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2014 Chevrolet Volt $5,000 price drop reflects what buyers are already paying

2014 Chevrolet Volt $5,000 price drop reflects what buyers are already paying

Chevrolet has shaved $5,000 off the retail price of the Volt extended-range electric car for the 2014 model year. The carmaker says the reduction comes with no corresponding cuts in standard equipment, and in fact, it has added a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

A new Volt can soon be yours for $34,995, including an $810 destination charge. Chevrolet says that when federal tax credits are factored in, the out-the-door price could be as low as $27,495.

One reason for the reduced price is to make the Volt pop up at a more competitive price when buyers compare fuel-efficient vehicles using online shopping services. That may not be a bad strategy, especially since a quick look at Consumer Reports’ Build & Buy program showed that the estimated subscriber price for a 2013 Volt in our area is $33,712—a whopping $6,283 off the $39,995 suggested retail price. This reduction appears to be moving the window sticker closer to transaction prices.

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Even though the Volt packs impressive technology with a 35-mile range on electric power alone and the energy equivalent of 99 mpg in our testing, the Volt has never been a huge success with buyers. The $40,000 price tag may have been a factor, among other limitations. It can only seat four, and visibility is constricted. But it does have unique appeal with ground-breaking technology that  addresses range anxiety concerns by allowing more than 300 miles of travel without fear of being stranded, thanks to a gasoline engine available to provide power once the batteries have been depleted.

Buyers willing to put up with its initial cost and other shortcomings have generally been happy with their Volts. It leads all other models in our annual owner satisfaction survey with 92 percent of owners saying they’d get another one. And according to Chevrolet, Volt owners have racked up more than 364 million miles since the car’s introduction in 2010, with 225 million of those on electric power.

So, even though the new price may not be a reduction as much as a reflection of actual transaction prices, at least now you won’t have to negotiate in order to get it. And you’ll get a nicer steering wheel.

Jim Travers

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