Chevy Volt may be worth only $17,000 after 36 months

2011 Chevrolet Volt
2011 Chevrolet Volt
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The 2011 Chevrolet Volt will have a resale value of a tick over $17,000 after 36 months, the length of an average lease, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's only 42 percent of the plug-in hybrid's $41,000 MSRP. KBB's projection assumes that the going rate for a gallon of gas will hold steady at $4/gallon 36 months from now.

Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting at Kelley, told Automotive News that the Volt's projected residual value may seem to be on the low side. But, as Ibara points out, the first 200,000 Volts sold qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, effectively slashing its sticker price down to $33,500 (well, maybe not).

Using that $33,500 number, KBB's projection means the Volt will hold onto 51 percent of its value. That compares to 46 percent for the 2011 Toyota Prius and 37.5 percent for the 2011 Ford Focus. As we see it, factoring in the $7,500 tax credit is crazy, but we'll let you guys and gals debate that.

KBB expects to set residuals for the $25,280 $32,780 Nissan Leaf, which also qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit, later this year. Hat tip to Frank!

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