Effective today, GM is allowing its Chevrolet dealers around the country to discretionarily sell their Volt demos, thus more than doubling the company’s inventory of Volts available for sale
In a phone interview today, GM Spokesman Rob Peterson said GM’s decision is in response to strong customer demand and it is an attempt to put more people in Volts sooner who are already waiting to get one.
“Our exit surveys at dealerships indicate that the number-one reason for serious intenders of the Chevrolet Volt to not purchase the vehicle is availability,” Peterson said. “As of Nov. 1 we had about 1,800 vehicles on the ground and 2,300 dealer demos.”
Here’s a 2012 for sale in Concord, N.C.
There are around 2,600 Chevrolet dealers participating in the Volt program. If there was any doubt as to the Volt’s supply to demand ratio, this is the latest word from the source: 1,800 Volts have been thinly spread among these dealers, and GM wants more availability now.
“What we’ve started to do is actually allow the dealers to put their dealer demos into inventory, so if they want to sell – they don’t have to sell – if they want to sell they can sell their dealer demo,” Peterson said. “By taking this maneuver and allowing them if they choose to sell them, this basically allows us to go from 1,800 units in 2,300 dealerships to 4,100 in inventory.”
He said the stop-gap measure will ameliorate a supply constraint now being felt by Volt buyers who may be second or third in line, or otherwise being told they will have to wait.
Despite naysayers, this latest move is an indicator that supply is limited in some regions – and we will add – it will also help GM meet its dash to the calendar year finish line. The company has said all year it intends to deliver 10,000 Volts in North America by year’s end.
As of the end of October, GM had delivered 5,003 Volts, and its allocation process has yet to be fine-tuned. If it is to hit the target, GM needs to sell another 4,997 in November and December alone. Peterson has effectively said GM is not sweating it, but it is certain that freeing up more Volts can only help it achieve the goal.
This said, the decision whether or not to sell a Volt demo will be up to individual franchises.
If a dealer chooses not to sell its demo because it feels it is a better business decision to keep it and be able to show it, that is out of GM’s control.
Peterson gave no indication whether GM is encouraging its dealers to sell, and said it was strictly voluntary.
So, would it be a good decision? For GM’s dealers to give up their demos would also mean some effect on their general marketing plan, which includes nationwide roll-out by year’s end.
Peterson said demos sold would be replaced, but was not definitive as to how long the time lag would be if a dealer figured that a proverbial bird in the hand was worth two in the bush.
“That’s yet to be determined,” Peterson said of the time between a dealer selling off its only Volt and getting a replacement, “but you’d imagine that as soon as we can get production up to fulfill the nationwide roll-out and get at least a unit to every single dealer that’s available for sale, then we’ll put the dealer demo back into place.”
Peterson made sure to clarify the dealer demo program is not being canceled, and GM still views it as a value for its dealerships’ efforts.
“We’re not moving away from the dealer demo program,” he said, “we still believe its extremely important for the educational process for the vehicle.”
All Volt demos have Volt graphics, which Peterson said would ordinarily be removed – unless, perhaps, if someone wants to do some extra unpaid advertising, and leave the decals on.
As for demo pricing, as has been covered before, this decision is also left up to the dealer.
“We’re steadfast in communicating to our dealers that they should be selling the Volt at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price,” Peterson said. “You know, they’re independent franchises and that gives them the flexibility to do what they need to do.”
It has been an interesting ride all along, but the next couple of months will have a lot of eyes on Chevrolet to see how it finishes up the Volt’s first calendar year.
Critics will observe what they will, but in pulling out the stops and willingly sacrificing its demos, GM is indicating it really has had supply constraints, just as it has said all along.
This entry was posted on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 2:15 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.