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Chevrolet Volt Resale Value Set at $17,000 after Three Years

Posted: May 18, 2011 10:43 a.m.

With gas prices up, hybrid and electric vehicles look like great options for savvy consumers who want to save money at the pump. But according to Kelley Blue Book, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will be worth just $17,000 after 36 months of ownership – a significant drop from its $41,000 sticker price. “Despite all the hype and multiple Car of the Year honors, Volt retains only 42% of its original value after three years of ownership -- a lower percentage than a 2011 Toyota Prius hybrid (46%) but more than a 2011 Ford Focus (37.5),” reports USA Today.

The Volt’s projected resale is based on gas prices staying around $4 per gallon, but if gas prices continue to rise the Volt’s used car value could go up as well.

Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting at Kelley Blue Book told Automotive News that while the Volt’s projected residual value seems low, the first 200,000 Volts sold qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which basically drops the sticker price to $33,500. Automotive News comments, “Using that number, KBB's projection means the Volt will keep 51 percent of its value, better than some rivals.”

Not all of the automotive press thinks that the tax credit should be factored in to the Volt’s projected resale value. “As we see it, factoring in the $7,500 tax credit is crazy, but we'll let you guys and gals debate that,” writes Autoblog. “KBB expects to set residuals for the... $32,780 Nissan Leaf, which also qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit, later this year.”

Automotive News says that projected resale values for cars like the Volt and the Toyota Prius “have been hurt by an expected wave of smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles that will be launched this year and next.” Nevertheless, Ibara says that the Volt "has new technology that is going to be attractive to people looking for a three-year-old vehicle."

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