Largest U.S. Dealership Chain Announces 'Zero-Tolerance' Price Gouging Policy for EVs

· · 10 years ago

With an informal survey suggesting that nearly a quarter of Chevy Volt dealers plan to charge more than $10,000 above MSRP—and one dealer expecting a $20,000 markup—it's nice to see a white knight step up and promise to play nice. AutoNation—which controls 272 dealerships nationwide, including 27 Chevrolet dealers and 24 Nissan dealers—has announced a zero-tolerance policy toward price gouging on early EVs.

Edmunds is reporting that AutoNation's Marc Cannon, who heads communications and public policy for the company, has assured them that letters have been sent out to all relevant dealerships warning that any markup above MSRP will result in "immediate termination."

That's good news for early Volt and LEAF customers, many of whom have been waiting for years to bring home a plug-in but could be priced out of the market thanks to high demand and limited supply. And since AutoNation is the largest auto retailer in the U.S. (with dealerships spread across 15 states,) the impact of this announcement could potentially effect other dealerships' plans. Chevy and Nissan have both said that they will strongly encourage their dealers to sell the Volt and LEAF at MSRP, but now that a major retail chain has come through and promised to do just that, the carmakers have the option of diverting cars to those dealerships to help head off such a practice.

One lingering concern though is that dealers could still tack on special options packages to force buyers to pay for expensive add-ons that they normally wouldn't want. So while at face value, AutoNation's announcement is great news for consumers, will it just lead to a slew of mandatory triple poly-coated floor mat weatherizing packages? We'll just have to wait and see.

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