El Chevrolet Volt ya tiene precio: costará 32.500 dólares

Los compradores pueden anticipar un precio de unos 32.500 dólares (unos 23.200 euros al cambio actual) por el Chevrolet Volt en Estados Unidos cuando llegue a las concesionarias a principios del 2011, según declaró el vicepresidente de GM en retiro Bob Lutz al programa Late Night de David Letterman por CBS.

No se anunció el precio para Canadá. Por cierto, ésta es la primera palabra oficial de General Motors sobre el precio del primer automóvil eléctrico de producción masiva de la firma.

“Tenemos 50 unidades ahora”, dijo Lutz a Letterman sobre la situación del Volt. “Hemos construido otro par de centenares más para pruebas”.

Cuando se le preguntó sobre precios, respondió que “nuestro cálculo más certero es alrededor de los 40.000 dólares (y después de un reembolso del gobierno estadounidense de unos 7.500 dólares) el cliente puede anticipar unos 32 y medio”.

Lutz agregó que el Volt “se construirá en Estados Unidos y será exportado a todo el mundo”. Agregó que el Volt empezará a llegar a las concesionarias a fines de 2010 “con plena disponibilidad en los salones de exposición a principios del 2011”.


Chevy Volt Won’t Make Money, But Still Key To Any GM Revival

The Chevy Volt is a year away from showrooms, but GM execs and their government overseers see the plug-in hybrid as key to the automaker’s hopes for revival after it exits bankruptcy.

The plug-in hybrid, scheduled to launch in late 2010, won’t be a moneymaker for GM, at least not initially, even at $40,000 a pop. Its main goal is to change GM’s image as unreliable and obsolete — and lure Americans back to GM showrooms, analysts said.

"It’s an image-changer in the sense that it’s trying to convey that GM is really out front from a technological standpoint," said David Zoia, editorial director at Wards-Auto.com. "It’s a marketing tool."

At first, analysts expect the Volt will attract first adopters of new technology and those concerned about global warming. It may also attract buy-American types, though worries about GM’s viability or anger over its federal bailout may spur them to shop for a Ford (F) or other vehicle instead.

The Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor that can be charged using a conventional wall outlet. By contrast, other hybrids such as Toyota’s (TM) Prius alternate between a gasoline engine and an electric motor that is charged from electricity produced by the vehicle’s braking system.

The Volt will go 40 miles on a single charge before the gasoline engine has to take over, GM says.

"The more distinctive a vehicle is, the more successful it’s apt to be when it involves new technology because there is a certain amount of ‘Look how good I am’" sentiment that attracts buyers, said Rebecca Lindland, an auto analyst at IHS Global Insight.

If all goes well — if the Volt performs as advertised — U.S. sales are seen rising from just over 2,000 in 2010 to almost 77,000 in 2015, according to market researcher CSM Worldwide.

Big Is Still Beautiful

Gas prices remain a wild card. Sales of hybrids and other small, fuel-efficient cars spiked when gas prices soared to more than $4 a gallon last year, but they’ve fallen sharply as pump prices retreated.

"American consumers like big cars, and if you can afford the gas, you’re going to buy a big car," said George Augustaitis, North American vehicle sales analyst at market researcher CSM Worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Volt’s $40,000 price tag — about double the price of a Toyota Prius — could be a turnoff as competition increases in the small-car segment.