The biggest change you’ll find on the 2014 Chevrolet Volt lies with its window sticker. General Motors announced today it was slashing the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of its extended-range electric car by $5000, bringing the base price down to $34,995, including $810 in destination fees. That price does not include tax incentives tied to the purchase of an electric or plug-in vehicle.
According to GM, it hopes the price cut not only brings the 2014 Chevrolet Volt more in line with its immediate EV/PHEV rivals, but also places it in the running with buyers shopping within a lower price tier. Honda recently reduced lease rates for its Fit EV by $130 a month, while Ford also slashed the price of the Focus Electric by $4000, bringing its MSRP to $35,995. The California-only Fiat 500e rings in at $32,500, while a low-cost, base variant of the Nissan Leaf starts at $29,650.
Unlike the base Leaf S model, however, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt sheds no standard content or features as a result of the lowered price tag. 2014 Chevrolet Volt models actually gain a leather-wrapped steering wheel while retaining all the standard features of the outgoing 2013 Volt model.
The cut essentially mirrors a cash incentive offered on existing Volt inventories last month. In June, GM announced it would offer $5000 cash back on leftover 2012 Volt inventories or $4000 cash back with 2013 Volts. Interestingly, Volt volumes slipped slightly in June, dropping 3.3 percent to 1788 units, although the total number of Volts sold in 2013 is up 9.2 percent year-to-year, ringing in at 11,643. The Nissan Leaf, however, surpassed the Volt in June by 76 units, and outsold the Volt thus far in 2013 by only 60 cars.
In a prepared release, Don Johnson, Chevrolet’s vice president of U.S. sales and service, says the price reduction is possible because the automaker has “made great strides in reducing costs as we gain experience with electric vehicles and their components." That said, GM isn’t disclosing precisely how much cost it’s stripped from the Volt’s overhead. The automaker has previously admitted it has lost money on each Volt, but hasn’t provided a precise figure.
The addition of the Opel/Vauxhall/Holden Ampera and Cadillac ELR – two models that share the Volt’s EREV driveline – may have slightly helped amortize the development and production costs of the expensive drive system, but GM officials have previously indicated a significant drop in the Volt's production overhead isn’t expected until a second-generation model launches in 2016.