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Is Chevrolet Volt overpriced vs. Lexus, Cadillac, BMW?

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Is Chevrolet Volt overpriced vs. Lexus, Cadillac, BMW?

A week after it priced its new "extended-range electric" Volt at $41,000, General Motors found itself on the defense today. When you think about it, it's a compact Chevrolet sedan at a Cadillac price.

GM's defense: It is breakthrough technology and make sure you deduct the federal tax credit in figuring out what you actually will pay.

"With a federal tax credit, it is $33,500," Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of hybrid and electric powertrain engineering said following a presentation in Traverse City, Mich., as reported by the Detroit Free Press. "We think there will be a plentiful supply of customers at that price."

As a Chevrolet, GM's mainstream America brand, it will not have the chrome and glitz that goes with a luxury car. By contrast to Volt's price tag, Drive On did a little searching to see what luxury models start at a lower price than the Chevrolet. They include:

Cadillac CTS, $35,990

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, $39,090

Lexus IS, $32,145

Lexus ES, $35,175

BMW 328i, $33,150

BMW 128i, $29,150

The Volt's closest rival, Nissan's all-electric Leaf, starts at $33,000:

Leaf buyers also are eligible for a $7,500 tax rebate, taking it down to $26,000. But Leaf doesn't have an auxiliary gas engine like the Volt. When it's out of juice, drivers better find a place to plug in and recharge, not keep driving like the Volt.

Last week, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh tore into the Volt and its price and today, the Free Press says Barb Samardzich, Ford's vice president of global powertrain engineering, questioned the price. "Our perspective is we want to be able to provide a solution that works for all of our customers, and at $40,000 or $41,000, you are taking a lot of customers out of that equation," Samardzich said.

On Friday, GM said it plans to produce 45,000 Volts in 2012, 50% more than initial production estimates.

"Look, it's not like we're trying to sell 2 million of these," Nitz said today.



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