Chevy Bolt Pricing: A Sign Of The Times

March 21, 2017

I was intrigued by an Automotive News article this week that highlights pricing disparities among dealers as the new Chevrolet Bolt EV arrives in showrooms in select markets.

The story notes a mix of price discounts and mark-ups across the seven states where General Motors is introducing the vehicle. Some dealers are discounting by as much as $4,000 or more, while others are asking $5,000 above the sticker price.

The article suggests the pricing dynamic is “what happens when a new kind of vehicle meets a sprawling, old-line retail network that’s only beginning to feel out the market for it.”

But I’d take a different view.

To me, the pricing dynamic with the Chevy Bolt isn’t all that different than what you see in most markets, with most new vehicles, on any given day of the year. It’s rare to find a local market, and a specific set of similarly equipped new vehicle models, where the prevailing prices are not all over the board.

In my experience, these pricing disparities are a direct reflection of how dealers choose to price their vehicles, whether it’s a brand new model or not. In the end, most dealers do not account for competitive supply and demand insights as they decide their asking prices. These decisions typically reflect a dealer’s or manager’s instinct more than an assessment of competitive market insights and intelligence.

The end result is often the same as we’re apparently seeing with the Chevy Bolt. Some dealers ask too much, others ask too little, and those in the market “sweet spot” will consistently sell more vehicles and make more money.