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GM will tout $41,000 Volt plug-in as a ‘real car'

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GM will tout $41,000 Volt plug-in as a ‘real car'

Chrissie Thompson July 27, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

UPDATED: 7/27/10 1:56 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- General Motors Co. has priced its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid at $41,000, including a shipping fee, and plans to tell consumers that the cost covers a peace of mind that's missing from other electric vehicles.

The price of the Volt, which debuts in October or November, compares with the $32,780 that Nissan wants for its Leaf electric vehicle, which goes on sale in December. Buyers of both cars are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

GM says the Volt can travel as far as 40 miles on battery power before it switches to its gasoline-powered engine. The Leaf is an all-electric vehicle advertised as having an estimated 100-mile range before drivers need to recharge.

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.”

Competitive lease

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.

Lease restriction

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.

2011 Chevrolet Volt standard equipment and available options

EXTERIOR: INTERIOR:

Standard equipment

Antenna, roof-mounted Air bags, dual-stage frontal, side impact and knee for driver and front passenger. Roof-rail side-impact for front and rear outboard seating positions. Includes Passenger Sensing System

Daytime Running Lamps, LED Air Conditioning, single-zone automatic climate control

Glass, solar absorbing, windshield Assist handles, two rear outboard with rear coat hooks

Headlamps, bi-functional halogen projector with automatic exterior lamp control Audio system with navigation, AM/FM stereo with DVD-ROM and MP3 playback capability. Includes voice recognition, Radio Data System (RDS) and timeshift function.

Lamp, LED center high-mounted stop/brake (CHMSL) Audio system feature, energy efficient Bose premium speaker system with six speakers and subwoofer

Mirrors, outside heated power-adjustable, body-color, manual-folding with integrated turn signal indicators Audio system feature, auxiliary input jack

Pedestrian friendly alert, driver activated horn chirp using turn signal lever Audio interface, USB port

Spoiler, rear Hard drive, 30 GB of audio storage data

Tire Inflation Kit XM Radio, requires a subscription after 3 months

Tires, P215/55R17 all-season, Goodyear Fuel Max, low-rolling resistance XM NavTraffic/Weather, requires a subscription after 3 months

Wheels, 17-inch, five- (5) spoke forged painted aluminum Bluetooth, personal cell phone connectivity to vehicle audio system

Wipers, front intermittent, variable, flat blade, washers Cargo Cover

Console, center, covered storage bin with dual cup holders

Console, overhead

Console, rear, open storage bin with dual cup holders

Controls, center, touch-sensitive

Driver mode control switch - Normal, Sport and Mountain modes

Cruise Control, electronic with set and resume speed, steering wheel mounted controls

Defogger, rear window, electric

Display, center, seven-inch high-resolution LCD touch screen

Door locks, power programmable with delayed locking feature and lockout protection

Door locks, rear child security, power

Floor mats, carpeted front and rear

Instrumentation, seven-inch reconfigurable LCD screen. Includes Driver Information Center, compass and efficiency gauge

Keyless ignition, engaged with push button start

LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Top tethers for Children), for child seat mounting in rear

Lighting, interior, ambient LED-based, front reading lamps, dome and cargo area lamp

Map pockets, driver and front passenger seatbacks

Mirror, inside rearview manual day/night

Mobile application, Chevrolet Connect, powered by OnStar requires compatible smartphone

OnStar, 5 years of Directions and Connections plan with security features, Turn-by-Turn navigation and Flexible Computing Platform for over the air “flash” programming. Service fee required.

Power outlets, three (3) auxiliary, 12-volt, positioned in front console, rear console and upper instrument panel storage bin

Options

Parking Assist, front and rear, Ultrasonic. Included with Rear Camera and Park Assist Package Door trim, premium with layered graphics

Wheels, 17-inch, five- (5) spoke forged polished aluminum

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100727/OEM/100729899/1186#ixzz0uvNn98cL

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