Automotive dealerships are accustomed to training sales and service professionals when new models arrive, but the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt – and its pricey additional tool and equipment costs – is frustrating some low-volume retailers to the point of dropping the model from the showroom. A recent report says that a few discontented dealers have stopped carrying the innovative sedan because General Motors is requiring a more significant investment in the near future, and the specialized costs (in excess of $5,000) aren't offset by the model's slow sales at those establishments.

This time last year, Chevrolet had 2,614 stores certified to sell its Volt (out of 3,079 dealerships). A full 70 percent of the sales were generated by the 300 highest-volume dealers – leaving 2,314 dealerships to fight for the remaining 30 percent. Some of those non-metro stores, like Jim Barnard Chevrolet in Churchville, NY, have sold just five units in the past two years (they are understandably opting out).

Yet some dealerships, like John Holt Chevrolet-Cadillac in Chickasha, OK, are soldiering forward. Even though they have sold only five Volts since its introduction, the owners have chosen to make the investment as sales are on the upswing (Volt sales have more than tripled this year) and GM is introducing other plug-in hybrids with similar technology (Cadillac ELR) in the near future. "I figured I'd be foolish not to buy the damn $5,100 tool," said owner Holt.


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  • 312 Comments
      tsphilicia
      • 1 Year Ago
      SPECIAL TOOL! Hahahahahaha! I so have given up on newer vehicles... I will work on vehicles up to 2002 but prefer them older... My daily driver is like 30 yrs old. Screw the auto industry and their revenue protected engineering... For those that don't know what that is.... It's the way cars are designed to make them frustrating to work on in that they require special tools or the disassembly of half the vehicle to make the simplest of routine repairs thus resulting in a trip to the uber costly D word.... the DEALERSHIP!!! Aggghhhhhh!
      rfassio
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm surprised by the posts I'm reading that say the Volt is ugly. I think it's quite stylish and sharp for a compact car. While the price was steep, we got the $7,500 government rebate as well as $4,000 off from using my GM Card. That brought the price down to about the same level as the other hybrids we were considering. I pay my credit card the end of each month no matter how much it is, so they're not making money off me. Our Volt is just over a year old, and we've put ~8k miles on it. The last time we got gas was on the 4th of July 2012 and still have about 1/3 tank left. My husband is able to drive round trip to work (~35 miles RT) without having to charge. We have free charging stations at my office, so when I drive it, I get to the office on battery only, charge while at work, then drive home solely on battery. My hub is an electrical engineer, so he hooked up the charger to a meter. He determined that it was almost exactly $1.50 to charge from nothing to full charge. Our cost of driving the car is almost nil. Why is there so much negativity towards it?
        marcie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rfassio
        A former dealership owner said he didn't order any for his lot. He said they're garbage.
          richard
          • 1 Year Ago
          @marcie
          Good luck in kindergarten this year marcie.
        HAT1701D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rfassio
        Out of curiosity, did your state also offer a tax credit toward the vehicle? I know some states do on top of the Federal.
          rfassio
          • 1 Year Ago
          @HAT1701D
          No, my state (Massachusetts) did not offer an additional incentive. We also did not opt to install a high powered charging station. We charge on a regular 120V outlet in ~10 hours.
        HAT1701D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rfassio
        My personal "negativity" isn't toward the Volt ( or any of the current specific vehicles ) it is toward the current lack of pursuit of a practical truck with the technology. Not all want a car. Many still want a utility vehcile with the capacity to tow boats and other things. Seems that no company is advancing this technology toward that market. Give me a nice truck, even if it is a truck in the size of a Colorado, that can "get the job done" within the distances that most trips are completed YET a smaller gasoline OR diesel engine to assist for longer trips. Then we are talking.
      Tony
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gasoline is still the biggest bang for the buck... sadly,supply and demand are now out of wack.
      Bob Mull
      • 1 Year Ago
      this has been going on since they started selling the volt
      ddstan1120
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe it's not so much that the dealers WON'T sell these cars, it just may be the fact that they CAN'T sell one of these clunkers. If you check out the Eisenhower museum in Kansas, you will see an electric car his parents had in the very early 1900's. It probably was more reliable than the Volt is today.
      Wayne
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only enough room for a volt and your ass... never make a great looking car like the 57 chevy again. I doubt anyone will ever find a volt in a barn 40 years from now and say "lets fix her up" Too much buggie-bull s-it for me.
        Pat Violi
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Wayne
        Loved my red hard top convertible Chevy. Coolest car ever.
      rmrmsix
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is about time .. Even members of the GM Group .. selling these $$$ Hogs.. are seeing what a waste of effort and money was spent on them. The Obama pushed these trash cost effective heeps...Not really.. hahah and How millions of wonderful cars sold they would be.. not even the 10K sold world wide makes the media anymore... Even states now are forcing owners to pay penalty for owning them.. because someone forgot to mention the loss of gas tax revenues when driving them.. Go figure that!.. Other than the stupid price tags and a vehicle that looks like a sardine can.. and insurance companies screaming about battery issues.. Well done.. The Obama and GM.. Government Motors.. Strikes again!!!
      fakichgo
      • 1 Year Ago
      i have a Volt and love it - Never had a problem with it and drive it everyday at least 70 miles . I agree with 1mike1 , sell it cheap and they will stand in line
        HAT1701D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fakichgo
        The problem is you can't sell them too "cheap". GM all ready sells them at a loss currently. Now, some states do offer a tax credit on top of the Federal which helps even more. It is not neccesarily the most advanced electric anyhow. First it isn't a pure electric as that it has a small gasoline engine to give it full range capability. True electrics are vehicles like Tesla's and the Leaf.
      eb50tj
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let the clowns who "engineered" it and the yoyo's who "designed" it fix THEIR disasters... Betcha see lots of easier cars to work on! Being a line tech for 25+ years I have seen a lot of garbage being made either here or imported!
      magoo49
      • 1 Year Ago
      if there are special tools and special training for these cars they both should be given to the dealerships for NO cost
      hoofy53
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the Volkswagen was Hitlers baby then this Chevy Volt is all Obama's !! How many of these overpriced ,overhyped ,undertech fiasco's did Obama promise GM they would sell by 2015 ??
      Sekinu2
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why is Chevey aka GM giving the dealers these special needed GM only tool? Seems like they would supply them as leased or signed out specialty tools to a dealership if they sold this overpriced flop.
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