Chevrolet won't slash Bolt price as $7,500 tax credit expires

Buyers will only be able to claim $3,750 starting on April 1.

As of writing, most Chevrolet Bolt buyers are eligible to claim a $7,500 tax credit awarded by the federal government for the purchase of an electric car. That amount will drop to $3,750 on Monday, April 1, because General Motors entered the planned phase-out period when it sold its 200,000th EV. The Bolt will consequently cost more, and Chevrolet confirmed it's not planning on reducing its base price.

"It is easier to react to the market by working with dealers and your marketing team than it is to change sticker prices," explained Chevrolet spokesman Jim Cain when asked by Reuters why the firm decided not to make the Bolt cheaper. His comments suggest the Bolt will continue to carry a base price of $36,620, but dealers will place more cash on the hood to compensate for the lower tax credit. As of writing, Chevrolet offers an incentive that corresponds to about 14 percent of the Bolt's price.

Rival Tesla adopted a different strategy. It was the first automaker to enter the planned phase-out period; the last day customers could claim the full $7,500 amount was December 31, 2018. Instead of offering incentives, it reduced the price of its cars by about $2,000 in January 2019 to keep their cost in check.

We're not surprised Chevrolet won't reduce the Bolt's price. In February, General Motors CEO Mary Barra admitted the company is selling its electric hatchback at a loss, and she doesn't expect battery-powered models to make money until the first part of the 2020s at the earliest. In spite of that, General Motors plans to release at least 20 electric cars by 2023.

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