Georgia dealership finally gets it's first Chevy Volt


The Chevy Volt is on sale now, but for most Americans there’s a catch. The extended range EV must be purchased in one of a select few markets like New York or Los Angeles, leaving many dealers Volt-less until next Fall. That didn’t stop the inventive folks at Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Georgia from getting their hands on Chevy’s electrically-charged halo car. ABC affiliate WSB TV in Atlanta reports that an employee at the dealership traveled all the way to New York to pose as a regular customer, then purchased a white Volt and brought it back to the Georgia dealership.

So what does the dealer plan to do with it’s new Volt? Start a bidding war between early-adopting southerners? Not even close. The dealer website claims the shiny new hatch will not be sold. Instead, the dealer will use the vehicle as a draw to get customers to enter the dealership. And according to Jim Ellis Vice President Mark Frost, the plan is working, with about 100 potential car buyers entering the dealer every day just to take a look. Frost says he’s hoping the Volt will compel Toyota and Honda loyalists to buy a Chevy. But until the Volt goes on sale in Georgia late next year, the best customers can hope for is a test drive. Hit the jump to watch the story.


Personally, I think it’s a good business move for the dealership. I think it would have been a jerk move on their part if they tried to auction it off.

I wonder how much of the intro strategy is about building hype & getting extra marketing (such as from news reports about such things).

On a related note, I can’t figure out for the life of me where this “its more car than electric” marketing phrase comes from. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Am I missing some hidden meaning? Some play on words? It seems to me like it would be sort of like Haynes coming up with “its more shirt than cotton” for its T-shirts. I just don’t get it.

The “more car than electric” catchphrase baffles me, too. I’ve tried to figure out what is supposed to sound good, but I just hear 3 bad things in it:

[list]Bloated GM cars have long been “more car” than is desirable.[/list]
[list]By subordinating the word “electric,” it sounds as if GM is saying “please be kind if the electric part of this thing doesn’t work too well, because that’s not really what we do.”[/list]
[list]It sounds as if they’re desperately downplaying the GM brand, because they’re aware that if you buy GM in the 21st century, you’re more slow-learner than optimistic.[/list]

I actually like the non-parallel use of a noun (“car”) and an adjective (“electric”). That’s a none-too-shabby use of zeugma (pardon my litotes). Obviously, I’m not the target market and I’ll keep my Honda Fit for the rest of this decade, so my negative reaction is irrelevant. Can anyone who might be in the target market help me? How might this catchphrase attract you to this reluctantly electric thing that is very similar to a car?

It will be interesting to see just how many of these things will actually sell.

Just my opinion, but I’ve often thought that a lot of these fluff stories on the news (it’s all fluff anymore) are not really news stories but basically a condensed infomercial that the TV station is being paid to air. In a nutshell, it’s doctored up to look like a news blurb.

In the past I’ve mailed a couple of local TV stations just for the heck of it and asked if they received any compensation in any form for airing a story that is auto related. So far they ain’t talking.

Why shouldn’t the car market be reluctant to offer a car that cuts so deeply into their profit margin. In a recent article in CR, a follow up test of an early Prius with 205K miles showed almost identical new car performance and a completely “normal” primary battery function.

It’s a scam of the highest order, the bait and switch when the bait is actually a technology that’s been around for many years but doesn’t figure into gradual feed out of technology designed to maximize profit. It goes on in electronics, it goes on in drug companies; why shouldn’t it go on in the automobile industry. The oil companies are happy to produce less oil at higher prices with the same net profit.The timing has to be right between the two. That’s what we are witnessing.

Wake up and smell the roses. They could have many more Volts available, all cutting into their long term maintenance profits. We’ll have none of that ! That’s why they cost so much and why they’ll be spoon fed from the companies capable of flooding the market with them.

Believe me, it’s not their efficiency the auto industry is reluctant to “sell”. It’s their longevity and low maintenance costs over time.

Hyundai is about to introduce a similar vehicle that uses a Lithium-Polyester (Lipo) battery which gives a big jump in electric range along with a big weight saving. These batteries have an amazing power to weight ratio. A pretty sophisticated charger must be used because these cells explode if overcharged…Hyundai must have gotten the technology figured out to make these batteries workable in a car…In model aircraft, R/C controlled, they are unbelievable…

GM will limit production and sales of the Volt until they see how they do in the hands of the public. If there is a problem, they want to limit the size of that problem…

Wow, Dan. Why Are You So Bitter ?

I don’t sense that GM is desperate at all. They’ve been steadily gaining market share. If their verbage includes, “more car than electric,” could it be the fact that their new electric Volt is more because it’s capable of recharging its own batteries while on the road, extending the range of its pure electric power ?

We have several “bloated” (your description) GM cars in our family and we love them. My Bonneville provides a quiet, comfortable ride for frequent golf outings that include two or three large passengers, besides the driver, and 3 or 4 sets of golf clubs. My wife’s large GM car hauls several kids to soccer, basketball, and golf in quiet comfort, too. Will a Fit do that ? How about two Fits ?

I’ve never seen a Fit up close. They don’t sell that brand anywhere near here (at least 100 mile radius, but from owners on this site I have learned that they probably aren’t “bloated” enough to hold several guys and clubs and many owners aren’t too happy about ride comfort or the cars’ overall quality. Besides, I’d never buy a Japanese car, anyhow and would never let my family memebers ride in a little “clown:” (my description) car for safety reasons.

Give GM credit for entering this market. Who knows, you might grow to liking the Volt and buy one someday. I’m keeping an open mind to see how they evolve.


It’s not all that big. A little smaller than a Pontiac Vibe, maybe about the same size as the Aveo 5 door

edited for clarity:
The Honda Fit isn’t all that big

Well, CSA, you have to admit I was right about not being the target market !

I guess “more car than electric” sounds attractive to loyal GM customers and the point really may be to downplay the electric part. I am among the crowd that remembers GM as a financially-shaky producer of inefficient cars that are never quite as reliable as the competition’s.

The Pontiac Bonneville may not be the best example of a GM success. If the Chevy Volt has the same fate, then both model and brand will disappear in a few years. Meanwhile, my Fit gets better gasoline MPG than the Volt.

Someone else who is obviously not the target market is Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion. When he dutifully says “more car than electric” halfway through the show, it’s as if he’s reading a list of 4 unrelated words. I suspect he’s having trouble parsing this catchphrase, too.

It pays to remember that TV stations are businesses, just like car companies are businesses. Their primary legal obligation is to produce profit for shareholders. In addition, most TV stations/media outlets are small parts of much larger corporate enterprises, and most often the largest voices in large corporations are other large corporations.

So I’m never surprised to see “news” that is actually thinly disguised marketing. The world contains many fewer distinct business interests than it appears, and that “market” economy rhetoric implies.

Dan, Sorry, But I Don’t Ever Listen To That Windbag. Also, That’s Terrific That You Get Good MPG, If That’s What You’re After. Speaking Of Unrelated Words And Target Marketing, You May Want To Give Your Web Page A Careful Proof Read.

Actually, if they were to go a step further, they could charge a premium for the vehicles in their state, and just purchase them from a dealer in a state that does get them.

Dealers exchange inventory across state lines all the time.
There are plenty of Nissan Altima Hybrids on lots here in Colorado, even though Nissan doesn’t list them for sale in this state on their website.


It’s for sale, don’t let 'em fool you.
If and when someone makes them an offer worth dealing over.

My Ford dealer has an 05 Ford GT, you know, the GT40 race car style mid engine car.
It’s not on the floor plan and is displayed mostly but If someone had the 200k they’d sell it in a heart beat. ( there is one other GT in town so I guess the market is saturated for this small town. )

They’ve been steadily gaining market share.

That’s because they pretty much hit bottom after a 30 year slide.

GM isn’t going to improve as a car manufacturer if they don’t change their bonus structure. I’m not sure if they have already, or if they did…how long it will last.

Giving bonuses to VP’s and directors based on how well they did that quarter is ludicrous.

Case in point (actually happened).

2000 VP of manufacturing plant institutes new policies to streamline their line. Plant is now seeing a 15-20% increase in production…VP gets a nice $100k bonus.

2000 - Q2 - Again production is up…VP gets another $100k bonus.

2000 - Q3 - Again production is up…and there are layoffs because they are doing so well they’ve surpassed demand…VP gets another $100k bonus.

2000 - Q4 - Demand isn’t that high again…more layoffs because the plant is so efficient…VP is looking like a hero…Gets $200k bonus.

Total Bonuses for the year $500,000…

VP gets promoted and moved to a bigger plant where bonuses will be even greater.

2003 …Parts from that plant built with the new streamline production policies implemented by the VP that was promoted are now having well above average failures. Failures for that part before the streamlining was .1% for every 100k miles…Now it’s up to 10% for 100k miles (that’s a 100% increase in failures). The streamline policies implemented 3 years ago aren’t changed.

2004 …Parts from that plant built with the new streamline production policies implemented by the VP that was promoted are now seeing failure rates of 25%. Again…streamline policies implemented 4 years ago aren’t changed.

2007 Q1…Another VP is put in charge of the plant to increase quality. Plant is now back to the old way of production before streamlining. Because sales are down the plant no longer has to produce as many parts so there is no need to hire new people…New quality testing is put in place to verify that the problems have been resolved.

Q2 After testing of new parts it’s proven that quality has increased drastically. They are now at the levels they were before Q1…NEW VP GET’S A $200K BONUS.

Do you see what’s wrong with a structure like that.

I’m almost certain that someone will pay way over list price to get that Chevrolet Volt. History repeats itself. When I was five years old, the 1947 Studebakers (first by far with a postwar car) came on the market about June of 1946. My parents and I went to the dealer to look at the car. It didn’t look anything like any car I had ever seen before and there was a large crowd at the the Studebaker dealership examining the car.

At that time, people gave the dealer money “under the table” to get a new car as passenger cars weren’t produced during WW II. I imagine the highest bidder got that Studebaker. Three years later, a 1947 Chevrolet with its prewar styling fetched more as a used car.

I’ve seen this happen over and over when a new car comes out. We had some neighbors that had one of the first new Edsels. I think they took a beating when they traded it in a couple of years later. There was a waiting list for VW Beetles in the 1950’s, and a franchise for a VW dealership was better than having a license to steal gold at Fort Knox. I live in a University town and our VW closed over two years ago because of declining sales.

I don’t think there is any car that I would stand in line to purchase and then pay a premium price. I don’t like standing in line and I am a confirmed cheap skate.

I’m almost certain that someone will pay way over list price to get that Chevrolet Volt.

It’s happened many times in history.

Friend of my brother-in-laws…put his name at 4 different dealers to get one of the first Vipers…He hit on two of them. Bought the first one for $50k…Then went to the dealer for the second one and was told that if he walked away from the deal they would give him $75k (people were already offering $100k for the vehicle). He did…so basically he ended up being paid $25k to buy a new viper…Not a bad deal if you ask me.

It’s a Cruze with a hybrid propulsion system.

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Your story reminds me of a cap we have around our house that hsa the “Quiet Riot” rock group name embossed on it. We call this “the cap of two idiots”. My son bought the cap for $1 at Big Lots. He wore it to school and a classmate offered him $15 for the cap. That was the first idiot. My son wouldn’t sell it to him. That was the second idiot. That was more than 20 years ago. I use the cap when I go jogging, hoping someone will offer me at least $5 for it.

Suckers never learn…Car dealers know that…Usually, dealers must sell their cars for way below “sticker price”…So during those rare moments when they can demand and get MORE than sticker price, you can be SURE they will…When the Yugos were first being sold, people were lining up to pay sticker price or more for them…That didn’t last very long…Now that the Prius’s batteries are dying of old age, the bloom has quickly faded from THAT rose…

Dodge Viper, Ford GT…That’s some very expensive garage furniture…

The Mustang is neck and neck with the M3 in terms of performance in a drag race, track race(the M3 was actually 0.9 seconds faster than the 'Stang), figure 8, and braking. The Stang tromps it with better fuel economy, even with a bigger engine(14/20 vs 17/26) and pollutes less.
But is the M3 really worth $26,750 more than the Stang? They think so. In the first video, they say the M3 is better based on the track race.