Jan 16

Lutz: First Volts Will Cost More than $30,000



Many months ago Lutz told us it was GM’s intention to sell the Chevy Volt for under $30,000. Not surprisingly that was GM-Volt’s top voted post of 2007.

In an interview with WIRED magazine, Maximum Bob dropped another bombshell.

With respect to the car costing under $30,000 he said:

“I’ve always said I’d like to be able to sell it at around $30,000. The way things look now, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be possible. It looks like it’s going to be more.”

and, as to how much more:

“I don’t know. You’d like to have it at about $30,000 for the customer, but what I’m hearing from the team is we’re not going to get there. They say we might get there on the second generation, and they say if they had a lot more time they might be able to cost-optimize it. I don’t want to wait for cost optimization. I’d rather come out in 2010, and if it costs closer to 40 than 30, well, that’s too bad.”

This information shouldn’t surprise us too much as GM North American president Troy Clarke told us early adopters might have to pay a premium. Just think about the very first plasma TVs. A 32 inch set cost $10,000 in 1998.

Source (WIRED)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 at 6:59 pm and is filed under Financial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. 1
    MC Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:07 pm)

    Unfortunately that puts it a bit out of my target price range, but who know what might change between now and then…

  2. 2
    Rashiid Amul
    Rashiid Amul Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:10 pm)

    Count me out. I’m not paying 40K for any car.
    I will buy another Hyundai in 2010 or 2011 and
    wait for Volt 2.0 or Volt 3.0 Good luck GM.
    I truly hope that the Volt and EREV succeeds and succeeds big time for you.

  3. 3
    SteveF Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:11 pm)

    Yes, this could put the Volt out of my price range. Understand the reason but still disappointing.

  4. 4
    pdt Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:17 pm)

    They might find a market, but it will not be me at $40K. It has to be the battery, but even at $1000/KWh it shouldn’t cost $40K.

  5. 5
    SLNTAX Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:21 pm)

    man slowly slowly every promise made by lutz he is backpedaling on. whats next it will only go 20 miles on electric only?

  6. 6
    Randy Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:33 pm)

    And here comes all the complaints. Just remember, there are currently major government incentives for hybrids of several thousand dollars. I would think Volt should qualify for many of those as well, so even 40k may be more like 36k (or 35k may be like 31k, which is right where we started..).

  7. 7
    Brian M
    Brian M Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:37 pm)

    I would expect more than $4k from tax incentives. I think the original Prius tax incentives were around $3k, and a PHEV or EREV is obviously much more deserving, so hopefully the politicians will come through with a big tax break for early adopters.

  8. 8
    iDevin Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:56 pm)

    A lot can change between now and 2010. One thing that some people are forgetting about is something that could have a major impact on the Volt: a new president. Odds are that we’ll get a democratic president this time, and the front runners Clinton and Obama both have big plans to support green vehicles. Hillary wants to give out $20,000,000,000 in ‘green vehicle bonds’ to the US automakers to retool their plants and what not. I would think that if GM got a chunk of that, it may bring the Volt’s cost of production down considerably. Not to mention the inevitable tax rebates for consumer purchases of these types of cars.

  9. 9
    Rashiid Amul
    Rashiid Amul Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (7:57 pm)

    [quote comment="27851"]

    Randy #6,And here comes all the complaints. [/quote]

    Hey Randy, do you know what your name means in England?

    I’m not complaining. Some of us honestly can’t afford it. Unlike you, I don’t begrudge anyone for that.

    [quote comment="27848"]SLNTAX #5, man slowly slowly every promise made by lutz he is backpedaling on. whats next it will only go 20 miles on electric only?[/quote]

    Well put. What is next? Volt 1.0 to be produced in 2015 and has a top speed of 30 mph. Toyota buys GM. Only time will tell.

  10. 10
    thatsanicepicture Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:02 pm)

    Ouch! I’d have to be out. The advantage would be completely lost…

  11. 11
    O.Jeff Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:08 pm)

    Well, look at the bright side: a price of $40K will mean a shorter waiting list. Though, unfortunately, I may not be on it! :-)

    I agree with Lutz’s priority on optimizing for schedule rather than cost. I think that is the right decision.

  12. 12
    Dave B
    Dave B Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:18 pm)

    This is the free market. The Volt has to be a good, reasonable product to compete. Lutz and GM knows that; at least I think they do.

    We have lots of time to research, and save our pennies.

  13. 13
    Dave G
    Dave G Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:35 pm)

    $40K is too high – count me out. Is there a wait list for version 2?

  14. 14
    JR Case
    JR Case Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:42 pm)

    I agree with SNNTAX #5…. I believe GM knew full well initially that the Volt would not be “comfortably under $30K” as they stated. They have lied from the get go. It looks to me like they are trying to find reasons not to produce the thing. The way they are changing their positions, you can almost bet that is what the eventual outcome will be. Keep your Volt, GM. I will get the Volvo Plug In or one of the many other options that will more than probable be available soon enough……NEXT!

  15. 15
    Scott H
    Scott H Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:44 pm)

    I guess I’ll wait for gen 2 now. $40K is too damn high, maybe they’ll have all the bugs of gen 1 worked out by then also.

  16. 16
    charley Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:46 pm)

    This news really sucks. If this car ends up costing almost 40,000 count me out. I just can’t afford it.

  17. 17
    SilverBlade Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    Count me out as well. Looks like my money will be going to Toyota instead.

    When one promise is broken, you can be sure that there will be more.

  18. 18
    Herkimer Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:56 pm)

    Hey – Mr. Lutz:

    Stop talking until there is something that you can stand behind.

    All this back-pedaling is making you look foolish.

  19. 19
    Ziv Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (8:59 pm)

    Even with a larger tax incentive I don’t think I can go anywhere close to $40,000. This sucks! I have always been afraid that GM would drop the ball, and this is a major blunder. “Closer to $40,000″ is not anywhere near “comfortably under $30,000″ by any stretch of the imagination.

  20. 20
    kent beuchert
    kent beuchert Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    I’d be interested to know what the battery
    pack costs. That will be the prime component for cost reductions – when mass production of batteries gets rolling.
    I wonder if BYD still clms they can put their version on the street for $20,000? Last I heard, that number had increased well into the twenties. Won’t have long to find out. It will be VERY competitive. if it can come in as promised – over $10K
    cheaper and with a 50% greater electric driving range – the VOLT can allow 78% of commuters to commute liquid fuel free, the BYD will allow 90% to do so. I’d say all of the major automakers will not be able to come very close to matching the BYD on specs – the question of quality may allow
    them to compete, however. As I recall, that car’s batteries only cost $2500.

  21. 21
    GXT Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:13 pm)

    1) As I have said many times before, Lutz has been shooting his mouth off. Or is it just Irresponsible Optimism?

    2) Sub $20K hybrid that gets 55+ MPG regardless of distance driven or $40K Volt that gets 45 MPG (? Or was that a lie too?) MPG after 40 miles (Best case… or was that a lie too?). Guess which product is doomed to EV1-esque failure?

    3) Toyota and Honda are looking more right by the day.

    4) I hope that GM’s spasmatic PR experiment at least has the effect of pushing battery technology so that more mature companies like Toyota and Honda can make use of it.

  22. 22
    TheSaint Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:24 pm)

    I still up for one. Every time there is a bit of news of a drawback in the development of the volt, all you see certain folks barking about GM. In case you are not aware this volt thing is moderately a new technology, and bugs and cost will be present and alteration will exist. If you are opting out, fine, there is ExxonMobil waiting at the next corner, but at 40K and 40 or perhaps 30 miles gas free the Volt still will work for the environment and me. I agreed with Randy @6 and iDevil @ 8. Moreover, I do not see or hear of another company working as hard as GM and as transparent about this development as GM, but if you think the prius and it creator is the solution. Go ahead, have fun in your fruity car.

  23. 23
    Sentinel Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:34 pm)

    Count me out much past $32k… it just went out of my price range. Unless there is a $10k+ tax credit for it I just can’t swing it. Even if gas hits $5 a gallon I don’t think I could afford the payments.

  24. 24
    Chuck Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    Hi everyone. I wrote the Q&A that Lyle linked to (thanks, Lyle, for the link!) and thought I’d weigh in with some additional info and my perspective, based upon my conversations with the GM execs.

    First, Lutz told me he hopes the government will provide tax incentives – similar to those available for hybrids – to buyers, and added that he thought such incentives would be forthcoming. That would help bring the final cost to consumers down.

    More importantly, with regard to the expected price going up. To maximize the car’s range, GM is having to develop a lot of components – air conditioning, power steering pump, etc. – that are driven by the engine on conventional cars but can’t/won’t be on the Volt. GM also is having to develop more efficient electrical components, such as wipers, interior lighting, audio system and the like – again, to minimize range. This has undoubtedly increased costs.

    I’m not trying to be a cheerleader for GM, I’m simply filling in some details that didn’t make the final draft of my story.


  25. 25
    Chuck Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:40 pm)

    oops… the second to last sentence in the second to last paragraph of my post above should read…

    GM also is having to develop more efficient electrical components, such as wipers, interior lighting, audio system and the like – again, to minimize their impact on range.


  26. 26
    Only FromChina
    Only FromChina Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:45 pm)

    This is what’s happening.
    1). GM says we can’t sell it under $40K.
    2). In 2 months, Volt can’t reach 60 mph under 50 sec.
    3). In 4 months, GM says the range is actually 25 miles, not 40 miles when fully charged.
    4). In 7 months, GM says the battery only last 5 years for 50K miles, you must buy a new battery after that.
    5). One year from today, GM says the car works normally only at above 50F and below 90F, out of this range, the battery either does not have power or it verheats too much, it breaks!
    6). 15 months from now, GM says the release date will be 2013 for about $41K.
    7). 20 months from Today, GM announce a loss of 70 billions dollars and will shutdown Warren Tech center, sell OPEL, sell their Chinese, UK, Australia and Brazil and Russian ventures, it also announce to close Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Cadillac and only retains Chevy brand and change its name to Chevolet Motors Inc.
    8). 2 years from Today, Bob Lutz, Rick Wagner are fired and GM declares Chapter 7 to liquidate its auto business, at the same time, Ford is sold to Nissan for $1 and Chrysler is sold to Chinese for $30 millions. Jobless rate in midwest reaches an all time high of 60% and USA enter 15 years economic recession. I went back to China!

  27. 27
    Vman Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:47 pm)

    We need a survey of how many poeple simply will not buy it at 40k.

    At 40k, the volt would go from a 100% lock to never going to happen. Even at 35k, it porobably won’t happen.

  28. 28
    Only FromChina
    Only FromChina Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:48 pm)

    This is only a joke, I fully support the success of GM Volt, but would advise Bob Lutz to says thing before thinking twice. Don’t make yourself a fool before the Japanese!

  29. 29
    OhmExcited Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:58 pm)

    So, $40k, plus you have to lease the battery pack. Righto. Maybe I’ll buy two Priuses, insipid looking as they are.

  30. 30
    AES Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (9:59 pm)

    Thanks for injecting some reason back into the discussion, Chuck. The new componentry is undoubtedly a large part of the engineering challenge. And tax incentives are a large part of what got the prius to where it is now, so TOYota fanboys should stop being so hypocritical.

    Given the support in Congress for PHEV research, one can only imagine the tax credits that the feds or even states would offer for OEM plug-ins.

  31. 31
    OhmExcited Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    Plan B: take your $25,000 and put it in foreign currency now. By the time 2010 rolls around, the dollar will be worth about as much as a Peso, and you’ll have a fortune when you cash your Euros back.

  32. 32
    Nick Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:10 pm)

    It’s a disappointment, but two points: 1. new tech is always more expensive (cf. Lyle’s plasma example) and between the tax credits and gas savings, the price is nowhere near as high as it looks. You could easily save $1,000 per year on energy for this. Multiply that by ten years and add a $5k tax credit, you have a $25,000 car.

  33. 33
    Kyle Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:15 pm)

    I will be out as well but this is the nature of a new tech like this.

    There are a lot of unknowns. It really is like no other car during my lifetime. One must remember that for the most part car tech doesn’t really change that much. Its not like electronics. Partly due to the fact that reliability needs to be so high.

    I really wouldn’t bad mouth Lutz much. Of course he keeps changing the particulars because he is developing a new type of product and he is being open about the development process (that is very unusual). It is bound to happen.

    That said, I think to make the Volt a high volume car that number needs to be below 30,000 and getting there should still be a goal. It might just not be possible this time around but they will definitely be reducing the impact the vehicle will have on the market.

    What I am interested to know is how the accounting for this project works? Since much of the development costs are around developing a new type of drive train, battery testing and development, and developing all new electrical and mechanical systems to be more energy thrifty of course the total cost will be like no other product. But these are not costs that really should be placed solely on this new product. They represent development cost related for a very different kind of car. Subsequent e-flex vehicles will be taking advantage from these sunk costs. I hope they are not placing all the development costs on the Volt. They really should be considered development costs that should not be directly charged to the vehicle.

    If anybody knows about how GM does its accounting you could really shed some light on the Volt cost.

  34. 34
    Statik Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    Hey is there a ‘Unwait List’ feature? The Volt just went from a ‘game-changer’ to token car.

    The Volt and the Cobalt are pretty much the same car. They have almost identical footprints, they accelerate almost identically (0-60 in 8.5), they have almost exactly the same cubic feet of interior space.

    $13,000 for the Cobalt vs. $40,000 for the Volt, hmm.

    Lets put that in a how long would you have to drive your car to make it pay off.

    40 miles a day on electric = $1.20
    40 miles a day on gas (Cobalt=27MPG) = $4.50

    Savings per day, provided you actually drove the full capacity of the Volt exactly, EVERY DAY = $ 3.30

    $27,000 / $3.30 = 8181 days OR TWENTY-TWO YEARS!

    That is NOT factoring in increased insurance, initial taxes and AT LEAST TWO full battery replacements!

  35. 35
    Statik Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:32 pm)


    There is no way in heck the electric Prius comes out anywhere near $40K. Current pricing already has come down under 20K with the government rebate…I’d say the electric version is $28K TOPS.

    If 40K is true the game just ended in my opinion. GM had me going for awhile…just more of the same.

  36. 36
    Marty McFly
    Marty McFly Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:34 pm)

    I was counting on a $5,000 tax credit and $5,000 in fuel savings (over a five year period) to bring the cost of the VOLT down to a comparable $20,000 vehicle.

    Honestly, I really don’t want to buy a series powered Prius.

    Looks like we’ll need a V2 (Gen II) waiting list…

  37. 37
    Keith Rogers
    Keith Rogers Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:43 pm)

    40K is a steal for this car!

    For the negative posters that will not pay $10,000 more and talk trash about GM breaking promises… consider these costs:

    VOLT MSRP: only ~$40,000 in 2008 dollars
    EV1 MSRP: $43,995.00 in 1996 dollars.
    EV1 MSRP: $58,139 in 2007 dollars.

    Would you rather pay $58,139.01 for the small, frumpy, limited range EV1 OR would you rather pay $40,000.00 for a larger, sexy extended range Volt that will not leave you stranded when you leave town?

    I’ll pocket the $18,139 and drive my Volt any day. Keep my one the list, I’ll save until I have enough to buy one.



  38. 38
    Keith Rogers
    Keith Rogers Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (10:51 pm)

    Frankly, I like the novelty of this car. It’s way cool! I don’t mind paying more to stick up my middle finger to OPEC and help save the earth for my kids. My car is an expression. I always wished I could have bought an EV1 – this is the next best thing. Label me an Early Adapter – you got me!

  39. 39
    so not surprised
    so not surprised Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (11:05 pm)

    [quote comment="27926"]So, $40k, plus you have to lease the battery pack. Righto. Maybe I’ll buy two Priuses, insipid looking as they are.[/quote]

    Oh you know that will be the case, I’m sure they were dead set on leasing the battery from day 1 which would have excluded me at any price.

  40. 40
    Robert.V Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (11:09 pm)

    This is very disappointing! For 40k I can buy a 3/4ton truck and run it on biodiesel. For 40+ i could buy 2 prius. How about a BMW. Infact you can pick up almost any hybrid for that. I dont care how many equations you throw at it, saying under 30 then changing your tune to 40+ is crap. They sure know how to make themselves look like giant anus’s.

  41. 41
    Statik Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (11:14 pm)

    The EV1 was a showstopper. You were driving the cutting edge. You were like your own parade in one of those. Many of the EV1′s features were also ‘high-tech’ You can’t compare these two at all.

    You can inflation-o-matic all you like the EV1, but how about calculating the technological worth of going back in time 12 years to drive something you still can’t today?

    Incidently, the EV1 actually MAXED at $43,995, most where much less, if you were in a ‘Eco-friendly’ state, they were actually as low as $33,995.

    But wait you couldn’t buy it…lease price ranged from $299 to $575, with the average lease coming in at $375.

    I wonder if you will be able to lease the Volt near $299? I guess not.

    More importantly you got up to 150, yes ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY miles on a charge! Work out $299 a month then up to 150 miles a charge, all-electric vs gas in ‘TODAYS NUMBERS’

    Volt 110M@50MPG 40M EV = $1.20+$3.80= $5.00
    EV1 150EV = 18.7 KW = $2.24

    $2.75/day or $80 bucks cheaper a month. Plus, you could charge the EV up to 75 percent in 2 hours! (In Canda the EV1 would only cost $1.12 a fill!)

  42. 42
    Dave G
    Dave G Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (11:36 pm)

    [quote comment="27952"]Incidently, the EV1 actually MAXED at $43,995, most where much less, if you were in a ‘Eco-friendly’ state, they were actually as low as $33,995.[/quote]
    And I’ll bet they cost more than $40K for GM to build, so they were losing money on every car.

    Toyota also lost money on each Prius they sold for the first few years.

    If GM want’s the Volt to give their whole line a green halo, then people have to see a few of them on the road, otherwise it will look like a publicity stunt. If they price it at $40K, some people will buy them, but not enough to make it work. You need a car at $30K or under to get the halo.

    I think it would be better to give the design team an extra year or whatever to meet the cost target. In other words, a $30K version 1 Volt would come out sooner than a $30K version 2 Volt.

    I paid $22K cash for my last new car, and that included 7% sales tax, destination charges, registration, glass etching, the whole deal. For my next car, I could stretch that to around $30K for an E-REV, but I’m not prepared to double it to $40K. That’s a deal breaker. I don’t think I’m alone here.

  43. 43
    AES Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (11:49 pm)

    Even if I can’t afford the first gen Volt, I hope GM sticks with the program, because costs will surely come down.

  44. 44
    Drake Says


    Jan 16th, 2008 (11:54 pm)

    People, please calm yourselves and stop freaking out. There are two things that are going on here:

    1) GM discovered that the Volt will cost slightly more than the “promised” $30k so they are now priming the waters by saying $40 to make $32k or $33k not seem so bad.

    2) They are whoring out for more tax incentives from the government.

    Either of these options are standard tactics in business and neither of these tactics ultimately bothers me.

    I do support a bailout of the U.S. automotive industry. Toyota gets a bailout every year by having the Japanese government pay for 100% the healthcare costs for their Japanese workers. U.S. companies do not enjoy this luxury. A bailout would also help our economy as a whole in a very large way.

    What better way to bail out the U.S. automotive industry than through tax incentives that accomplish said bailout, but ALSO spur a revolution in automotive technology that will free us from OPEC and help stop global warming all in one fell swoop?

    I support GM and Bob Lutz in this endeavor. More power to you Bob.

    Consider something for a moment please (I know this post is long but just bare with me for a moment):

    What if the U.S. goverment provided a $20k tax credit for each Volt purchased resulting in the Volt costing no more that $20k each.

    Image a $20k Volt for a moment…

    About 8 million vehicles are sold each year in the U.S. Let’s say the Volt, after the tax credit, is enormously popular in 2010 and 10% of the cars purchased that year are Volts. The final cost of the tax credit would be $16 billion.

    [800,000 Volts] X [$20,000] = $16 billion

    What else would $16 billion buy? Well, let’s take a look…

    - 90 days on the Iraq war.

    - 1/4 the cost of the F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft program.

    - The cost of _one_ aircraft carrier over the life of the boat.

    With our trade deficit at $750 billion per year (much of it from imported oil) and our annual GDP at $13.06 trillion (with a T) this investment would be a drop in the bucket that would FREE us from oil once and for all.

    If you people aren’t willing to fight for this cause and baulk at the first signs of adversity (the Volt is still at least three years away from even coming out for shit’s sake) then you are all fucking selfish hypocrit tourists that never believed in it anyway.

    There is an election coming up. All is not lost. Your voice can be heard if you want it to be heard.

    Lyle I am sorry for the language


    2006 Trade deficit: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

    Passenger vehicles sold in the U.S.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States

    Cost of operation Iraqi freedom per day: http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-26-iraq-war-clock_x.htm

    Cost of Nimitz-class Aircraft Carrier: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimitz_class_aircraft_carrier

    U.S. GDP: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

  45. 45
    David L
    David L Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (12:07 am)

    I figure that Bob Lutz wants to “raise expectations” on the purchase price now – more than two and a half years before the car is released, rather than doing it closer to the end on 2010. If the purchase price were suddenly raised 6 months before the release, it would virtually guarantee it would fail in the marker place. Alternatively, having raised expectations, he can always lower the price closer to the release date – making the purchase price look more attractive (again).

    Unless you are actually talking to the engineers who are doing the designing and building, what you are going to hear from GM is carefully scripted marketing. ;-)

  46. 46
    Brian M
    Brian M Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (12:47 am)

    Drake – preach on brother!!!

    I think you have a good point about GM possibly fishing for a large tax incentive. Maybe they are thinking they can get a $10k tax credit written into law, and then sell the car for $35k, so the consumer cost is $25k.

    If that is the case, MOST people (besides the 0.1% of the population that is paying attention already) will never have known about this particular scandal of the moment.

  47. 47
    Stommps Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (12:53 am)

    I think $40k is still doable but all of sudden MPG now begins to be weighed against performance and luxury. At $30k I am willing to get performance and ride/luxury of a $20k car. At $40k it better perform better than my Speed3 and/or have a ride/luxury of something like a G35. If it doesnt I think it will be a very hard sell to most people.

  48. 48
    Don Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (12:53 am)

    There’s really only one thing going on here: the decision of whether to go for the volume market with a low margin product (or even one that loses a little in the first year or so as you build up volume) vs. getting the lower volume but higher margin early adopters first for a year or two and then ramping up production and lowering the price point but risking losing market leadership to other manufacturers.

    GM is now leaning towards trying to get the early adopters with their higher profit margin rather than risk a lower margin product that has the potential to be a game changer.

    Lutz may have meant what he originally said, and realized that it might mean a loss in the product line for a year or so as a cost to establish a longer term leadership position, but if so he has been over-ruled by his higher ups. A shame for the company if so.

    There will be an EV for me by 2011-12 (when I may be in the market) but at that price point it may be a Volvo, Subaru, or Toyota, or even a Miles or Tesla or Spark or one imported by Zap.

    The competition for the niche of early adopters willing to pay that high of a premium price will be soon crowded enough. The Volt has gotten its buzz by being a potential solution for the rest of us. Eliminate that as its mission and it becomes nothing but greenwash afterall.

    30K pushes the envelope for us masses and this car doesn’t speak luxury enough to those who regularly spend closer to 40K.

    A shame. And I bought GM stock too. What a waste.

  49. 49
    revolt Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (1:03 am)

    Now let’s be honest, who really believed the Volt would come in over $30K? I couldn’t believe it because I can imagine what it will take to design and manufacture this car. Massive retooling, designing myriad new hardware, and the jewel in the crown, the battery! I was looking at a Tesla until I heard about the Volt, actually touched a Tesla too. And I remember how hard my wife pinched me as I dreamed on.
    So, yes, I will pay $35K, but I’m going to expect even more of the car. It’s what I want. Most Volt first round buyers are not really going to be fazed at $40K but it will cool off a whole bunch of us.
    Here’s what I think. With the auto shows and all the hype at this moment Bob Lutz is smelling blood and a frenzy whipping up interest for this car. So GM will try to get whatever the market will bear.
    #34 Statik calculated 22 yrs return on investment, but he forgot that gas may be $4.50 by 2010, and in 22 years gas might cost $35 a gallon (if there is any left). Another thing is that because of the rising costs of everything all cars will cost more. I predict that 22 years from now those who buy a Volt will look back and say, “And to think I only paid $39K for the first car that began to revolutionize the car industry”?

  50. 50
    revolt Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (1:11 am)

    Oops, my first sentence should read:
    …who really believed the Volt would NOT come in at over $30K?

  51. 51
    Grizzly Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (1:28 am)

    I’m out. It was nice to be a part of this group, I really enjoyed it. Lyle the head count on your counter at this time is 9417.
    Please make that 9416.

    Thanks and it’s been great.

  52. 52
    Szyszek Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (1:32 am)

    Well, like others here, I am out too. Not because I don’t think the Volt is worth it, but because I just cannot afford a $40k car. Like most people I can afford a $25k car and “comfortably under $30k minus tax breaks” would make Volt a $25k car. There is no way that GM would sell 60k Volts for $40k ea, so I guess the strategy now is to make 5000 or so. So unless GM finds a way to sell the car under $30k, Japanese will get my money. Again. Honda Accord diesel or next gen Prius sound good. Or, by 2010, Chinese. I hate to do it but if Chinese can deliver a reasonable quality plug in for $20k, I will give them my hard earned money and drive past GM dealership. Again.

  53. 53
    Only FromJapan
    Only FromJapan Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:03 am)


    Save your breath, please. Only the market should work, not the government bail out. If GM/Ford/Chrysler all fail, let them be that way, because Toyota/Honda will provide the job here and people are happy. Don’t you know that for every Toyota position, there are 1400 people applying for it, even though not as well paid as they want, it is still a descent job at $12 per hour.
    I am wondering if GM Volt can ever come out, or GM will make it in Mexico? Tax payer will not want their money waste by Detroit Losers. BTW, Japanese government does not provide free healthcare, it is from TAX, and the Corporate tax rate is much higher in Japan. and toward December, Japanese company usually give bonus equivalent to 3-4 month pay. Does Detroit do that? Maybe one week before Xmas, either a coupon GM employee can distribute to anyone (in the world) to get employee discount, or GM distribute pink slip. :-)

    GM Volt is surely to fail based on all facts! You must accept Toyota is superior to Detroit!

  54. 54
    Jeff M
    Jeff M Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:04 am)

    For those comparing a possible $40k for the Volt price to what it cost GM to build each EV1…

    … absolutely comparing apples to oranges as the EV1 was never a production line car, each one was essentially hand built. Even if it cost GM $100k to build each EV1, that does not make the Volt a bargin if it was $50k…

    … the Volt is supposed to be a production assembly line car. Of which GM has told us they plan to build at least 60,000 units the 1st production year alone.
    Regarding tax credits… in theory they sound good… in reality they can be a sham. Look at the credit when it came to the Prius… just as the credit is phased out on it, Toyota announces new lower base price for the Prius. The auto makers take this into account when pricing their vehicles so the price is artificially higher than it needs to be
    This could be the death nail in GM’s coffin. Even if $40k bought a Volt that got 120 miles on a charge, and 75 mph afterwards, it just may plain price it out of reach of the mainstream American household.

    $40k could also be non-competitive with similiar offerings from other auto makers. American auto makers still have an image problem when it comes to quality, and $40k for a Chevy (Volt) vs. $40k for a Volvo, Nissan, Honda, etc… who would you pick? (there will always be those who have always bought American and will continue to do so but if there was that many of the faithful the big 3 wouldn’t be in as bad shape as they have been)

  55. 55
    Only FromJapan
    Only FromJapan Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:06 am)

    A shame. And I bought GM stock too. What a waste.[/quote]

    Better save your money to invest in Honda or Toyota.

  56. 56
    LyleL Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:20 am)

    This article and associated posted comments portrays a very dark picture for the Volt and GM. It lists Lutz’s claims and backtracking.


  57. 57
    Bill Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:26 am)

    I expect there will be even more significant tax credits or other incentives available for PHEVs of any description, and especially domestic ones, by late 2010.

    Also, I know many posters react strongly to get the attention of GM or others monitoring the blog, but I do worry some of the most outspoken reaction could lead GM to be less open about Volt development, which is, as far as I know, unprecedented in the auto industry (and any other industry I have ever worked in).

    Thank you.

  58. 58
    bruce g
    bruce g Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:49 am)

    I hope that while we are having a meltdown the engineers carry on.
    I believe there is a place for the Volt, even if it is rebadged as the Cadillac Escargot.
    ( I like the sound of that name)
    There will be lots of Chinese EV’s in peoples drives as the second car and that will probably be fine.

  59. 59
    bruce g
    bruce g Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (3:27 am)

    Excellent new format Lyle,
    The serach option will be invaluable as i am forgetting who said what..too much going on…

  60. 60
    Brian Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (5:09 am)

    [quote comment="27851"]And here comes all the complaints. Just remember, there are currently major government incentives for hybrids of several thousand dollars. I would think Volt should qualify for many of those as well, so even 40k may be more like 36k (or 35k may be like 31k, which is right where we started..).[/quote]

    Perhaps, but for the average joe/jane who sees the price as 20k for a prius and 35k for a volt, which is more likely to be purchased? I “might” be able to squeeze out 35k, but a nickel over that, not a chance. I wonder if that could work in favor of toyota.

  61. 61
    Mike G.
    Mike G. Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (5:29 am)

    I was shocked the volt would come out at about 30K when that was first announced. I figured it would be more like 50K considering you have such new tech. involved. Luckily I never planned on buying one. I need something to haul a boat and for hunting. But I track this website because the Volt is the wave of the future for the entire automobile market.

    That said does anyone else think (I wonder) that the huge interest the Volt is generating might have GM thinking “Hey, we can sell plenty at a higher price. Why take such a hit on the first generation?”

    Supply and demand baby!!!

  62. 62
    Jim I
    Jim I Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (7:36 am)

    Doesn’t anyone else here just think that upper management had Mr. Lutz toss that comment out to see what the reaction might be?

    With all the other statements he has been making lately, and then having them explained away or completely contradicted by others, I am starting to think that all of this is scripted to keep us fired up for the next three years….

    I look at it this way. We are told that the exterior and interior are barely at design freeze stage. So how can they have exact cost and sales numbers? Many of the major systems are still being designed, let alone be at a point where they can be put out for bid, so how can there be sales prices in place? And finally, there are only three battery packs in existance on the planet that we have been told about, with no large scale production plants ready to go, and yet an exact sales price for the complete car can be announced? I kind of doubt it.

    If they can do all that, then release the sales brochure with pricing for the car and all the options (I would have to assume it exists also!), so we can decide if this is worth the wait!

    People, we are being played with to see what price we will be willing to pay. And from the reaction here, the $40 number isn’t it.

    I am betting that in the next few days, we will see a retraction of the $40K sales number, with something like, “Mr. Lutz meant that number as a high end, fully loaded model. We expect to still be able to sell the Volt at around $30K, blah, blah, blah.”

    Everyone needs to calm down, or no one will be able to survive until the end of 2010!!!

    And what about all the people that wanted to “rush the dealerships with a deposit check”. Geez, this place sure turns end over pretty quickly!!!!

  63. 63
    David G
    David G Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (7:52 am)

    I think it is easy to see why it is happening, but it just seems too much like a bait and switch. I’ve been on both sides of the fence with project management, and it is hard to meet all of the original benchmarks any project has, but no question $40k puts the volt out of my price range.

    Too bad.

  64. 64
    Brian Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (7:57 am)

    “Would you rather pay $58,139.01 for the small, frumpy, limited range EV1 OR would you rather pay $40,000.00 for a larger, sexy extended range Volt that will not leave you stranded when you leave town?”

    What do you mean sexy? We don’t even know what the thing is going to look like yet. I’m not paying 40k bones for a commuter car, it just isn’t going to happen and if you have the bank roll to do it, more power to you.As for the rest of us, it is just not in the realm of possible and I’m not donating blood or selling sperm every weekend just so I can plug a car in that I plan on taking to work.

  65. 65
    Ed Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (7:57 am)

    There will be other pure electric vehicles out by the time the Volt makes it into production. For a small amount over 40k you could buy an all electric and a Prius as your second car. Everybody applauds GM for being so open. Open with information that is incorrect. Mr Klutz I meam Lutz is a joke. Do you see other executives of companies giving such incorrect information and then back tracking. If you don’t know keep your mouth shut. That’s why firms have PR departments handle press releases. The other automobile companies have to be laughing their ass off right now. Toyota having EGG on thier face. NOT. Toyota has a real product GM who knows. Who knows what’s the next thing they will back track on. I’m waiting for an affordable Hybrid, diesel, or electric. Who will it be. Definitely not the Volt at 40K. Toyota Prius and 15K for gas gets you pretty far.

    Did Lyle add a way to remove yourself from the wait list? How many people are looking to put down a deposit now?

  66. 66
    james Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (8:40 am)

    Well, unfortunately if it breaks the $30k barrier, I will have to take my name off the list.

    Has GM considered taking a loss on this vehicle in order to rev up production (and improve their image)? I thought that’s what Toyota did, and it worked. Now they are perceived as a total green company.

    Sometimes it seems that taking a loss on the car at first might payoff with intangibles such as goodwill toward your brand.

  67. 67
    Schmeltz Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (8:43 am)

    My 3 Cents….

    Soooo…..It looks like many of us now want to be removed from the waiting list? Friends, technology costs money. This is not news. Yes, Lutz said $30,000, and he should know a little better than to say that at this point in the game. Make no mistake that ANY new vehicle purchased in the next 10 years will begin to cost consdierably more than their predecessors since the Automakers are being required to hit this new CAFE reg. That means several thousand more per vehicle whether it’s a clean deisel, hybrid, REEV like the Volt, or what have you. Even the “traditional” I.C.E. vehicles will have to distribute technology and research costs amongst them in order to pay for the changes coming to the Auto industry. I’m all for more efficiency as are most of us here, but I’m telling you, there are no free rides out there. If you want the most fuel efficient vehicle on the road, you are going to pay for it. Some of you are going to say that Toyota can price their Prius in reach of most people, why can’t that be done with the Volt? Well, first, the Volt is a completely different vehicle architecture using state of the art, un-proven batteries, (and a lot of them). There is no economy of scale yet. Secondly, the Prius was sold at a loss for a few years, and Toyota is rich and can absorb a certain amount of loss on a vehicle if it affords them a green credential in the public eye, (which it did). GM is already taking a loss on the 2-mode Tahoe I’ve heard, to get sales moving on those. GM can’t afford to do that a whole lot, or there ship could sink. Third, Toyota is a lot more interested in selling Tundras, then Prii anyhow, look at the advertising disparity between the two. The profit on 200,000 Tundras can cover any losses incurred on the Prius or other hybrids.

    A lot of things can happen between now and 2010, let’s be patient and hope that they firstly can deliver a product that is reliable and durable, THEN work on getting the price down. Anyone remember the first cell phones? How about the first few years of the computer? Those new technologies were extremely expensive, and out of reach for most of the people. Now Elementary school kids have cell phones and computers probably bought at Wal-mart for Pete’s sake!

    On the bright side of this, someone suggested earlier that tax incentives could really be helpful in getting people into these cars, and I agree! If any vehicle out there is worthy, it would certainly be this one, I would think.

    Patience grasshoppers, Patience.

  68. 68
    Leon Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:01 am)

    25 was about my limit. Oh well.

    I’ll still keep an eye on it, as I would, say, the space program. It doesn’t really affect me anymore, but it is interesting (though it could affect me later as prices come down, maybe 2015 or 2016).

  69. 69
    Shawn Marshall
    Shawn Marshall Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:13 am)

    At $40k for a Volt, the door is wfo for Toyota to eat their lunch.

  70. 70
    banjoez Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:14 am)

    Well, this news really puts a damper on my excitement about this car. I am on the wait list but to be honest, I won’t pay over 30k for an electric Cobalt let alone 40k. This will make me look more towards a more affordable foreign hybrid or diesel for my next car. Toyota and Honda will now eat GM’s lunch at this price. A 10 to 20 thousand dollar premium can pay for a LOT of friggen fuel when you get 40 – 60 mpg from a regular hybrid or diesel. Sorry GM, I thought you really had something for the masses.

  71. 71
    Luke Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:14 am)

    A $40k price wouldn’t necessarily be a big problem for me. But, a $40k car had better feel like a luxury car inside — I’m talking talking heated leather seats with a simple/clean/classy design with enough electronic gizmos that makes me feel like I’m in a James Bond movie.

    For $30k, it can be a regular car family car. At this level a key/transponder setup similar to the one used in the Prius (where you can keep the key in your pocket and still start the vehicle) would be greatly appreciated.

    For $20k, it can have the seats out of a Lada and an AM Radio — just so long as it’s reliable and runs forever with just the scheduled maintenance.

    So, if the fundamentals (batteries, etc) drive the cost up, the amenities should scale accordingly so that my toyota/honda buying family-members understand why I paid $40k for a car that is just a Chevy. I’m not vain when I’m cheap, but we’re getting into luxury-car territory here with a $40k car.

  72. 72
    Luke Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:18 am)

    P.S. My comment above assumes that the range and mileage targets are met.

  73. 73
    Kel Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:43 am)

    Looks like the largest car company in the world found yet another way to drag their customers through the mud. This was going to be my first American car, forget it, I’m sticking with Japanese.

  74. 74
    Tim Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:46 am)

    Over $30K? I’m out too….

  75. 75
    Don Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:46 am)

    Bumbling the Volt, as GM seems intent to do, could hurt GM more than destroying all those EV1s.

    The next few years are critical for GM and to no small extent their future depends on changing the perception from dinosuar to cutting edge for the masses. Setting a pricepoint that was doable for a large portion of Americans and setting a production timetable that would beat the competition to the punch and establish GM as a leader in the field was a gutsy thing to do. Having to back down from all those goals just as the competition starts to get into the race as well (Ford is testing their PHEV Escape prototype and moving along on the Volvo Recharge, Toyota has announced a PHEV, Fisker for the high-end, various BEVs that will serve many early adopters quite well, etc.) is in and of itself a failure in that game of perception.

    GM may chase the profit of the early adopter with small volume runs the first year or so and make some money at it. They may even end up cutting price quickly as early adopters find sexier or greener cars for nearly the same price premium. But the opportunity cost for doing so will be big.

  76. 76
    Ben Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (10:36 am)

    I don’t want to bash GM, and I don’t want to make dire predictions about the other quoted numbers for the Volt changing for the worse as well.

    I don’t even want to predict whether I’ll be able to afford one at this price almost 3 years from now, but presumably they realize that this price increase will reduce the size of the target market for the car, not because of anything but necessity. People can only afford what they can afford (increasing nationwide debt levels notwithstanding). It is a shame, and it at least calls into question whether I myself will get one as planned. Again, not because I’m mad at GM or anything (as some – not all – commenters seem to be), but because of the simple facts of my situation.

  77. 77
    Van Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (10:48 am)

    The question we must ask ourselves is how much will the PHEV Prius cost? Assuming the next generation Prius, with a 7 mile AER comes out in the spring of 2009 with a MSRP of about $24,000, how much would it drive up the price to add 8 KWH’s of usable battery storage. At $750 per KWH, only $6,000. So I expect the PHEV Prius will retail for around $30,000. If the Volt costs $36,000 or more, game over.

  78. 78
    Ray Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:02 am)

    In case you are unaware… GM has already developed different systems for cars (heating, air conditioning, accessorys etc) that run on different voltages than the current 12 volt.. It’s been around for years.. It’s pretty straight forward here that GM plans to recoup most of their costs on the first “generation VOLT” but you must KNOW that the BULK Of the technologies had already been done through their research and devlopment since the EV1 came out and it is just a matter of refining it to the current applications.. $40 K… in 2010,,,as mentioned above… at that price… there should not be any extra options available for the car…It would have to come STANDARD with ALL THE BELLS & WHISTLES.. I would still look at a VOLT for $40 K but to buy it,… I don’t think so… Incentives, cash back.. 0 % financing…..it would have to be a really sweet deal to make the sale with me.

  79. 79
    Neutron Flux
    Neutron Flux Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:04 am)

    I originally priced the Volt based on 1) Cost of a Prius 2) enhanced electric motors (Prius already has some) + 3) increased battery cost (Prius also comes with batteries that are not cheap). There was an article I read that said for about $7,000.00 in batteries someone had converted a Prius to run 40 + miles all electric at higher speeds as well. Without taking into consideration software & “new AC/entertainment” developement. The nuts & bolts cost to sell should have been under 30K with a Prius hardware as comparison, not to mention , the series hybrid is supposedly simpler. As previously mentioned GM is not really spending money on battery developement, the only real new tech in the car. That is being funded by government grants & R&D from companies making them. Other than re-testing the batteries for QA, GM really has no cost in the battery developement. So why 40K to be an integrator of mostly existing tech? Nano Solar can make thin film solar cell panels that bend & are rigorous with 25 year warranty & under $1.00/W. We have knocked the solar idea in the past due to old concepts of heavy, costly glass panels. Those are now all obsolete. They could integrate this new tech into the body panels /roof & cover the added entertainment load & subsidize environmental without much cost in developement. So when comparing to Prius one must ask : How much am I going to save in comparative maintenance/service cost. The gas savings only pays for the added battery /electric motor cost. Anything beyond that is profit indicating GM really does not care about market share. Sounds like they need to clean house and get rid of excess overhead so they can produce a car people can afford. I have not written off the Volt yet but I too will not pay OTD more than 30K with rebates factored in. I cannot spend that much green with GM just to say I am green, if GM wants to change its name to Green Motors, it better deliver OTD under 30K or it will be Gone Motors. Battery production will not need to be ramped up until beginning / mid 2010 to provide in time for MFG delivery in 2011. A lot can change in cost & MFG techniques between now & then as well as GM reorganizing to cut the fat. Anyone not directly contributing toward the new product line or something currently making money at GM is excess baggage. I am not going to pay $10,000. for some rock bands & high end models to strut around a car at some exclusive preview for a car that does not yet exist. They better re-analyze their marketing cost because I am not going to pay for it. Perhaps we need to modify the bumper sticker, My Next car will be electric & under $30,000 OTD! Drop the Volt line and start a new wait list & have them come to us with a product.
    Thats my $.02

  80. 80
    kert Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:19 am)

    [quote comment="28020"]The question we must ask ourselves is how much will the PHEV Prius cost? [/quote]
    No, the question you should be asking is “Are there other car companies besides GM and Toyota?” and the answer is yes.

  81. 81
    Dave G
    Dave G Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:21 am)

    Bob Lutz said:
    [quote] You’d like to have it at about $30,000 for the customer, but what I’m hearing from the team is we’re not going to get there. They say we might get there on the second generation, and they say if they had a lot more time they might be able to cost-optimize it. I don’t want to wait for cost optimization. I’d rather come out in 2010, and if it costs closer to 40 than 30, well, that’s too bad. [/quote]
    I say we give the team the time to get it down to $30K on version 1. I think that would be less of a wait than version 2.

  82. 82
    Kel Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:26 am)

    Thinking about it differently, I could see celebrities and rich treehuggers forking out $40K for this car as more as a status symbol, as for the rest of us who thought we could save some money on gas while helping a greater cause, we’ll just have to stick to our economy cars for now. Also, higher price, less customers, less risk of losing big bucks on a massive recall. It may actually be a smarter, less riskier move for GM. I’m not so upset now, but I won’t be buying one within the next 10 years.

  83. 83
    Tom M San Antonio
    Tom M San Antonio Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:41 am)

    Here is something that may be of interest to Ya’ll.
    Go to http://www.energyandcapital.com, then go to the left of the page ,enter your e-mail address and they will send you FREE. . . (The Truth About Oil) when they e-mail you back follow the lines for the PDF file and read.
    Very interesting as to what is coming down the pike.

  84. 84
    Jon P.
    Jon P. Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:48 am)

    I’m on the fence about this 40K is alot of money for a car, but the way the dollar is going that might not be so bad by 2010.

    I keep hearing people say we have to pay for all the engineering that has to go into this.

    Am i the only one here that thinks this is GM’s last real shot at maintaining their dominance in the auto industry. Am i the only one that thinks if this car dosen’t come out as planned and convinces Americans that detroit is back on their side and not with Big Oil anymore that it’s over for them.

    If in the end this car cost $42K, only gets 20miles electric, and dosen’t hit the street till 2011. Then post #26 probably won’t be to far-fetched. I mean honestly is it a crazy thought right now?

  85. 85
    Gary Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (11:57 am)

    Want to see something really funny? Take a look at the first ad below the original article up above. “Chevy Volt, Cheap Prices and Massive Selection”…. This is hilarious on so many levels.

  86. 86
    Michael Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (12:20 pm)

    The US dollar has suffered a 40%+ currency depreciation recently, manufactured components have worldwide demand at worldwide prices. While the Volt will be more expensive so will other vehicles as prices rise on global goods due to a weak currency. By then the 2010 Prius may well cost USD$30,000 or more.

  87. 87
    Jeff M
    Jeff M Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (12:42 pm)

    [quote comment="28008"]Make no mistake that ANY new vehicle purchased in the next 10 years will begin to cost consdierably more than their predecessors since the Automakers are being required to hit this new CAFE reg. That means several thousand more per vehicle whether it’s a clean deisel, hybrid, REEV like the Volt, or what have you.[/quote]
    This is big auto propaganda. 35mpg is a joke when these same auto companies are easily beating that to meet mpg requirements in most every other country, and not costing those consumers more. Bring those same vehicles (rebranded under their American’s cousins names).

    Let’s also remind folks once again of vehicles like GM’s Geo Metro… 50mpg 20 years ago with a gasoline engine and could seat 5. Even my 1987 Nissan Sentra with a 1.6L gasoline carburated reliably got 35mph highway for the 12 years I owned it, and I have a lead foot so a more conservative driver could have got more.

    The real problem is that the automakers (including Toyota) want to sell BIG vehicles because the profit margins are so much higher. And you can’t blame them, companies, especially publicly traded ones, have an obligation to be profitable. And they’ve done a great job of marketing (not hard given our “bigger is better” mentality when it comes to anything including the size of our own bodies) them. When I first bought that 1987 Sentra sedans and wagons were the norm, some had vans, but trucks were bought/used by those that really needed them like contractors.

  88. 88
    wow Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (1:11 pm)

    $40K sounds reasonable to me.

  89. 89
    George K
    George K Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (1:49 pm)

    Big Oops…

    Me thinks GM has been too open on their development plans.

    Thanks for the link, Lyle.

    That article about Lutz was written with a distinct negative bias. As I was reading, I found myself saying to myself, “that’s because they have been so open on the development cycle.”

    On the other hand, Toyota, who they praised, news is, a Plug-in something, will be delivered to some commercial customers, by 2010. No price, month, or other details were suggested. So, perhaps by Nov. 2010, the Volt will see some competition?. That will most likely effect the price.

    I, for one, am not ready to throw in the towel As has been suggested, 1) GM still has not set a price for the Volt, and 2) we don’t know what congress will provide re credits (but they better pony-up bigtime).

    I agree that it’s healthy for GM to see this reaction. That said, I would suggest another path:
    Elections are coming this year. I, for one, plan to write e-mails , letters, and visit my congressman (every congressmen is up for election), and tell him why the Volt is good for the country. And if he doesn’t agree with that, and won’t push for big credits, he’s not getting my vote, or my neighbor’s votes (and I don’t even like the other guy).

  90. 90
    Kevin R
    Kevin R Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (2:40 pm)

    Incentives or not, $40,000 for a car that isn’t wrapped in total luxury with every bell and whistle is too expensive to create a paradigm shift with the middle class. The Japanese have sold their products for a loss just to acquire market share. Once they did that in any particular sector, they raised the prices to begin making a profit. They did it with earth moving equipment, they did it with televisions, VCR’s, cars, steel…the list goes on and on.

    I’m saving like crazy for this car and it’s not easy in these economic times. It’s going to take me a couple years to have close to $25k for it. I don’t want to go into debt for a car….folks we’re talking about a CAR…a piece of transportation that depreciates with age. I want a Volt, but I have a feeling that there is a certain amount of greed building in the towers at GM. They see all of this attention. All of us, anxious to buy one and help GM out. But I’ll be damned if they’re going to gouge my eyes out as an early adopter.

    Apple did that to their Iphone customers and it bit them in the butt! Now Apple customers are wary of anything new or being the first because they’ll get taken. It created a lot of bad feelings and they got a lot of negative press on it and continue to.

  91. 91
    kert Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    [quote]I could see celebrities and rich treehuggers forking out $40K for this car as more as a status symbol,[/quote]
    In 2011 ?? Any celebrity and rich treehugger will very likely be driving a pure EV by that time.

  92. 92
    hermie Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (4:36 pm)

    If this were going to be a $40,000, 100% Amereican made product, I might still consider it. Since that is highly unlikely GM, had better cut back on the idea of recreating every aspect of this wheel. I continue to hear more examples of components that are being designed from scratch for this vehicle. STOP!!! Use “off the shelf” components wherever possible. The goal of this project has to be to get an affordable vehicle of e-flex characteristics out and and in mass circulation. An enormous list of improvements can come about in the successive generations or as options but the first has to be cost effective.

  93. 93
    DG Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (4:46 pm)

    I’m going to keep obscenities to my self but you people are a bunch of pessimists. 2 years is a lifetime when it comes to technology. For all we know the batteries could cost half of what they do now by then.

  94. 94
    wow Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (5:26 pm)

    It’s just $40k for the intitial roll-out. If allot of the complainers here were in charge we would never have had flat panel TV’s, computers, etc…

    Let the richies buy it for a few years and price will drop. If you expect the first plug-in vehicle that comes out to start out at $25K you are crazy and don’t understand the reality and economics of the task. On the other hand, GM was stupid to ever say they would meet that price point. Shot themselves in the foot.

    Another mistake they are making is trying to sell to the general public first. I would try to sell to delivery fleets, taxis, or any business that drives short distances constantly, where fuel price affects their profit.

    If GM does want to sell to the general public, it’s pretty clear here that price is more important than electric range. I would recommend they cut the battery size in half to get the price down. But then you would not only lose range but also power… This is quite a pickle GM has gotten themselves into…

  95. 95
    Jeff M
    Jeff M Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (5:42 pm)

    I also get a kick out of folks who think GM has invented the electric car with the Volt and all the technology is new. The biggest technological advance going into the Volt is a large format Li-Ion battery pack (the Cobasys NiMH would have probably been more than sufficient had GM not sold the patent to Chevron).

    Remember that electric cars pre-date the internal combustion engine (ICE), having been the most popular cars 100 years ago, some with 40 mile range on a charge! Even after the ICE, EV’s were still popular with the ladies as you didn’t have to turn a crank to start them, they were very clean compared to a dirty and noisy and unreliable ICE.

    Even a “range extended” EV is not new for GM… they had a prototype in the late 1990′s using a flex fuel turbine engine powering the generator. See http://www.evworld.com/archives/testdrives/gmshev.html

    Note that automakers have already started using equipment under the hood that didn’t use power from either a vaccum or off the accessory belt because simpler electrically powered components are more reliable, and in some cases less expensive up front. Heat and A/C are the biggest challenges because it needs to be done efficiently so as to not substantially reduce range by consuming too much of the battery’s charge.

  96. 96
    Jason Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    At that price, I’ll be looking for a competitors product.

  97. 97
    Jeff M
    Jeff M Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (9:16 pm)

    I was wondering why this thread turned dead… for some reason Lyle decided to create another thread on this same topic so I recommend posting there… http://www.gm-volt.com/2008/01/17/the-price-of-the-volt/

  98. 98
    Robert.V Says


    Jan 17th, 2008 (10:32 pm)

    That may be but a few more posts and this will make it on the main page list of the most commented articles!

  99. 99
    Ray Iannuzzelli
    Ray Iannuzzelli Says


    Jan 18th, 2008 (9:15 am)

    As far as early adopters paying more than follow-up generations. I do not think this was Toyota’s strategy when they introduced the first or current Prius hybrids.

    Toyota actually absorbed some of those introductions costs to make the Prius attractive to buyers.

    Can GM afford to do the same? Sure! Will they? I doubt it, especially with the bottom-line orientation of US car makers.

  100. 100
    Lon Says


    Jan 18th, 2008 (9:39 am)

    This is certainly disappointing from a cost standpoint but also understandable given the technology that GM is having to invent for this project.

    I for one plan on buying one regardless but as far as making it more ‘adoptable’ it’ll be tough at that price point. But quite frankly it really doesn’t matter.

    We know that the production levels will be rather low in the beginning and it doesn’t serve GM well to have supply issues early on if they want to make this thing a success. Nobody’s going to want to be on a five year waiting list.

    And if the Tesla roadster is any indication, the market for this car is there and I am sure they will sell every one of the first batches at the 35-40k price tag.

    Get ‘em on the road (the best advertising there is) and I bet a 30k (or less) model can hit the market shortly thereafter.

  101. 101
    Canuck Says


    Jan 18th, 2008 (1:56 pm)

    Well they stated all along that they will provide a lease option for battery pack in order to reduce the cost to a more reasonable level. In fact, they clearly stated concern about battery pack cost. So why is everyone so surprise now????

    Also people here stubbornly refuse to compromise: it has to be affordable, all eclectric, fast, good looking, etc. In fact you were laughing at Prius being “ugly”. Well guess what folks. You cannot have it all.

    If you don’t make any compromises then you get a high price tag. If you want a lower price tag then compromise. Maybe it doesn’t have to look super cool.

    In any case, they’ll need a few years to obtain optimal production and lower costs, so the price should come down over time. This is just a price premium for being there 1st, getting the 1st cars off the production line.

  102. 102
    Wise Golden
    Wise Golden Says


    Jan 18th, 2008 (2:53 pm)

    It will have a lot of engineering expense that will be spread over a small number of vehicles. At 40K I’m still in, but I want it to feel and look like a $40k car. I drive a Cadillac now that was about $45k, so I’d like to see it remarketed as a Cadillac instead of a Chevy. People will feel a lot better spending 40 K for the Cadillac name. Keep in mind though, at 40K it’s not even close to being the most expensive Chevy. Some of the trucks and SUV’s are in the 50’s

    I think they should introduce it as a Buick Electra, or a Cadillac ACDc. That’s my $0.02. Free advise for GM.

  103. 103
    Ken White
    Ken White Says


    Jan 18th, 2008 (4:48 pm)

    Make it a Cadillac and Make it look close (say a baby) CTS. And I’m still in.

  104. 104
    RB Says


    Jan 19th, 2008 (4:50 pm)

    I wonder if the important information being fed up from engineering has more to do with potential numbers of cars that can be produced in 2010 than anything having to do with cost. There are limits in the number of vehicles that can be produced in the first year or two, so it is reasonable for GM to raise the price enough to limit demand to about that number.

    From a consumer side and from GM’s side also, it is better to have some availability at a somewhat higher price than to have a mad scramble with a lot of payoffs to dealers and hard feelings.

    GM may decide in some future year to produce (or stop producing) the Volt based on its cost of production, but you can be sure that in its first few years the price will be set at a level that reflects the number than GM can (or want to) manufacture. What Lutz is telling us now is that projected demand is higher than projected supply, at the original price, so they are raising the price some to get back closer to equilibrium.

  105. 105
    Guy Incognito
    Guy Incognito Says


    Jan 19th, 2008 (8:09 pm)

    Check out the new look for this site.

  106. 106
    Carl Says


    Jan 19th, 2008 (8:44 pm)

    Should the Volt perform as advertised, it will pave the way towards a new era of driving, and if is $30k, fine. If it is $35k, fine. Money savings are never the point on these revolutionary vehicles. Allowing us to use flexible energy sources to drive means less dependance on geopolitically unstable oil. Solar PV is coming on, and now that the anti-nuke kooks have pretty much turned gray and gone passive, the alternatives for generating electricity are getting more attractive. But don’t forget that the margins on the power grid are already stretched – we’ll need new infrastructure to support all that new current draw.

    $100 oil today with $3 gas is only because the oil companies have taken lower margins, but can’t do this forever. Gas will be $4.50 when the Volt is for sale, and that makes it all that much more attractive.

  107. 107
    Donan Says


    Jan 20th, 2008 (9:23 am)

    It seems we lost a number of posts in this discussion Lyle. Do you what may have happened? Thanks.

  108. 108
    Nothing is free - Adam
    Nothing is free - Adam Says


    Jan 24th, 2008 (4:36 am)

    I am for the Volt (or any EV) however there are 2 things that still bothering me, maybe I am wrong but.. the numbers show otherwise:

    1. I bought a Mazda6 in 06 for $16200 from a dealer w/0 miles. Quick, looks good, spec rims, spoiler etc. ended up in $17200. I pay 1100-1300 for gas/yr. 40K for a volt minus the cost of an M6 is $22800. Even w/higher gas prices and w/maintenance (don’t think the Volt won’t have, just think about batteries to swap at every XK miles) the 22.8K pays for at least 12-14 yrs worth of gas. So what did I save? The planet? I am for it however my salary isn’t. How many of you here is willing to pay 40K if you would know you will save $0.00 dollars??

    2. Anyone who lives in this Country over 5yrs old should know that we are addicted to oil more than any other place. Big distances(not just the ppl’s fault), trucks, SUVs for those who never put anything in the back, or traveled w/more than 1 passenger :) ..etc.
    Oil became the biggest business and just like a drug needs dealers to distribute to the users. You got to be extremely naive to think carmakers don’t get a little here and there under the table for helping the Big Oil to sell more “product”. I know someone who worked for a big carmaker and as an engineer saw things.. he said “don’t kid yourself, we had better/more efficient carburetors 30yrs ago.. but that was not the big companies interest..” so you cannot really think that the same ppl will let you have an electric car now w/no maintenance, no oil changes.. etc.. Even if they would build it they will require battery changes, even though they could put better ones in and will make us pay double for the losses. This whole thing has nothing to do w/ technology.. the batteries are there, check youtube and other video sites for electric cars. See the movie “Who killed the EV”. If you saw it you remember what happened to the man – and to his business – who had the better battery technology in the late 90s! This is nothing but politics. Corrupt people rather watching a country going down as long as they can fill their pockets.. Loosing to a tiny country like Japan at home with names as Chevy/Ford is a SHAME! But our own countrymen(CEO’s, management) let it happen. Why?
    Volt is a carrot hanging over the donkey’s nose.. it’s a commercial.. in the main time they redesign some old vehicle (Malibu looks pretty nice actually) and will sell them to those who cannot wait..
    I think the answer at least for the present is and very near future is this: plug-in hybrid, and in 2yrs either Prius will come out or smaller places will specialize for cheap makeovers like they do in EU w/nat.gas.

  109. 109
    Kevin R
    Kevin R Says


    Jan 24th, 2008 (7:48 am)

    Adam (#108) you touch on many things that smack of corporate and individual greed. Another movie every American should see is the documentary “Why We Fight”. It shows in glaring detail, President Eisenhower’s warning about the growth and unchecked power of the military-industrial complex. That this growth, unchecked (as it has been) feeds upon itself to keep the factories going and to line CEO’s pockets. What’s so disturbing about all of this is the fact that it is very similar to what happened with the Roman Empire. Greed, politics, Senators voting not for the good of the country but for themselves and their friends. Sound familiar? Indeed.

    My sincere hope is that those in charge at GM for making the Volt realize that other car manufacturers are right on their heels coming out with electric and alternative energy vehicles. Those foreign manufacturers aren’t beholden to the same big oil folks that our domestic automakers found themselves in bed with. I hope our current leaders at GM are prying themselves away from the old paradigm and see the writing on the wall, that change is wanted and that customers will buy from whoever comes out with it first. The Prius is the prime example here.

    I will so support GM and push every person I know to buy a Volt that it will become to GM what the Prius is for Toyota if they turn away from an oil based economy.

  110. 110
    Bob Lutz: First-gen Volt might cost $40,000 » Hybrid News
    Bob Lutz: First-gen Volt might cost $40,000 » Hybrid News Says


    Jan 26th, 2008 (12:23 pm)

    [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments [...]

  111. [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments [...]

  112. 112
    Nothing is free - Adam
    Nothing is free - Adam Says


    Jan 26th, 2008 (8:39 pm)

    Another thing worth a sec. thinking:
    Prius/Civic are pretty much the best selling more efficient hybrids. They run about 40-50mpg.
    10 yrs ago I lived in Europe.
    There were cars w/ gas engines doing this kind of mpgs in that time. It’s nothing special for ppl there. Too bad those cars couldn’t make it over here? Why can’t we buy Fiat/Alfa/Renault/Peugeot/Citroen just to mention a few? How much money could you save w/those cars in 10yrs.. Look up this: Fiat Bravo has 32city/50hwy/41mixed mpg, Fiat Punto has 37/57/47mpg.. even the Ford cars look better over there, somehow they design them nicer w/ better features and we got the old stuff.. see mondeo and 5hundred .. http://www.fiat.co.uk/showroom/?id=3546#showroom/bravo
    Plus the cool features.. it reads you your text messages :) oh and 5yrs unlimited miles warranty!
    and finally: http://www.peugeot.com/en/innovation/engines/hybridhdi-engine.aspx
    The 308 even w/ the gas engine has better mpg than some hybrids and as a diesel/hybrid version it goes over 66MPG!
    What’s my point? No point. I just wanted to shine some light on the situation over there for those who think the 35-33 nissan alt hybrid is such a miracle or the civic (40-45) or the prius (45-48) for that matter… These smaller cars should dominate the cities and trucks should be special licensed for those who actually use them, but our greed and stupidity just helps the car companies.. as long as we think the bigger is better they will give us bigger and bigger trucks so we can drive in it with max 1 passenger and can spend more on gas which has a pretty nice amount of tax on it to make everyone (car co/oil co/govmtn) happy :) Well, actually there is a point after all.. we need to learn and be more careful what we buy.

  113. 113
    John Says


    Feb 4th, 2008 (10:30 pm)

    40K prices me out, but I may stretch for as much as 30k to know a couple of things:
    1. I am not supporting terrorists.
    2. Owning one is like having an insurance policy of sorts; when gas prices go up (which you all know they will), your transportation costs are not affected that much. This would provide me with some ease of mind.
    3. I am supporting GM. I prefer my money go to American car manufacturers than foreign manufacturers.
    4. I LOVE the idea of rarely/never going to the gas station. I find it most unpleasant. I LOVE the idea of parking my car in the garage and plugging it in each evening.

    If this car works as advertised, it may be a car I keep for a while.

  114. 114
    worldwide travel insurance
    worldwide travel insurance Says


    Feb 19th, 2008 (3:14 am)

    worldwide travel insurance…

    I do think your right on the spot here, i am going to bookmark your site to see if other people have different views….

  115. 115
    Jeff M
    Jeff M Says


    Feb 23rd, 2008 (4:23 pm)

    Another series electric hybrid (aka “range extended” EV) may beat the Volt to the market…. see


    however it won’t be in the US market but the Swiss market, out by 2009, but for commercial fleets. 60 mile battery range on a charge before the genset. No pricing info however.

  116. 116
    no charge paid survey sites
    no charge paid survey sites Says


    May 27th, 2008 (11:22 pm)

    no charge paid survey sites…

    Your blog makes for very interesting reading. I’m sure others will think so too I look forward to reading their comments……

  117. 117
    Kathryn Bullington
    Kathryn Bullington Says


    Jul 10th, 2008 (10:55 am)

    I think the government should take away all gov’t subsidies to the oil industry and switch those subsidies to the american people. Americans have been demanding renewable energy for 40 years and all the smart americans got was the evil eye. Well look who was right! Now, it is the governments failed policy that got us into this situation. The responsible thing to do to protect the American people and ensure a healthy economy is to subsidize gas for us now, while investing in renewable infrastructure transition. What the?

  118. 118
    Kid Says


    Aug 15th, 2008 (2:25 pm)

    40k is rediculously overpriced for a struggling America…not to mention the electric bill of having to charge it every day. What we really need is a REASONABLY priced AMERICAN MADE electric vehicle with excellent warranty coverages. Enough of making big businesses and politicians wealthy, time for stand up for the people. We make this country, and as said above, our stupidity makes them rich while we all struggle to get through the mud on the bottom of their shoes.