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Market Trend Just One Element of Volt Price Cut, GM Exec Says

Vice President Chris Perry also says the auto maker’s large pickup inventories are swinging in favor of ’14 models and calls the new Chevy Corvette Stingray a no-excuses sports car.

Competitive forces help motivate Chevy Volt price cut, GM says.
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MARINA, CA – The recent $5,000 price cut on the Chevrolet Volt in the U.S. makes the plug-in electric vehicle more competitive against newly discounted rivals in the segment, but it also reflects new manufacturing efficiencies and responds to consumer shopping habits, the brand’s top marketing chief says.

“The market dynamics are changing, there are savings (we) have identified and then there are consumer habits at some of the shopping websites,” General Motors Vice President Chris Perry says. “Their cutoff has always been $35,000 and below, and we were always above that.”

So when customers were shopping for electrified cars, their searches rarely returned the Volt among results, often leaving the car completely off their shopping lists, Perry says.

GM cut pricing on the ’14 Volt 13% to $34,995, compared with $39,995 for the ’13 model. Factor in federal tax credits of as much as $7,500, and the extended-range EV can cost $27,495.

The move came shortly after Nissan slashed stickers on the ’13 Leaf EV 18%, or $6,400, to $28,800 from $35,200. The auto maker said that since ending imports from Japan with the launch of production this year in Tennessee, Leaf manufacturing costs have dropped and the car no longer suffers from an unfavorable yen-dollar exchange rate.

Honda recently cut the lease price of its Fit EV more than 30% and Ford has taken the price of its Focus EV down 10%.The Toyota Prius PHEV, arguably the Volt’s principal competitor, has seen incentives on its hood as high as $6,500 in some areas of the U.S. this year.

Auto makers are slashing prices steeply to stimulate demand. According to WardsAuto data, only 47,452 EVs and PHEVs were sold in the U.S. through July.

Perry declines to say how the Volt’s new pricing will affect its profitability.

“It has always been about showing (consumers) the technology we can bring to the market,” he says. “That car, in my mind, is still the most technically advanced in the industry with its EREV technology.”
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