The Chevrolet Volt

Dealerships dropping the Chevrolet Volt over increased costs

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While the Chevrolet Volt has quickly become the bestselling electric vehicle in America, some Chevrolet dealerships plan to stop selling the Volt over an increase in the cost of required tools needed to service the high tech sedan – claiming that with their low volume sales of the GM electric vehicle it just doesn’t make good business sense to make the hefty investment in new tools.

As part of the program required by General Motors for a dealership to sell the Chevrolet Volt, those dealers must buy various tools needed to properly service the electric vehicle. While many of the components of the Volt require no special tools to service the electric Chevy, those items that relate specifically to the Voltec electric drivetrain are unique compared to what dealership technicians would use to work on something like a Camaro or Impala. During 2012, approved Volt dealerships spent between $1,800 and $2,800 on special tools but due to some changes in company procedures, the price of those unique tools for the Volt has spiked to over $5,100 – forcing some dealerships to stop carrying the electric Chevrolet sedan due to low sales and low overall interest in the vehicle.

The new tooling costs focus mostly around a new company procedure for how they want the battery system of the Chevrolet Volt handled for repairs. In 2012, GM would have the dealership send the entire 435 pound battery pack to the company for servicing but starting in 2013, the company wants only certain components sent back. This policy change requires the dealership to disassemble the Volt’s battery pack which requires some special tools and – most importantly – a tool used to completely and safely drain the Volt’s battery. That battery draining device costs a whopping $4,735 and it makes up the bulk of the increase in the price of tools required to service the Volt.

Since General Motors expects those dealerships which sell the Chevrolet Volt to be able to offer a full complement of services to the buyers, if a dealership isn’t willing to buy the tools to service the Volt – they will not be permitted to sell the popular electric vehicle.

The Automotive News spoke with one dealership in New York who has decided to drop the Chevrolet Volt based on the new required tool expenses after selling only 5 Volts in the last two years. Like the other dealerships around the US which sell the Volt, this particular dealership had to spend roughly $5,000 in preparation for the Chevy EV to cover the costs of tooling, training charging stations and while that dealership states that they have broken even on that initial investment – the low sales just don’t justify the high costs to stay in the Volt sales and service program.


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These are not unusual costs. A complete set of transmission tools for servicing the latest generation of 6-speeds is close to $4000. Dealers that are too small to have the needed equipment should not be a dealer. The Chevy Spark and Caddy ELR are coming soon. By the way, the Chevy Volt sales tripled in 2012 vs. 2011 and outsold half of the 250 car models sold in the USA in 2012.
Did I say doubled? Oops. Chevy Volt sales tripled in 2012 vs 2011.