Chevy Bolt isn't a Tesla Model 3 competitor: erratic pricing, poor buying experience

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by stevehanley, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. stevehanley

    stevehanley Member

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    In a blog post in 2012, Elon Musk laid out his reasons why Tesla prefers to sell direct to the public. “Existing franchise dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between selling gasoline cars, which constitute the vast majority of their business, and selling the new technology of electric cars,” he wrote. “It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business.”

    Aside from Tesla, there haven’t been many long range pure electric cars from other manufacturers until recently when GM’s Chevy Bolt was announced. However, the Bolt is being rolled out slowly. The first cars began appearing in California showrooms late last year. The Bolt is currently available in 7 states and won’t be available in all 50 states until later this year.

    According to pricing on TrueCar, the Bolt is already being discounted by dealerships. In January, the average discount was $1,400 which quickly rose to $2,200 in February. Discounts of up to $5,200 are available at one California dealer, but in those states where the Bolt has gone on sale and selection is limited, other dealers are charging up to $5,000 over sticker. Rather than actually educate customers about the advantages of the all electric Bolt, dealers are treating them as just one more car on lots filled with pickup trucks, SUVs, and conventional sedans.

    100 miles south of San Francisco, Greenwood Chevrolet is advertising discounts of between $2,000 and $3,000 this month. Marty Greenwood, managing partner of the dealership, tells Automotive News, “We’re here to sell cars, and we’re in a smaller town, so we need to be a little bit more aggressive,” Greenwood said. “We just watch the market and what’s going on out there. What is the magic number to move the vehicle?”

    In Long Beach, California, Sergio Navarrete, the sales manager at Harbor Chevrolet, says, “We price every single vehicle in inventory to move. Our business model is more geared toward volume vs. any one sale. Per unit we make less, but long term it works out better.”

    There’s not a lot Chevrolet can do about such tactics. Thanks to dealer franchise laws, factories have far less control over dealers than they might like. Jim Cain, a spokesperson for GM, says, “If somebody’s marking them down, it’s coming out of their margin. Dealers are independent businesses, and capitalism at work tends to drive local market pricing.” He adds that GM discourages dealers from marking up scarce models but can’t stop them from doing so.

    Tesla has a big advantage over other automakers because of its direct to consumers sales model, but also because it sells a single type of vehicle - electric. There’s no conflict of interest with selling vehicles of other types, as profits are not tied to them. The Tesla buying experience is quick, easy, and painless. The staff at Tesla stores are there to educate consumers and answer questions, not to sell cars.

    Chevrolet thinks the Bolt is a competitor to the Model 3, but fails to appreciate that the sales experience is a significant factor for many buyers. That gives an important advantage to Tesla.

    Article: Chevy Bolt isn't a Tesla Model 3 competitor: erratic pricing, poor buying experience
     
  2. Onlineo

    Onlineo New Member

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    I have bought 2 cars from dealers. Both terrible experiences. Last car was a lease all done online in 10 mins via vw finance, car delivered to door with sign off, price great, service great, no idea who the dealer was but I would use the website again. I will never deal face to face with another car salespeople. I will buy new online or second hand from private owners or auctions. Had 2 cars from auctions and 2 from private owners and all been good.
     
  3. gizmowiz

    gizmowiz New Member

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    I agree with this completely. I priced a Bolt out at $41,389 online. But John Elway Chevy then priced it at $43,889 a $2500 markup and they wouldn't explain the discrepancy so I passed on that and will wait for them to discount them instead--if at all. I am a Tesla Model 3 depositor and probably will go ahead with a heavily upgraded purchase in 2018 and the heck with GM. I hate the business model of Detroit and hope that monopolistic way they do business fails in the decades ahead. Tesla, Amazon and others are proving it will.

    Down with Detroit, their dealership network and their monopolistic attitudes.
     
  4. Tesla Bargain

    Tesla Bargain New Member

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    Car buying horror gives me the shivers. The experience was so bad before we finally bought our Nissan LEAF last year, I just can't going through such ever again.
     
  5. Adam P90D

    Adam P90D New Member

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    Some useful observations in this article and the comments.
    One point to add: "bait and switch."
    Dealers and sales staff are not using complex sales techniques. They will use bait and switch.
    The Bolt is a draw card to get people to come to the dealership. Once the consumer is in the trapped environment, the dealer has a chance and will do a lot to keep the customer in the building and the last thing they want to do is let you leave with an order for a Bolt to show up in a few weeks while you cool off.

    A customer coming in to tire kick the Bolt will start explaining their objections and their criteria. This informs the sales management (using microphones (not microwave ovens) and cameras on the floor and in the cubicles and sales offices to listen to conversations and watch people ... and record video of signatures and consent to waivers, etc.)

    The sales staff are given a simple set of tricks -- price is higher than the same equipment in another model, electric is a hassle or you live in a condo, so charging is frightening, or you want something bigger for less and can drive a long way on the saved money. Then a trivial discount on a similar fossil fool vehicle and a cheap finance "you can afford this per month ... that's $200 a month for gas ... cheaper than the electric" and the dealership sells the deal with the most profit, not the deal that's best for the consumer's needs.
     
  6. david_42

    david_42 New Member

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    When we purchased our last car, my wife wanted to "shop". At the first dealership we told the salesman exactly what we were looking for (according to their website they had three vehicles that would have worked), our maximum price and that we would be paying cash. He was dressed as a used car salesman should be right down to the checkered pants. He started waving his hands telling us to look around and see what we liked. He followed that up with a song and dance about long-term financing to get the payment down. We headed for our car, he RAN after us and waved the manager over. The manager wanted to know what the problem was, I repeated what we had told the salesman and the line of BS he was feeding us. As we were backing out, the idiots tried to block us in to "discuss things".

    We then went to the body shop near our mechanic's place. They had a Kia Spectra5, in blue, with a bent quarter panel and front bumper. The damage was fixed, the car detailed and they even swapped a set of sports tires/wheels onto the car. For about $2000 under book.
     
  7. stevehanley

    stevehanley Member

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    #7 stevehanley, Mar 22, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
    Car sales people practice their craft every day. They are very good at what they do. The typical customer buys a car once every few years. Usually it's no contest. We don't negotiate the price of celery at the supermarket or the price of jeans at Walmart. We don't negotiate air fares or college tuition. We don't negotiate the price of smartphones. Why do we negotiate the purchase price of a car? It's ridiculous.
     
  8. gizmowiz

    gizmowiz New Member

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    Chevy won't even let you get a valid price quote and send it to your favorite dealer that's how fudgy it's being with this car to try and manipulate prices. Most all dealerships allow you to request a quote and get competitive offers. Not GM. Screw them.
     
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  9. stevehanley

    stevehanley Member

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    And yet it is these same sleazy dealers that GM works so hard to protect from competition from Tesla. You would think GM would be anxious to throw them under the bus but clearly there's $omehing el$e going on that we mere mortal$ are not privy to.
     
  10. clprenz

    clprenz Member

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    Wow!!! Used cars are quite a difficult thing, we always like to go to places where we have an existing relationship- otherwise it feels like they are ripping you off at every corner and trying to guide you to certain vehicles! I really like what Tesla has been able to do with their CPO program- controlling the sales process over the lifetime of the vehicles. - controlling in a good way ;)
     
  11. Jeo

    Jeo New Member

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    The biggest challenge GM has with the Bolt is the dealer network. Last summer, test driving a Volt, the Chevy sales rep told me the rain sensor was a small solar panel helping to charge the battery. I am not kidding.
     

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