Republican Representative Mike Kelly is up for reelection for the great state of Pennsylvania. Prior to being elected to public office Kelly ran a Chevy dealership that has been family owned since 1953. Kelly took ownership of the dealership in 1995, expanding its operations to include Hyundai and Kia.
The Anti-Chevy Dealer
Encouraged to run for office during the American auto bail out, an action that saw the death of many dealerships around the nation, Representative Kelly recently said at hearings on government fuel economy ratings some eyebrow raising comments about the Chevy Volt:
“I’m a Chevrolet dealer… we have a Chevy Volt on the lot, it’s been there now for four weeks. We’ve had one person come in to look at it, just to see what it actually looks like… Here’s a car that costs $45,763. I can stock that car for probably a year and then have to sell it at some ridiculous price. By the way, I just received some additional information from Chevrolet: in addition to the $7,500 [federal] tax credit, Pennsylvania is going to throw another $3,500 to anybody foolish enough to buy one of these cars, somehow giving them $11,000 of taxpayer money to buy this Volt.”
“When you look at this, it makes absolutely no sense. I can stock a Chevy Cruze, which is about a $17,500 car and turns every 30 to 40 days out of inventory… or I can have a Volt, which never turns and creates nothing for me on the lot except interest costs… So a lot of these things that we’re seeing going on have a tremendous economic impact on people who are being asked to stock them and sell them. There is no market for this car. I do have some friends who have sold them, and they’re mostly to people who have an academic interest in it, or municipalities who are asking to buy these cars.”
As for the Chevy Volt being a green job creator, well not for Kelly:
“I can tell you… as far as job creation, the guy who ordered that Volt for my store is no longer in that job. So it actually worked against him. I was told that the reason that car is on our lot is that General Motors told him he had to stock it. I said ‘let me understand. I told you that under no circumstances were you to order a Volt,’ and he said ‘yeah.’ ‘So, why did you order it?’ ‘Because General Motors told me.’ ‘Is this the same General Motors that tried to take my Cadillac franchise from me? These are the guys you’re listening to, but the guy who signs your paycheck doesn’t have as much influence as the guys who tried to take away the franchise?’”
Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl was present at the hearing and chimed in on the Congressman’s statements saying,
“First of all, to Mr Kelly, send that Volt to California! It doesn’t have to stay on your lot, because there is a waiting list in my district, at my Chevrolet dealership, of six months to get a Chevy Volt.”
Kelly replied to Mr. Anwyl saying,
“Give me the name of the dealer, and I’ll send it out there right away. If he’ll pick up the transportation cost, I’d love to do that.”
A call to the Representative’s office yielded a “no comment” response and that the Representative is currently focusing on his reelection campaign. The Representative’s Congressional Office phone number is 202-225-5406 and his reelection campaign website can be found here.
Testing The Waters
With no results coming from the Representative’s office, it was decided that the next course of action would be to test Representative Mike Kelly’s claim that there is no market for the Volt by calling and speaking to a number of Chevy dealerships including some in the Congressman’s home state of Pennsylvania.
The questions were non partisan, straight forward, and simple: Have you sold your Volts? Are people coming to your dealership to see the Volt? Is having the Volt on your lot helping, hurting, or not affecting your business at all?
The calls yielded some interesting results:
“There are a lot of gawkers,” is what one manager of a Chevy dealership said – however, the manager was quick to add that all of their Volt pre-orders had been sold, and that particular dealership had already sold five Volts that had not been pre ordered.
Every dealership I spoke to had a demo Volt on the lot, as well as one or two Volts that had not been pre-orders, and were ready to sell to consumers. Those new Volts ready to sell had been at the dealerships for only a few weeks and all of the managers expected them to leave soon.
Perhaps Representative Kelly’s dealership knows something about the future of the Volt that other car dealerships, including some dealerships in Pennsylvania, do not. Or, perhaps Representative Kelly’s dealership does not have the crack sales team that all of the dealerships we spoke to seem to have – after all every dealership called said their Volts are selling well.
Overall, the consensus from all the dealerships called is that the Volt is a new vehicle, many of the pre-orders have just left the dealerships and the new non pre-orders have just arrived — it is simply way too early to say if there is a market for the Volt or not.
Unless you are Congressman Kelly, that is.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.