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by Tim Beissmann

General Motors has cut US$5000 ($5600) from the Chevrolet Volt in the US to combat aggressive pricing from its electric rivals.

Available later this month, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt will start at US$34,995 ($38,900), including an US$810 ($900) destination fee. The price can fall as low as US$27,495 ($30,600) with federal tax credits factored in, making it almost half the price of the Holden Volt sold in Australia, which starts at $59,990 before on-road costs.

The price cut follows similar reductions from the Volt’s key rivals in the US. Nissan slashed US$6400 ($7100) from the base price of its all-electric Leaf in January, bringing it down to US$28,800 ($32,000), while last month Ford cut US$4000 ($4500) from its Focus Electric, which now costs from US$35,200 ($39,200).

Federal tax credits see prices fall to as low as US$21,300 ($23,700) for the Leaf and US$27,700 ($30,800) for the Focus.

Leaf sales have more than tripled in the US this year to 11,703 on the back of the price cut, helping it take a narrow lead over the Volt, which has increased just nine per cent this year to 11,643 units to the end of July.

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Holden sold eight Volts in Australia in July, taking its total 2013 sales to 75 following the car’s launch at the end of last year. Nissan has sold 89 Leaf EVs in Australia so far this year, including 50 since May when the company introduced a $39,990 driveaway pricing offer, cutting more than $10,000 from its usual $51,500 list price.

Chevrolet US sales and service vice president Don Johnson said the company was able to reduce the price of the Volt partially because it has “made great strides in reducing costs as we gain experience with electric vehicles and their components”.

Despite this, Holden public relations senior manager Andrew Matthews said the local division had “no specific plans” to cut Volt prices for our market at this stage, but said the company continued to look at the positioning of all its vehicles.




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