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Published on March 31st, 2019 | by Steve Hanley


GM Refuses To Cut Prices On Chevy Bolt After Federal Tax Credit Reduction

March 31st, 2019 by  


Remember a few months ago when the federal tax credit was cut in half on cars purchased from Tesla because the company had sold more than 200,000 electric cars in the US? (Many people snickered up their sleeves that Tesla would never sell 20,000 cars, never mind 200,000, but that’s another story.)

Tesla responded by cutting prices on its cars so its customers would be shielded somewhat from the effects of the lower tax credit. In December, Elon Musk tweeted repeatedly to remind people the tax cut would be less after December 31. It went to great lengths to help as many customers as possible take advantage of the full credit.

Chevy Bolt from GM

On April 1, the federal tax credit for electric cars built by General Motors will be cut in half, from $7500 to $3750. GM only builds one electric car these days, the Chevy Bolt. It stopped manufacturing the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid on March 1. So what is GM’s response to EV customers who want to buy a Bolt after April 1?

Nothing. As in nada, zip, zero, zilch. It did nothing to encourage buyers to purchase a Chevy Bolt  before April 1 and it will do nothing to encourage them to do so after that date. It’s attitude seems to be, “Buy the car. Don’t buy the car. Who cares as long as people keep buying Escalades, Sierras, Silverados, and Suburbans!” Mary Barra didn’t say that in so many words, but that is the message we can take away from The General’s decision not to adjust prices on the Chevy Bolt one iota now that the tax credit has been reduced.

Jim Cain, a spokesperson for GM, told Reuters on March 28, “It is easier to react to the market by working with dealers and your marketing team than it is to change sticker prices.” Right now, Chevy has a special promotion on the Bolt that cuts 14% from the official sticker price. In other words, it’s business as usual at GM.

Go to your local dealer. Arm wrestle with a sales person for 6 hours or more to get your best price, threaten to walk out a few times, jump up and down in the middle of the showroom, then buy the car for what the dealer is willing to sell it to you for.

Has GM embarked on a campaign to train sales representatives in why an electric car is a good deal for consumers? Has it invested 10 cents in advertising the Bolt? Has it signed on to any partnerships with other companies to build EV charging infrastructure? No, it has done none of those things.

What is has done is lobby the Trump maladministration to ease off on the Obama era fuel economy standards, the ones that would lower tailpipe emissions and save some people from the effects of asthma, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disorders, and arrested development. Here’s your 14% off sticker, now go away and leave us alone while we sell a $60,000 Silverado to that customer over there.

The bottom line is, the Bolt is still thought of as a compliance car, a sop to treehuggers so the company can crow about its “green” credentials. Last week, GM was one of several major corporations which have combined their resources to promote renewable energy. But in GM’s case, it will use that clean energy to build dirty gasmobiles while patting itself on the back about how socially responsible it is.

All that greenwashing is just to suck in the gullible. GM hopes to sell the last fully optioned Escalade just before the seas close over downtown New York, Washington, Miami, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle. It talks a good game, saying it is investing $300 million in electric cars in coming years, but that figure is a mere pittance compared to what Volkswagen and other companies are investing.

GM’s game is to do as little as possible to advance low and zero emissions transportation so it can continue to stuff money into the pockets of its senior executives. Any lowering of emissions from the millions of cars it sells every year will be accidental, not intentional. If everyone were to stop buying anything GM makes that isn’t electric, perhaps the suits in the C Suite would start to pay attention. Until then, it’s same old, same old at General Motors. 
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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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