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What does it cost to make the Chevy Volt?

Newly released data shows that the Volt costs much more to make than its $39,999 asking price.

Although General Motors sold a record number of Chevrolet Volts in August, the automaker is not recording record profits. In fact, GM is losing upwards of $49,000 per Volt, according to new estimates by industry insiders and manufacturing experts.

Despite the Volt’s hefty base price of $39,999, the plug-in hybrid actually costs GM an estimated $75,000 to $88,000 per vehicle, says Reuters. The estimated cost is based on the total number of Volts sold through August, which is 21,500.

The loss incurred per vehicle has been heightened recently due to Volt lease offers currently being offered throughout Chevy showrooms. Customers who have taken advantage of this summer’s lease offer will actually end up paying just over $5,000 to drive the Volt for two years.

The cost per vehicle will decrease in the future as GM sells more Volts. That said, GM will likely face stiff competition from rivals like Honda and Ford, which are set to release plug-in hybrid vehicles in the near future. Honda offered a sneak peak at its 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid earlier this week.

Here is the cost breakdown of the Volt, according to Reuters:

Fixed Costs

- Development: $18,650
- Tooling: $37,350

Production Costs

- Standard parts, material and labor: $12,000
- Unique parts, material and labor: $12,000

Total: $80,000 (Does not include marketing costs).

Introduced in December 2010, the Chevrolet Volt is the most fuel-efficient compact car with a gas engine available in America, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Volt is also available in Europe as the Opel Vauxhall Ampera and the Holden Volt in Australia and New Zealand.

The Volt has sold approximately 21,494 vehicles in the U.S. and roughly 4,000 throughout the rest of the world. Year-to-date sales on the Volt in the U.S. have been 13,500, well short of the 40,000 the automaker hoped to sell. While sales of the Volt have been underwhelming, it has outsold similar vehicles this year such as the Nissan Leaf, Honda Insight and Mitsubishi i.

Source: Reuters


Rob (not verified)    September 10, 2012 - 10:07PM

Dividing the total R&D costs for electric vehicles by the number of volts sold to date is a completely ridiculous concept and hence produces a completely ridiculous outcome. That R&D will go into tens and eventually hundreds of thousands of cars, with sales accelerating rapidly the R&D "costs" will halve per vehicle over the next 12 months alone. Similarly dividing the tooling costs by the number of vehicles sold so far is just as meaningless. If the R&D and tooling cost just for the sake of argument say they've spent 500 million on electric vehicle R&D and tooling, by their logic the first car off the line cost GM $500 million dollars, utterly ridiculous.

This is nothing but a poorly thought through talking point by those who are either mathematically challenged or are feigning it for political or business purposes.

Aaron Turpen    September 11, 2012 - 2:59PM

While the numbers above are nothing more than political rhetoric, they're at least on par with the other rhetoric used to justify the Volt as a car people would actually want to own.

AnonymousBOB (not verified)    September 11, 2012 - 3:37PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Its all political. do we see any information on how much does it cost to build a nissan leaf, or ford focus ev or any other ev car. I have a volt love the car. In 5 month have used no gas. Get 45 to 50 miles on each charge. This company that put out this information needs to get a life. And buy the best ev . The VOLT.