Then they are reselling the cars as used (one in Chicago had 10 miles on the odometer), without the tax credit and sometimes with incredible markups. A dealer in Oregon put a sticker of $51,999 on the $41,000 MSRP car.
When GM got wind of these shenanigans, it told dealers to cool it on the markups. But there doesn’t seem to be anything illegal (yet) in what these relatively few clowns are doing with the tax credits. A Glendale, Calif., dealer has three “used” Volts on his lots with near-sticker prices and no tax credit for buyers.
If nothing else, all this conveys the pungent odor of scam and provides yet one more proof of why car dealers are so disrespected. We noted that a recent survey by CarGurus gave them fairly good marks overall, but one poor experience with a dealer is worth more than five positive ones, in my view.
Contrary to what you may have heard, the Volt is in high demand, at least in some quarters, while production is low, and this debacle is the result. Even though fewer than 500 have been sold, a lot of people want them, particularly in the 43 states where the car has not yet been made available.
The other complication is that the tax credit, intended for end-users, was so sloppily written that Treasury now admits up to $33 million in improper “battery car tax credits” have been claimed by cheats. It should have been written as a point-of-purchase deduction.
In short, we have another story where the blame can certainly be passed around. But the consequences will surely fall on GM for its stupid release policy for the Volt—encouraging demand without filling the supply line, giving the car to some states and not others, not setting proper dealer policy.
And, one can only surmise, the image of greedy car dealers, cooking up yet another scam in their back rooms, will further tarnish their shabby reputations.
Is it time to dump the car-dealer-franchise model, finally? Have you had enough?