GM's research and its experience with the EV1 electric vehicle in the 1990s indicate that customers interested in electric vehicles also want the peace of mind provided by the Volt's onboard engine, U.S. marketing chief Joel Ewanick said today on a conference call with reporters.
“Our strategy will be, ‘It's more car than electric,' ” Ewanick said. “They're looking for a real car. They're looking for a car that will meet their transportation needs, that gives them no anxiety. …
“You can drive it across the country without having to recharge, and our competition can't do that.”
Despite the Volt's higher suggested retail price, GM most often will lead Volt advertising with its lease deal -- $350 a month for 36 months after a $2,500 down payment, Ewanick said. That compares with the Leaf's $349 a month for 36 months after $1,999 down.
The Volt can offer a competitive lease because of high residual values stemming from outsized demand and the 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on its lithium ion battery system, said Ewanick, who left Nissan North America in May to join GM.
The lease is only available for residents of zip codes in launch markets, he said, although any customer can pay cash for a Volt from a participating dealer. GM will initially launch the Volt in California; Michigan; New York City; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C.
Volt sales will expand to New Jersey, Connecticut and the rest of Texas and New York by mid-2011, with about 600 participating dealers at that time, Ewanick said.
Ewanick and other Volt executives also provided these ordering and pricing details during the call:
• A Web site, www.getmyvolt.com, now allows consumers to find dealers approved to sell the Volt and directs them to a 24/7 Volt hotline: 1-888-VOLT-4-YOU. Dealers start taking orders today, and once a Volt order is in the system, GM will call the buyer. The automaker will also contact the customer once that person's order is up for production.
• The Web site will also allow buyers to track the status of their order. Chevrolet will launch a similar order-tracking Web site in the fall in an attempt to address consumers' dissatisfaction with recent vehicle shortages, such as for the Chevrolet Equinox.
• The base-model Volt includes five years of OnStar, Bluetooth and a cord to charge a Volt in a 120-volt outlet. Only four options are available: a premium trim package that includes leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated seats; a rear-camera and park-assist package; polished aluminum wheels instead of painted ones; and more paint choices. Choosing all those options would take the vehicle's cost to $44,600 before any tax credits.