The Chevy Bolt is a Paradox to Dealers

Available in just seven states so far, some dealers are already offering deep discounts on the Chevy Bolt, while others are marking up prices in order to take advantage of early exuberance for GM’s latest battery electric vehicle.

The pricing disparity isn’t even happening across state lines, dealers separated by mere miles are attempting to undercut one another–in SoCal price differences of nearly $5,000 have been observed within a 5 mile radius.–as they battle for a small pool of early adopters.

One dealership 100 miles outside of San Francisco is pushing discounts of up to $3,000 on Bolts this month.

“We’ve been really aggressive in getting it out there and getting people’s attention,” Marty Greenwood, managing partner of Greenwood Chevrolet in Hollister, California told Automotive News. “We’re here to sell cars, and we’re in a smaller town, so we need to be a little bit more aggressive,” Greenwood added. “We just watch the market and what’s going on out there. What is the magic number to move the vehicle?”

This is an ongoing theme across California, with dealers statewide offering at least $2,000 off the 238-mile EV which in combination with $10,000 in Federal and State incentives, drops base level MSRP closer to $20,000. While Nationally, consumers were on average paying 5.3 percent below sticker through February.

GM doesn’t really care what its dealers are doing. “If somebody’s marking them down, it’s coming out of their margin,” GM spokesman Jim Cain said. “Dealers are independent businesses, and capitalism at work tends to drive local market pricing.”

Several dealers listing the Bolt for nearly $5,000 above sticker price were located in rural markets with less competition and less inventory.

But for the most part, dealers are treating the Bolt like any other volume product. “We price every single vehicle in inventory to move,” said Sergio Navarrete sales Harbor Chevrolet. “Our business model is more geared toward volume vs. any one sale. Per unit we make less, but long term it works out better.”

Chevy sold 2,693 Bolts from December through February mainly in California and Oregon, with New York and several other East Coast states coming online recently.