By Nat Shirley
Monday, Nov 7th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm
 
72 percent of consumers who want a Volt but haven't bought one cited a lack of availability. That's what the surveys show, according to General Motors, and now the automaker will begin letting dealers sell their demo cars in an effort to ramp up supply of the innovative plug-in hybrid.

Until now, GM had required each dealer to have one Volt on hand to serve as a demonstration model and stir up interest in the automaker's other fuel-efficient offerings. However, with many dealers having only been allocated one Volt thus far, the policy became something of an impediment to sales.

"Multiple dealers have requested to sell their demo to satisfy customer demand," GM said in a memo to dealers.

Allowing dealerships to sell their Volt demo cars will increase the number of Volts available for sale to 4,100 (up from 1,800), according to GM spokesman Tom Henderson. To account for depreciation (as well as the cost of removing decals), GM will reimburse dealers $1,500 for the demo models, which must be sold by January 3 to qualify for the payment.

The new policy won't mean the end of demo Volts, however: dealers who sell their demos must procure new demo models by the end of January, Henderson said.

Initial production constraints have hurt Volt sales, and a slow nationwide rollout after launching in just seven markets likely hasn't helped matters, either. Even with the new measure, GM is in danger of missing its annual sales target of 10,000 units: through October, just 5,003 Volts had been sold.

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