A friend of mine claimed to me that for GM vehicles, the cost to produce the next unit of a given model is 1/6 of the sticker price. Put simply, if a Chevy costs $36,000 MSRP, if GM wants to build another identical one, the cost per unit off the line is $6000. This factor doesn't include R&D to create the given model, profit, warranty, distribution, etc, it's merely parts+ materials+labor to produce. I thought long and hard about this, and it seems like he might be right. If you've ever watched a car assembly line, these guys move fast. Also, GM buys everything in bulk. Paint is by the vat, steel by the train car (or shipload sometimes) and tires by the shipping container.
That being said, can GM build a Chevy Volt for $7000? Can they even get close? Or better yet, can Toyota build a Prius for $4000? Toyota originally stated that their R&D costs were immense for GEN1 Prius, and they built them for far longer than they wanted to in order to break even. For Gen2 Prius, small tweaks from the old one were all that was needed, and the profit started coming in.
So. What's the raw cost for a Volt? Will it ever get down to 1/6? Or is this number bunk?