Whenever a new car draws a lot of attention before its launch, there's always a chance that opportunistic dealers will take advantage of buyers by charging stiff markups over the sticker price.
Toyota guarded against this practice with its LF-A supercar by dictating that all transactions be leases, but it appears Chevrolet has taken no such precaution with the upcoming 2011 Volt battery-electric sedan.
GM announced a base price of $41,000 for the Volt last week, and there are reports that some dealers may be charging up to $20,000 more, due to the limited supply of Volts that will be available in the first group of cars to go on sale.
The company doesn't appear to be thrilled with the practice, but since dealerships are independent entities and not owned by GM, there isn't much that GM can do to stop it. The best thing for customers to do is to shop around and avoid stores that are charging that much over sticker. Waiting for more supply to trickle into the market can also help.
More supply is on the way and soon, since GM has decided to increase production for 2012 by 50 percent, thanks to strong demand. That could also help alleviate the situation.
In the meantime, if you see a Volt advertised for $60,000, consider shopping elsewhere.