A number of Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicles, currently available only in certain areas of the U.S. and in scarce numbers, have popped up on eBay, and at least two will come at a premium for the prospective buyer.
Tony DiSalle, who headed up Volt marketing before moving over to Buick in January, told Ward’s last year General Motors was taking steps to keep the lid on mark-ups above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
“We’re messaging dealers to not mark it up north of the MSRP,” he said during an event to mark the start of production at the Volt’s battery pack assembly plant outside Detroit in July. “There isn’t a mechanism to prevent that from happening.”
The priciest of three Volts up for bid this week at the online auction giant is listed for a “Buy-It-Now” price of $47,700. That’s $4,000 above MSRP for the Cyber Gray model with seven miles (11.3 km) on its odometer. It includes a premium trim package with leather seats, 17-in. wheels, navigation and Bose audio system.
The seller, Camino Real Chevrolet in suburban Los Angeles, did not return calls seeking comment.
Dominick Wieczorek, general manager at Tennyson Chevrolet in Livonia, MI, has a Volt listed on eBay with a Buy-It-Now price of $47,500, or $2,577 over MSRP.
Wieczorek says his motivation is “to find a buyer” and if he receives above MSRP for the Viridian Joule model, it simply makes the $8 he spent to list the car on the site that much wiser of an investment.
Over two days on eBay, Wieczorek received 320 hits.
The only Volt allotted to Tennyson, he says the car also draws people into the dealership, located outside of Detroit.
“We get people coming in just to look at the car,” he says, adding that a couple of those gawkers have driven off in a new Chevy Malibu instead.
Rob Peterson, spokesman for GM, says dealers are businesses independent of the auto maker and free to choose their selling strategy.
“We have an MSRP,” he tells Ward’s. “But (dealers) are independent business owners with the freedom to sell the vehicle however they choose.”
Peterson also says eBay casts a wide net, making it a good option for dealers such as Tennyson hoping to capitalize on soaring public interest in the car. Dealers often list their inventory on eBay.
“It attracts people to showrooms and new people to Chevrolet,” he says. “The power of the Volt is it raises awareness of Chevrolet.”
GM tinkered with selling its other cars over eBay for just over a month, striking a deal with the auction house shortly after it exited bankruptcy in 2009. But the auto maker opted out of the deal, saying it achieved the intended goal of raising awareness of GM’s products.
GM also considered selling the Volt on eBay to boost the initial launch, which started in December, but ultimately choose to go with selling it in select metropolitan areas before opening the car up to dealers nationally later this year.
“A lot of things get bantered about” early in the formulation of a marketing plan, Peterson says.
A third Volt listed at eBay by Michael Automotive Center in Fresno, CA, drew eight bids at one point this week, pushing its premium over MSRP up $75 to $43,375. The car has 17 miles (27.4 km). It sold late yesterday for $43,800.
All three Volt listings tout the $7,500 federal tax credit buyers can apply for if they buy the car.
GM’s pricing for the Volt starts at $41,000, and a 36-month lease option also is available at $350 per month and $2,500 due at signing.
GM offers the Volt in limited availability as part of a plan to slowly ramp up production. The auto maker intends to build only 10,000 units this year for U.S. distribution, although it is considering ways to increase production to as many as 25,000.