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Beware Chevy Volt price gouging

Reports surface of dealers planning to charge large premiums in addition to GM's $41,000 price tag.

Some General Motors dealers across the U.S. have been attempting to profit from would-be early adopters of the Chevy Volt by tacking on high premiums.

In the last few days, car sites have become awash with anecdotal complaints about various dealerships telling interested buyers they will have to pay more than the price GM announced in July if they want one of the first run cars.

Chevy Volt
Chevy Volt General Motors

The most egregious example reportedly took place at one Southern California Chevy dealership, which unwittingly told an staffer via e-mail that he would have to pay $20,000 in addition to the $41,000 MSRP for a Chevy Volt, according to's AutoObserver.

The quote is in contrast to GM's July announcement that it recommends the Chevy Volt should be offered for $41,000, and also made available through a 36-month lease for $350 per month with $2,500 down at signing. The electric extended-range car also qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit which essentially brings the long-term cost down to $33,500.

The practice of charging a premium for a popular car that will initially be offered in limited supply is, of course, within the legal right of any dealership. GM is, in fact, only releasing 10,000 of its plug-in extended-range electric vehicles in 2011. That makes the Volt a pretty hot ticket item for dealers otherwise struggling in a tough economy.

The U.S. automaker is not taking kindly to the bad press some of its dealerships are generating.

General Motors spokesman Rob Peterson told the Detroit Free Press that GM urges customers to contact other dealers for more quotes if presented with a premium charge above sticker price.

""We don't control any pricing at the dealership. However, we have suggested strongly that they keep prices in line with what we have offered," Peterson said.

GM also said in July that it plans to release 45,000 Volts in 2012, instead of the originally planned run of 30,000.