There’s a good news-bad news situation going on with GM’s Chevy Bolt EV right now. As we recently reported, deliveries surprisingly went down to 952 units in the US last month – only 3 months in GM’s production ramp up for the all-electric vehicle.
Now it seems that dealerships are getting more inventory, which is a good news, but they are discounting – sometimes quite heavily – in order to move them.
Unlike most of its models, GM doesn’t offer cash-back incentives to dealers on the Bolt EV and therefore, any discount comes from the dealerships’ own margins.
Some dealers were hoping for a strong demand that could have resulted in an opportunity to mark up the vehicle, which starts at a MSRP of $37,500, at least for the first few months since the availability was limited to California and Oregon.
It’s still the case for a few well-located dealers trying to make a quick buck, but Automotive News did research on the Chevy Bolt EV inventory in California and found that most dealers were actually discounting the vehicle already and some by over 10%:
“At Harbor Chevrolet in Long Beach, Calif., all 21 Bolts shown on its website are discounted by at least $1,285. One Bolt Premier is $4,160 off, a nearly 10 percent markdown. Another nearby dealership listed 32 Bolts in its inventory, with two priced at discounts of more than $5,200.”
Here are the listings for Harbor Chevrolet in Long Beach and the example Auto News referred to:
That’s for a more well-equipped Bolt EV, but some are currently listed below the starting MSRP of $37,500. After the $7,500 federal tax credit and the $2,500 California rebate, some customers can technically get away with a brand new Bolt EV for less than $25,000.
Sergio Navarrete, a Harbor Chevrolet sales manager, told Automotive News:
“We price every single vehicle in inventory to move. Our business model is more geared toward volume vs. any one sale. Per unit we make less, but long-term it works out better.”
Across all current markets for the Bolt (California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia ), the average amount paid by customers was $1,400 below MSRP in January, a 3.4 percent discount, and it went up to $2,200 in February, a 5.3 percent discount, according to TrueCar.
It will be a good metric to follow in the short-term to see if dealerships need to discount the vehicle in order to move them. Hopefully for the EV sector, it stabilizes and they don’t need to further discount it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be surprising if GM uses it as an example of why customers don’t want all-electric vehicles.