The 2012 Chevrolet Volt will receive the Holy Grail of California’s highway commuting status: An HOV-lane sticker enabling its driver(s) to occupy the carpool lane.
This is an important development for a car that hasn’t exactly burned with consumer interest. Toyota’s wildly successful Prius has become, despite its egg-like shape and meager acceleration, a cultural phenomenon in Southern California, primarily as a result of the HOV-lane sticker perk it received for close to a decade. Clearly, Chevrolet is hoping the benefit will positively fuel sales of its own plug-in hybrid.
In 2011, without the HOV-lane sticker in California, Chevrolet sold 7671 Volts, and about 25-percent of those in the Golden State. By comparison, the Toyota Prius sold more than double the Volt’s yearend number in December alone, and 136,463 total in 2011. And while the Prius no longer enjoys HOV-lane privileges for single occupants, it still looks like, well… a Prius. In California at least, consumer interest for the Volt’s car’ish design cues could positively explode, especially with the $7500 federal and $1500 state tax rebate.
“We think that the second wave of Volt buyers will probably look more closely at the fact that it has an HOV sticker,” said Christopher Leggio, co-owner of three Chevy stores east of Los Angeles. “That’s huge in California.”
The new Volts, which have a reconfigured exhaust system to further reduce tailpipe pollutants, will arrive in California showrooms by March, just in time for the southland’s summer sizzle.
Source: Automotive News