in Europe, but plenty of Opel/Vauxhall dealers, which explains the big gap in sales between the two labels.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meanwhile, other car makers offer increased prices in an effort o reduce sales.... Oh wait....
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Green Energy ( Wind, and Solar ) revolution has just started. But you may be hearing bull about natural gas, consider this piece: http://climatecrocks.com/2012/09/14/why-cheap-gas-is-hot-air/ - Long Term Price Volatility not reflected in gas market spot prices. - Shipment cost not taken into account. - Efficiency is cheaper then fuel. - Pollution costs, the industry NEVER calculates these. - That's a fresh water, and fishing and hunting cost to your state, if they frack in your state. They poison your fish and possibly your game.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        You're talking about "fracking", yes? It's not the fish and game that people need to worry about - it's the poisoning of freshwater, groundwater that's the real problem.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Ahhhhh Marco.....this is why I tell people to read leftist philosophy, books, etc. you are totally wrong, and when you read this stuff, you understand. You comment on discrediting due to hysterical blah blah blah.... An enemy of the left (anyone who disagrees) is open to all sorts of attack. The word 'Chicago' is now racist, as Romney used it in an attack on Obama. The PGA is racist as well, because tiger woods is in it, and he is promiscuous, and saying Obama likes golf... The method is this.... Attack with hysterical argument. The foot soldiers on the left believe it, of course, so they run out, burn buildings, protest, hurl urine and feces. The media ignores any evidence to the contrary, until they cannot. Then they speculate (on page 13) about how they were duped, with screaming headlines talking about how the newest enemy of the left will now starve black gay Muslim wheelchair bound blind children. The ends justify the means - central tenant of Alinsky. Appealing to people's emotions is the primary goal - outlined by Mussolini. Logic and reasoning can be used as tool, but with the myth, you can move mountains! He said... For every spec, on the left, there are 10,000 of...well, the others (notice how I am being nice by not naming). Now...in this room, they will respond thusly....'oh yea? You do it too! You guys are just as bad as we are! No wait....worse!' Like, that is justification. Yet, their philosophy is all About open mindedness, diversity, acceptance. And it is....as long as you don't dare disagree......
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          I'd like to read more data on the environmental impact of fracking before issuing a judgement. A number of communities around fracking sites are reporting problems with the quality of their groundwater.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          In a perfect world, money hungry companies will go above and beyond legal requirements to follow "proper" procedures. If you believe that, I'll have what you're smokin' In reality, no. And evidence is growing to show fracking *is* destroying groundwater supplies.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          SVX pearlie There is no poisoning of 'freshwater, groundwater or anything when proper hydraulic fracturing procedures are followed. North America's economic prosperity relies upon development of it's vast Natural Gas deposits. Hysterical disinformation about wildly exaggerated and largely mythical harm, only brings further discredit to the environmental movement, and makes support harder to generate for real environmental issues.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        :)
      Tweaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      They had to do something about some dealers' hesitance to push the car.
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      "GM helped push record Chevy Volt sales in August by using dealer incentives" Sounds like a good business move to me. If you get the car out there and people get to drive them and talk about how great they are then more will buy it. This is a normal marketing and sales tool.
      • 2 Years Ago
      What I want to know, is why is the Volt/Ampera so damned expensive in the UK? In the US, there are plenty places giving $2k down and $200 a month. So why in the UK is it $3,000 down and $850 a month?????? Sales tax here (UK) is only 20% so that isn't the difference. And the rebates are about the same ($7,500 in the US and £5,000 in the UK. I presume the UK dealers aren't interested in selling in volume they'd rather just take the piss with the markup and flog you an Astra instead.....
        Ziv
        • 2 Years Ago
        Andy, I can't speak to the price in the UK, but the $2k down and $200 a month leases were for just a few of the 2012's that were left when the 2013's were being released. Since the 2012 has 35 miles EPA AER not 38, they needed some incentivizing with the 2013's on the lot. Right now the biggest seller/leaser of Volts in the DC area has leased all the $200 mth 2012 Volts, but they do have a $300 mth for 39 mths with 0 down, which is around $2,000 (total) more than the $200 a month deals. And, it is only 10,000 miles per year. Granted, that is still a much better deal than $850 a month.
      pmpjunkie01
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now they cost the taxpayer $243,000 instead of $238,000 per unit because of the extra 5k dealer incentive? /s I doubt they would push it that hard if they lost money on every unit.
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @pmpjunkie01
        you're an idiot.
          Spiffster
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sir Duke
          I think you know this already but thats a laughable number based on current sales at the time... Its tallying the Volt's first year or so of sales against the total cost to develop and produce the Volt. People who cant think for themselves love to pander on about crap like this.
          pmpjunkie01
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Good grief, what a miserable crowd around here. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=%2Fs%20tag
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Right - if you used that math, the sales of all low volume cars made by GM or Chrysler could be tallied up to explain the entire debt of our nation.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sir Duke
          @pmp - next time, spell it out with the full "/sarcasm" tag.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @pmpjunkie01
        /s means sarcastic. He was being funny.
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