Chevrolet has freed 2,300 Volts from the automotive equivalent of indentured servitude as it hurries to meet a self-imposed goal of selling 10,000 of the plug-in hybrids by the end of 2011.
With supplies low, Chevy has told its dealers that they can sell their demo vehicles, ending a previous agreement that required the outlets to keep the vehicles on the lot for at least six months before offering them for sale as used cars, Automotive News reports.
Chevrolet began building and selling the Volt in small quantities in late 2010, but didn’t ramp up to full production levels in August of this year. So far it has produced 10,896 cars in 2011, but has only been able to sell 5,003. Along with the 2,300 tied up as demos, 1,100 are in transit to dealers, leaving just 1,800 currently available for sale.
Sales have increased in each of the past three months, but the company says it will be several more weeks before the pipeline of vehicles has reached the point where supply will catch up with demand. Nevertheless, executives have refused to back down from their target of 10,000 sales, adding that they expect to sell 60,000 Volts worldwide in 2012.
As an incentive to move the metal, dealers are being offered $1,500 to prep the cars for sale and cover depreciation. According to the Detroit Free Press, buyers should still qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit that is available for the $39,995 Volt, but depending on the number of miles on the odometer at the time of the sale, some state incentives may no longer apply.