Today we said goodbye to our third, and last, Chevy Volt. My wife has loved the car so much, we've leased three Volts: in 2012, 2015, and 2018.
It seemed like a good idea to lease, rather than buy, given the steady improvements in battery performance. (The Volt is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that switches over to a gas engine/generator after about 45-50 miles of all-electric driving.)
But we didn't anticipate that we'd buy a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to replace our 2014 Highlander -- which came to seem like too large a car for our tastes. Plus it had zero safety features that we've come to rely on, like blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alerts, and such.
Having 20 payments left on our three-year Volt lease through GM Financial, our first thought was for Laurel to switch between driving the RAV4 and Volt. However, the more Laurel drove the RAV4, the more she preferred it to the Volt.
Thus our next thought was to get out of the Volt lease. Unfortunately, it was easier to think that thought than to convert it into reality.
In June of this year GM financial gave me a payoff-quote of $29,405. That's how much we'd have to pay to own the Volt. At that time we had 22 lease payments left at $468.82 a month, for a total of $10,314.
So not counting insurance payments of about $40 a month, we figured that if we could find someone to buy our Volt for an amount somewhere upwards of $21,000, it would make sense to sell our car to them -- since if we weren't going to be driving the car much, if at all, paying less than $10,314 to GM Financial (plus whatever the car sold for) would leave us ahead, monetarily.
However, when I took the Volt to our local Chevrolet dealer, they only offered us $19,000 for the Volt -- which was a fully loaded Premier model that had a list price of $40,865.
The guys at the dealership explained that even before Chevy announced the Volt was being discontinued, they had a really hard time selling any. Now, the demand is even less. I told them that it made no sense to accept $19,000, since we'd have to pay over $10,000 more to GM Financial, the same amount of our remaining lease payments.
They agreed that it made no sense to sell the car at that price.
This month, with a couple of additional lease payments made, we did two things. First, I called GM Financial to get another payoff-quote. This time it was $28,629. Then my wife took the Volt to CarMax in Beaverton, Oregon. She got an offer of $21,000, two thousand dollars more than our local Chevrolet dealership had offered.
Not great, since it seemed decidedly weird for the Volt to lose about half of its value in just 16 months. But we went with the offer, since selling the car to CarMax would save us $2,641 in lease and insurance costs, compared to keeping the Volt for the full three-year lease.
Live and learn. Leasing worked well for us the first two times we leased a Volt. Not so good this time.
By the way, I put the car up for sale on Auto Trader for $25,000. We got exactly zero interest in it after a few months. Ditto for a listing on Swapalease.
So I'm pretty confident that the CarMax offer of $21,000 was in the ballpark of fairness, especially since it was more than a Chevrolet dealer was willing to pay for the car, which only had about 8,300 miles on it. Hopefully someone will enjoy our 2018 Volt as much as we did.
(The "Kindness is Contagious" sticker was magnetic and didn't go with the car.)