Chevy Dealers Are Desperate To Clear Out 2020 & 2021 Bolts

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With the recent announcement of the 2022 Bolt and Bolt EUV, fans of Chevy and GM have something cool to look forward to later this year. Dealers aren’t so excited, though. They still have a lot of 2021 and even 2020 models sitting on the lots not being sold, and they need to clear them out so they’re not sitting on the lot next to the newer ones come summer.

This is an especially bad problem for the non-EUV version of the 2022 Bolt. You see, there’s really no functional difference between a 2020 Bolt and an 2022 Bolt.

As I pointed out in another article, the new Bolts don’t charge any faster than the ones currently sitting on dealers lots. It’s the same roughly 55 kW maximum charge rate. It has the exact same EPA-rated range at 259 miles either way. It has the same 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. The differences between a newer one and the older one is almost purely cosmetic.

The only real functional difference (aside from minor interior changes) is that the 2022 charges level 2 at 11 kW while the 2020-21 charges at 7.2 kW maximum. For people using the 2022’s new dual-voltage charge cord, the cord is limited to 7.2 kW, so only customers paying to wire up a faster home charger will see any difference, and both will charge overnight anyway.

Dealers Aren’t Trying To Con As Hard Now

Given the nearly-zero difference, it makes a lot of sense that dealers are dropping the opening offer quite a bit instead of trying to eat up the GM discounts and leave the customer with a higher payment now.

I’ll explain how this works. Last time I checked, GM was offering $8500 off of the Bolts, so dealers were trying to convince buyers that MSRP minus that $8500 was a great deal. Fact is, the Chevy discount comes off of dealer cost, so you’re basically paying sticker price if you pay that much. Chevy dealers were fooling customers instead of using the discount to actually push the cars off the lot, raking in thousands in the process.

A screenshot from a dealer’s website a few weeks ago, before the 2022 Bolt and Bolt EUV announcement.

Now, I’m seeing dealers actually dropping the price a bit more toward cost. Instead of pushing for a small discount, the vehicles are being offered for about $2000 cheaper. If you take a look at your local dealer’s website, you’ll see similar things.

You can get better deals than they’re offering, though, and they’re more likely to go for it, especially with the leftover 2020s.

What You Should Actually Pay For The Car

My local dealer is still trying to get $30,767 for a 2020 Bolt Premier (the highest trim level). Their pricing details are below:

Getting over $11,000 off seems like a good deal, right? Not so much.

The dealer invoice price on a Bolt Premier is $40,199. A Google search can fetch you this information on any car. The dealer also has to pay $995 for transport, so the supposed cost is $41194. But, when GM has the “Employee Discount for Everyone” offer, the dealer gets an additional 5% off the MSRP price, and this lowers the pre-discount dealer cost to $39,091.75.

The discounts don’t cut into the dealer’s profits. They come off BEFORE the dealer buys the car from GM. So, the Customer Cash discount takes the dealer’s cost down to 30,591.75. Then, if you finance with GMAC, you get another $7000 off, making for the dealer’s cost to be $23591.75. It’s 0% financing, so you’ll be better off to finance and then pay it off in a month or two, even if you could afford to pay cash. It’s worth getting that discount.

The dealer does need to make some money, or they won’t go for it. So, add $1500, and arrive at $25,091 plus whatever the taxes and registration fees are for the car in your state. That’s what you should pay for the car, making your payment a few bucks over $350, depending on the state you live in.

If your dealer has an 2020 LT trim available, you could pay even less for the car.

This Could Help Get You Out Of A Gas Car

If you’re feeling stuck in a gas-powered car because you’re upside down in the thing (you owe more than it could be traded in for), then this gives you a great opportunity to switch to electric. Because banks would approve for MSRP, you have a lot of room to finance in the negative equity.

For example: Say you bought a gas-powered car 2 years ago, and the value of it dropped badly. Now, the NADA or Kelly Blue Book trade-in value for the car is like $10,000 below what you owe the bank for the thing. Unless you can come up with most of that $10 grand, you’re not going to get approved for financing on a newer car, no matter who you buy it from.

By trading in for a Bolt and paying $26,000 for the car with an MSRP of $42,000, you have $16,000 of room to play with the deal. This means that even if you’re $10,000 upside down, you should be able to get the bank to approve the deal without having to put money down (assuming you have good credit, of course).

A quick word of warning, though: You’ll quickly be upside down again in the Bolt EV. The value of trade-ins will drop quickly when everyone gets a discount, so you’ll probably be worse off debt-to-value wise than you were with the gas car. However, if you keep it until payoff, you’ll still be better off because you won’t be paying for things like oil changes, tuneups, and brake jobs during that time. If you didn’t already have 0% financing, you’ll save on interest, too.

Big takeaway, don’t go into this kind of deal to get rid of upside down debt if you’re hoping to trade it in again in a couple of years on a better car that charges faster. You’re going to be stuck for a while.

Also, if you go this route, be sure to spring for gap insurance. You don’t want to get in an accident with an upside down car and end up owing the bank for a car that’s not working.

These 2020 and 2021 Bolts are great deals, and worth taking advantage of if you know what you’re getting into. Be sure to go in wisely and get a goo deal!

Featured image by Zach Shahan/CleanTechnica

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1774 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba