Recent reports have shown that some Chevrolet dealers are attempting to sell new Volts for above the Chevy Volt MSRP of $41,000. Many Chevrolet Dealers from around the country have been offering Volts on eBay for as much as $46,923, $47,700, $49,000 and $65,590.
Moreover, dealers are using this marketing ploy to attract customers to their stores. In one case, an online visitor to the eBay site responded to an over inflated Volt price by going to visit the dealership. He didn't buy a Volt, but he did drive out with a brand new Chevrolet Malibu.
One might think that the corporate office -- in this case Chevrolet and maybe even General Motors -- could better control how their dealers sell their cars. But that is not necessarily the case. A spokesperson for GM, Rob Peterson, told WardsAuto.com that dealers are independent business owners with the so-called freedom to decide how it is best to sell their cars. Said Peterson, "We have an MSRP, but (dealers) are independent business owners with the freedom to choose their selling strategy." Of course, we have learned a lot about how much power car manufacturers have over their dealerships. Witness the bankruptcy proceedings of General Motors and Chrysler, who wanted to close thousands of their dealerships and were allowed to do so by the court.
In any effect, it's being done. One dealer who uses the ploy said that, "We get people coming in just to look at the car." Then the salesperson interests the buyer in another Chevrolet model. Is this a bait and switch?
Dealers like using eBay to sell cars because it reaches thousands if not hundreds of thousands of potential buyers and provides another platform to get their cars out into the market place. It can create a lot of buzz, especially if the car is as unique and innovative as the Volt. Furthermore, dealers have said that they often list their cars on eBay. In fact, General Motors itself thought long and hard about selling its cars over eBay. The car company actually negotiated a deal with eBay to do it shortly after the company emerged from bankruptcy proceedings in 2009. However, it ultimately decided not to use eBay as a selling platform. They say they were considering eBay to sell their cars as a way to increase awareness of the products GM has to offer.
To further add to the situation, Chevrolet is slowly rolling out the new Volt in only a few regions of the country and eventually spreading out to include the entire U.S. Doesn't that provide an incentive to dealers who are able to sell Volts now to try and sell them through eBay to regions of the country that don't have them yet?
Is this legitimate? Is it simply a retailer just trying to make a few extra coin? I guess that's for the consumer to decide?