Not quite three years ago, I traded in my Nissan Leaf for a Tesla Model 3 with the long range battery option. I spent the extra money to make sure that I would be in the position of being able to drop what I was doing and retrieve my wife if her rather old Prius decided to die on the side of the road somewhere between here and her hometown of Palatka.
This was not a totally unwarranted fear as I’d been in the Prius twice when something went sideways on an out of town trip.
For a number of reasons, Carolyn is not a fan of my Tesla. I love the car, but will be the first to admit that Teslas are an acquired taste. Almost everything is controlled by a center screen and voice controls. She particularly dislikes the car’s “advanced autopilot” that I equate to a 15 year old with a brand new learner’s permit…It works fine, right up until it does something unexpected, like slamming on the brakes for no apparent reason. (I rarely engage the advanced autopilot for exactly that reason.)
Even with recent price drops, Teslas don’t hit the mid-30’s price point my wife had in mind for her next car. Recently, a local dealership got a very nice hatchback in stock, with a sticker of less than $35k. My wife decided to check it out. While she was at the dealership, the car was either available for sale, already sold, or delivered by the manufacturer to the dealership by accident, so there was some question about whether she could actually buy it or have to order one like it for delivery some time in the next six months. The car’s status called to mind the thought experiment regarding Schroedinger’s cat, where the cat is simultaneously dead AND alive.
The salesman started off by asking for a $10,000 “market price adjustment” on top of a $3000 “required” set of add-ons (paint protection, etc), plus a four figure dealer fee. The net result was an asking price of over $49,000… After some dickering, the dealership agreed to drop the “market price adjustment” down to “just” $5000, insisting that the overpriced add-on package was still mandatory. When they tried to get her to sign the order contract without talking it over with me, she walked.
We chatted that evening and I offered to go with her to visit some of the other bay area dealerships over the weekend to see if we could find the same model hatchback at a reasonable price. I also suggested that she might want to check out the Bolt EUV Castriota Chevrolet was advertising on facebook, just to see if she might like it. Her response was something to the effect of never having thought about buying an EV.
I came home mid-afternoon Friday as she was heading out to Castriota to check out the EUV. I reminded her I had a rewards balance on my GM card, on the off chance she decided she wanted it.
I got a call an hour of so later from Carolyn, telling me she needed my GM card…
Long story short: The car hit my wife’s target price range. It was a color she loved. The car was fully loaded with every option except SuperCruise, which is GM’s hands free answer to the advanced autopilot my wife hates on my car. There was no market price adjustment, no required paint protection or similar overpriced add-ons, and we could use my rewards points toward the purchase. Most importantly, the staff treated my wife superbly and with respect.
This past spring, GM announced that Bolt production would end later this year. Realizing how popular the cars are, they have now announced that they are extending this year’s model run by a month and fast tracking production of a next generation Bolt. There is no production date yet, but I suspect it will be sooner rather than late. I suppose you could call it another example of Schroedinger’s cat in real life. GM thought the Bolt was dead and then looked at it and decided that it was alive after all.
To their credit, there are several other local dealerships that also refuse to play the market price adjustment game. Regardless of what type of vehicle you are looking for, seek these dealerships out.
- There are a several things to take away from this tale: First, with Kelly Blue Book reporting that the average new car price is over $48k, there are a number of EV options that come in lower, not even considering the potential federal tax credit.
- You can actually pick up a very nice EV for under $40k, before any potential tax credits. We have arrived at the point where EVs are becoming price competitive with gas powered cars.
- Finally, if a dealership demands a “market price adjustment” or insists on thousands of dollars of dealer installed add-ons for a car you are considering, you should take your business elsewhere.
Want to learn more about electric vehicles? New Port Richey is sponsoring a National Drive Electric Week Tailgate Party from 10am-noon at Railroad Square on September 30th. I’ll be there with my Tesla. Carolyn will be there with her Bolt.