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How does my experience buying a used Volt make you feel?

  • It makes me mad because your good fortune is my depreciation

    Votes: 2 10.5%
  • It makes me happy because we need more PHEVs

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • The depreciation doesn't bother me because I'm driving my Volt forever!

    Votes: 11 57.9%
  • You know the value of a Volt, if more people did, it would cost more!

    Votes: 8 42.1%
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Discussion Starter #1
2012 volt bought 10eight2017.jpg

Being notoriously cheap means I hate car payments so I've been buying ICE cars outright for the last two decades paying as little as $400 but no more than $6,500. Given the general reliability, I have four clunkers outside right now.

Still, my wife wrecked the cheapest 'car' I had which I had gotten new. It was a 2007 HHR I had won from a news syndication outfit contest for my hyperlocal community forum. Since she is the one needing a 'new' car I went about the task of finding a good deal on a reliable car with the knowledge that she, unlike me, is the daily commuter in the family.

Being notoriously cheap also means I hate buying gas and so I resolved this purchase was going to be an EV or hybrid of some sort.

First I looked at the Nissan Leaf because those cars are going for a song and being 100 percent electric, would cover her current daily 20 mile one-way commute with a daily charge. However, she's got her eye on a job that would require a 100-mile daily commute for a little more than a year to get a state pension.

I was still 'sold' on the leaf but had some niggling doubts because accomplishing that commute would require a re-charge at the work place and, even in Atlanta, which was the number four EV city until the state legislature and enacted their anti-EV agenda by repealing a state incentive and added a $200/yr EV tax.

I took the commute requirement to a "leaf-centric" forum and, in a topic titled "Check my logic" told them the story of the 100 mile commute, how she'd have to stop for a quick-charge or arrange for a level 1 charge at her state workplace.

To their credit, the EV advocates there challenged my self-sell and in a nice banter literally convinced me that I should be ashamed to send my wife on a commute that required such a challenging charging regime. But hey, a 2015 car with 25,000 miles for well under 10 grand was enticing.

I had also shopped the used Volts available in Atlanta in the process of my buying due-diligence but the Volt - obviously a more expensive car to begin with - came without so much as a whiff of range anxiety. Still, for the same money, I would have to look at a much older Volt with more miles. The question was how much older and how many more miles.

Fortunately, one of my advertisers is a Chevy Dealer and they happened to have a Volt that was close to my budget. Their retail price was a little over a grand on the high side according to the cargurus estimate of retail dealer value The overall selection of Volts in the market was smaller than the leaf - especially in a private sale scenario - which made it a bit more of a sellers market.

Still, I found a couple of similar 2012 Volts with 50-80,000 miles were available about $4000 less than the local dealer's $13,500 asking price but I couldn't buy a Volt from someone else without giving these folks a chance for my business.

A little background: Thirty years ago I was a buyer of that most ephemeral of products - television "air time." As a media guy, I know the dealer to be a stand-up bunch who takes care of their customers. I got the folks that I won the HHR from to use the dealership as the foreign cars they were offering wouldn't play in my community at all. I had to buy American and being a hyperlocal community site, I needed to buy local.

The car they had was a spotless, clean and well-optioned 2012 Volt Premium with good tires, clean Carfax and almost 3 years and 50,000 miles warranty on the Voltec Drive System. Some other parts of the warranty are also in place until 2022 and as a first time On-star user, apparently I can get five months of full coverage and three years basic with the purchase. (I had to find that out on my own.)

Back in 2009-10 - these folks were advertisers and I had been personally more excited about the Volt than I was about the new Camero in 2008. But being a bit outside the metro area, the dealership - which sells a ton of pickups, crossovers and SUVs - had little interest in promoting Volts then ... or now. I was surprised they had one used as they're whole marketing is aimed at the country music, NASCAR crowd.

Their even having the Volt on the lot that the Carfax confirms was a two-owner bought at auction was the tell that told me they had room to negotiate from the $13,500 asking price.

And that is the part that probably will make some of you mad ... but makes me happy. At least in this market, the depreciation on a new one is a killer in this time of lower gas prices and "climate-denying you-got-to-be-a tree-hugger if you got an EV culture" that is exurban Georgia.

I chided them about their corporate lack of enthusiasm for EV's going back to the Volt's introduction and reminded them that GM will be introducing 10 models of PHEVs and pure EVs in the next three years and what are you going to do???

I told them I figured since they bought the car at auction, their all-in was probably eight grand and I was willing to give them ten. They countered at $12,500 and I said that wasn't good enough. The dealership normally closed at 7p and it was getting toward 8. I told them I needed to test drive the car overnight to show my wife as she would be the one driving it and I'd let them know in the morning. They wanted to be firm on the price before I took it home overnight.

I was getting antsy and they could tell so they came back with a counter offer and we closed the deal almost $2,900 off their asking price. I mean they are also a customer of mine and I didn't want to beat them up too bad; they do have overhead.

To their credit, the folks at the dealership know that WHEN gasoline goes back up to $4.00/gallon, the price of these cars - especially in the used market - will zoom because of their growing reputation for reliability, over-engineered design as well as gas mileage.

My pitch to buy the car for a lot less than asking was effective and apparently was also 'entertaining' to some of the other sales folks, who let me know they were listening in on the 'negotiation.' I know this because one salesman came up, when I came back to announce my purchase, said so.

Anyway, that's my story of how I came to be a Volt owner ... it is a sweet ride ... and I'm sticking to it :)

neomaxcom
 

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Congrats, nothing wrong buying used, that's what I did for most of my cars up until the Volt and now my Bolt.

2-3 years old cars are often a great value, especially for those who trade cars every few years. I am a buy and hold so depreciation is not much of a concern. The Volt's depreciation is often about normal if you start with lopping off the federal and state tax credits/rebates. Wasnt GA giving a generous rebate on Volts back then?
 

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No way would that make me mad. The used car is broken so I avoid it, especially a car purchased at auction. However, there were some great leasing deals with very high residuals, which dissuaded people from buying, so some of the 2012 MY cars ending at auction might be the good ones. Hope you got one of these and that you'll be happy with it! Congrats. Your wife will thank you.

Just as a note on your idea of depreciation. FYI the Volt depreciates at a lower rate than most cars. What confuses people is the tax credit. A $35K Volt doesn't cost $35K. It costs $35K minus $7.5K or $28.5K. In some states there are also state incentives. I paid full MSRP when the Volt was released and, getting close to 7 years later, the depreciation ON A PERCENTAGE BASIS is better than what I experienced buying luxury cars. What you paid was actually a little more than you'd expect for a car which is six model years old which should have lost 75% of its value.
 

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Congrats on the purchase. I think you will love the car.

And yes, a 100 mile commute is way too much for a Leaf to do reliably, unless you are a die-hard EV nut who doesn't mind making the charging challenge a major part of his daily life, and willing to get stranded occasionally, etc. Not something you would sign your wife up for. I'm glad the Leaf forum gave you the straight story on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
No way would that make me mad. The used car is broken so I avoid it, especially a car purchased at auction. However, there were some great leasing deals with very high residuals, which dissuaded people from buying, so some of the 2012 MY cars ending at auction might be the good ones. Hope you got one of these and that you'll be happy with it! Congrats. Your wife will thank you.

Just as a note on your idea of depreciation. FYI the Volt depreciates at a lower rate than most cars. What confuses people is the tax credit. A $35K Volt doesn't cost $35K. It costs $35K minus $7.5K or $28.5K. In some states there are also state incentives. I paid full MSRP when the Volt was released and, getting close to 7 years later, the depreciation ON A PERCENTAGE BASIS is better than what I experienced buying luxury cars. What you paid was actually a little more than you'd expect for a car which is six model years old which should have lost 75% of its value.
I know; my original target for the purchase was about $9500 but I went with the deal because I am a vendor for the dealership. Further, in the negotiations I made the point that good will worth at least $500 and I didn't mind paying a bit more because I wanted to do business with them. Having done business with them in the past, I know they'll work with me if a more serious problem crops up for several reasons. If I were dealing with a private party or a non-local dealership, I would have negotiated harder.

I do take a little umbrage at the notion that used cars are broken. The tax credit, which notably is benefit to new car buyers, certainly eases the pain of the higher unit costs on initial purchase but the value of a car is based on not just age and condition but value and supply. Think of the car values in the 60s and 70s when the Chevy had the rep of holding its value much longer than the competing Ford products ... or even the perceived value of a Toyota branded product vs. anything American. The Volt is just too new a car to have developed the reputation for reliability it is gaining among most of its users. That combined with its other attributes, particularly e-fuel economy and its lower 'new' unit costs, and I would predict that it will be a lot more robust in maintaining its resale value in the years to come.

Congrats on the purchase. I think you will love the car.

And yes, a 100 mile commute is way too much for a Leaf to do reliably, unless you are a die-hard EV nut who doesn't mind making the charging challenge a major part of his daily life, and willing to get stranded occasionally, etc. Not something you would sign your wife up for. I'm glad the Leaf forum gave you the straight story on that.
Just got off the phone with the guy who was offering the 2014 leaf and blamed my decision to abandon that deal on the advice of the folks at the Leaf forum.

The only thing I've found wrong with the Volt so far is the heated seats had stopped working. I had the dealership look into it and they said they had ordered a replacement module. However, when I got in the car, the heated seats were working. I gather they were able to pull a code and discovered an anomaly and the part is on order and they'll call me to bring it in for the service at no charge.

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Congrats! I wouldn't hesitate buying a used Volt. After seeing the mileage rack up on them on Volt Stats, especially Sparkie, I have no worries about the Voltec system. https://www.voltstats.net/
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I couldn't remember 'sparkie's name but his video on youtube marking 400,000 miles was one of the things I reviewed. I also saw the stats at voltstats and looked at the Georgia stats with particular care.
 

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I really didn't embellish much :) BTW: the community site I run is based on a forum and my posting history goes back to the forums on the original compuserve. Overall, including my own forums, I must have at least as many posts as I have miles on the Volt I bought.

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I do take a little umbrage at the notion that used cars are broken.
I think there was a typo and DonC meant "(If) the used car was broken" not that all used cars are broken. My 2011 Volt is certainly used, but not broken. Then again, it's not for sale, it's a keeper :)
 

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I think there was a typo and DonC meant "(If) the used car was broken" not that all used cars are broken.
That's why I used the qualifier 'little' in relation to umbrage. On my part it was more a transition to the value of cars in the used market being based more on supply and demand. I think, in that light, the perceived mechanical and electronic complexity of EVs because they are different, are impacting the demand for these vehicles in the used market. I mean among the 'problems' with the HHR I had that was wrecked was the connection between the radio and speakers was faulty lending a regular Joe to surmise; if they can't even build a radio that works ten years ... how are they going to make the wheels go with 'lectricity?

Reliability and practicality, for instance, were behind the enduring popularity of the 1955 Bel-Air and that reputation inflated the used value continued through '57 and was renewed with the '64 model Impala. I think, considering its likely place in automotive history, your 2011 Volt may end up falling in the classic Chevy mode of those models and in 40 years, may be collectible. I'm kind of surprised you don't post the last four digits of the PIN that appear on your screen :)

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You've got to stick to your guns and be prepared to walk away (which I did on another Volt). I did stick to it and got my 2013 for $5,000 (Cdn) under the asking price which was in line with other dealer offerings on comparable used Volts. Part of the factor may have been there is no Volt dealer local and you have to go 30 miles away on either side to get to one.
 
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