Militant Rants

Volt Tax Credit Scam?

by Aaron Turpen, EVMeme

Some Republican at the National Legal and Policy Center wrote a blog about how Chevy dealers are ripping off the taxpayer by buying and selling Volts to one another to gain the tax credit.  They then lie to their customers that the credit is available and pocket the money themselves.  Sound like something these price gougers would do?  Of course it does.

On its face..

In reality, it’s hogwash.  The NLPC article was about partisan politics, not about reality.  The reality is that, much as I hate to admit it, most Volt dealers are on the up-and-up in regards to the tax incentives.  I won’t go into the incentives themselves, since that’s a horse that’s been beaten to death.  Nor will I re-mention the huge subsidies that Government Motors gets for this car’s production.  Instead, let’s just focus on how the NLPC and their GOP sponsors are full of crap and (for the first time in history) the DNC-lead green tax rebate hippies are correct.

All of this is cleared up nicely in an Auto Observer article from John O’Dell.  He writes:

The article also argues — without presenting a shred of evidence — that dealers who do buy Volts may be abusing the public trust by glomming onto the federal tax credit for themselves rather than letting regular retail customers get the benefit, which is the intent of the program. This would require the dealers to buy and register the cars in their own names and then sell them as used cars. If it is a problem, it isn’t a very big one. Our search of the major on-line auto sales listings found only 20 used Volts being advertised nationally. Hardly the stuff of conspiracy. While many dealerships are declining to talk to the media about the situation — hoping, no doubt, that it will all blow over – several have shared their used Volt tales.

Jim Ellis Chevrolet is in Atlanta isn’t in the initial Volt launch area, so dealers there can’t get the cars from GM yet. Despite that, Ellis general manager Mark Frost told a The New York Times reporter, the dealership already has 32 orders for Volts and has bought two of the cars from a dealer in New York to use as demonstrators while it waits until it can order directly from the factory. Two Jim Ellis employees went to New York to buy the new Volts — posing as regular customers — and applied for the tax credits in their own names, Frost said. They kept the cars registered in their own names for three months, then sold them to the Ellis dealership at full price, he told the newspaper. Because they were previously registered cars when Jim Ellis Chevrolet bought them, the dealership was not eligible to apply for another tax credit. Frost said that when the dealership eventually sells the two Volts the buyers will be told they won’t be eligible for the tax credit either.

O’Dell brings up other evidence and cites more questions as to how or why this “scam” would be profitable to the dealership to start with.  In the end, the NLPC article is shown to be pure hokum based on partisan pot stirring.

You gotta love election time.  Everyone’s looking for an angle to screw the other guy.  What a country!