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With high demand, the available inventory of Bolt EVs in the San Francisco area is virtually zero. I've also tried calling dealers in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The *one* area dealer who has some stock is in such a strong position, he won't even tell me what specific cars he has, or talk about price, unless I go visit in person. My only pricing data point is another dealer offering a flat $3500 for buying an "in transit" vehicle that will be delivered in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I see multiple people here buying Bolts in Maryland for $8000 off MSRP. And by pure coincidence, I'm going to be visiting friends in Washington DC for a few days next week. I could buy a Bolt from a Maryland dealer, drive it for a couple of days while I'm there, and then arrange to ship it home. Even with a $1000 shipping fee, I would still come out $5500 ahead.

Is this crazy? I'm trying to decide if it's worth the risk and hassle:

- spending a day of my vacation at a car dealer, instead of with family and friends
- risk that car prices might suddenly change, or I might not be able to get $8000 off MSRP in Maryland
- risk that the car might be damaged during shipping
- hassle of arranging shipping
- hassle of registering a car in California that was purchased out of state
- my wife thinks this is stupid

If you were me, would you do this? It has all the makings of a good story...
 

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With high demand, the available inventory of Bolt EVs in the San Francisco area is virtually zero. I've also tried calling dealers in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The *one* area dealer who has some stock is in such a strong position, he won't even tell me what specific cars he has, or talk about price, unless I go visit in person. My only pricing data point is another dealer offering a flat $3500 for buying an "in transit" vehicle that will be delivered in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I see multiple people here buying Bolts in Maryland for $8000 off MSRP. And by pure coincidence, I'm going to be visiting friends in Washington DC for a few days next week. I could buy a Bolt from a Maryland dealer, drive it for a couple of days while I'm there, and then arrange to ship it home. Even with a $1000 shipping fee, I would still come out $5500 ahead.

... ...

If you were me, would you do this? It has all the makings of a good story...
I think it is a great idea, save the money!
BTW The Paso Robles dealer had on left a few days ago.
 

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I have been watching Autotrader this month. For the last week or so, I haven't seen much drop in the numbers available within 500 miles of San Diego. But the numbers within 500 miles of central Virginia, have been dropping every few hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Numbers of vehicles in stock, you mean? I don't believe the Autotrader numbers. It shows several dealers near San Francisco that supposedly have Bolts available, but when I call the dealer, they don't have any. I think Autotrader is including "in transit" cars, or demo units not for sale, or just has old stale data.
 

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If you were me, would you do this? It has all the makings of a good story...
I have mentioned this strategy before here. The last 4 cars I have purchased over the past 8 years have all been:
A. Pre-owned.
B. From "Branded" major dealerships at least 600 miles away, up to 1880 miles away (Ford, GM, Hyundai - never private party or shade-tree used car lots).
C. Sight (physically) unseen - always have the Internet sales manager take 30 pics w/his cell phone and email to me the day I speak to them on the phone.
D. (except for one) had remaining manufacturer warranty.
E. (except for one) were inspected by another local dealer on my dime.
F. Shipped using various auto transport brokerages I arranged - having both the local sales person and the driver shoot cellphone video of the vehicle being put on the carrier.

One carrier dented the roof of a vehicle, and their insurance immediately covered the damage. Never had any problems with these cars out of the ordinary. I saved at least $20,000 overall vs. what my local pre-owned market was getting for the same vehicles.

What's a high-demand popular vehicle in one area of the country is a low-demand slow-seller in another that a dealer can't get rid of fast enough. I don't think there is one Chevy dealer in the South (excluding some parts of Florida) that has ever seen a Bolt, much less had one on their lot. But many maintain 700 - 1000 pickup trucks in inventory at all times.

I wouldn't blink twice if I were buying a New Car from a dealer 2500 miles away. Cars are commodities. There is no difference in buying a new car locally, then moving across country the following day with it - than buying it for the lowest cost (+shipping) from a dealer 2500 miles away.

Most consumers no longer go to a brick & mortar bookstore to buy a book, or a laptop, or electronic gadgets, or even clothes. Other than test driving a car, IMO a local dealership offers ZERO value if they refuse to price match.
 

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I've bought cars and boats from out of state... never had a problem with transporting them back home. As a matter of fact, the attentive U-Ship transport driver alerted me to a undisclosed defect on a boat I purchased from a non-profit org. I was compensated for the defect before the boat even arrived at my home :D

If transporting this time of year with all the road salt, etc... spend a few extra $$ and go with an enclosed transport vs. open.
 

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- my wife thinks this is stupid

If you were me, would you do this? It has all the makings of a good story...
Your wife just thinks it is stupid OR she thinks it is stupid and against it? (big difference)
Driving your new Bolt home would make for an even better story

NY has some good deals but not many Bolts left
http://www.hoseltonchevrolet.com/rochester-chevy-specials

Likely obvious, but I would just confirm that whatever deal you get is not resident dependent. (NY deal is)
Have fun and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hmm, we'll see! My wife's not against it, but she thinks shipping a car 2500 miles is not worth the effort. The car is actually for her, so I'm just an interested bystander. :)

I guess my biggest concern is paperwork. I don't want to end up with Maryland registration or plates that then need to be transferred. Don't want to somehow end up paying sales tax twice (California charges sales tax on any car brought into the state with under 7500 miles). And definitely don't want to somehow jeopardize getting the all-important HOV lane stickers, if there's some hidden footnote that only cars purchased in California qualify.

I've also never arranged for car transport, so I'm not sure how difficult that might be, or if there will be problems because I won't be physically there when the car is loaded.

How would I make payment to an out-of-area dealer? Wire them money? Fed-Ex a personal check?

Fremont Chevy offered me $2000 off MSRP for a Bolt LT, but I'm looking for the Premier. I never got an answer when I asked for a Premier quote, so I assumed they don't have any, but I'll ask again. $2000 off isn't very exciting though - I'd prefer the other local dealer who offered $3500 off for an in-transit car to be delivered in a couple of weeks. Or $8000 off for a Maryland car, if that's still possible.
 

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How would I make payment to an out-of-area dealer? Wire them money? Fed-Ex a personal check?


Lets take the above 2017 Premier for example. Advertised at $7879 off MSRP. This Bolt is almost 2300 miles away from your doorstep.

More than likely, the $7879 off MSRP includes some additional incentives you may not qualify for. Perhaps GM leasing loyalty, or GM employee discount for everybody, etc. You may indeed qualify for everything. You will have to do your calling to see what your real price is. Also, all dealerships that I have ever dealt with tack on a "transport fee" (not the transport to you, but what it cost them to have the car transported from the GM factory to them) and a processing fee for new cars.

So lets say your final price is $35,500 excluding fees. Add $1,000 for the transit and processing fees, and your grand total excluding tax and registration is $36,500. The dealer would then calculate the sales tax for the zip code the car will be registered to - as they will be collecting that tax for the State of California. If it's 8.5%, add $3102.50 and the total with taxes is $39,602.50. They will be emailing you a invoice for this amount. You can choose to send them certified funds via FedEX, or wire transfer. If you will finance, your finance company will handle it.

Once they get their payment, you own a Bolt sitting on their lot...2300 miles away with temporary registration. You will need to INSURE it and either fly there and drive it back, or contact a highly reputable auto transport broker. The cost from the dealer lot to your door at that distance will be around $1,000 and may take 10 days to arrive. You pay the broker about $300 at time of contract, and you pay the driver $700 *cash* when the Bolt is delivered to your door.

Total out-the-door cost to you is: $40,602.50

Once delivered, you just have to go to DMV and register it.

Before you make that commit, and after you have received the final sale invoice paperwork...I would physically take that that paperwork around to a few local dealer Sales Managers, and give them an opportunity to match it. "Match this price, and I will CLOSE right now, or I will go to another dealer that will." Remember you have $1,000 worth of transport cost above that invoice to negotiate with.

I'm pretty sure you will qualify for the $7500 Fed Tax Credit...if you can take advantage of it. Not sure about all of the other California specific incentives. I would think that if the Bolt is initially registered and titled in California, you should get those as well.

This all probably seems like a lot of hoops to jump through, but if it saves you $ three or four thousand dollars or more vs. a local dealerships total out-the-door cost, it may be worth it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Shotel, thank you for this very detailed answer. It's a big help!

It's difficult to estimate how much I might save, because I haven't found any local dealers that actually have the car in stock and are willing to quote a specific price. My best guess is I could get $2000 to $3000 off MSRP for a Bolt Premier if I could find one here. So with a $1000 shipping fee, I would save about $4000 to $5000 by buying on the East Coast.

I looked into the HOV lane sticker application, and a car purchased out of state should be fine. The other tax credits should be fine too. I would have to visit the California DMV in person for registration, which would eat a few hours of my time, but I can live with that.

Shipping remains as the big unknown. I don't really want to spend a week driving the Bolt coast to coast, though it would make a good story!

I'll sleep on this, and maybe call a Maryland dealer tomorrow. No matter what, I'll be going to Washington DC on January 2, and I'll bring my checkbook. Meanwhile I've also signed up at roadster.com, which is a car concierge service that can supposedly find me the best deal in California for a Bolt, with a $295 fee if I decide to buy through them.

By the way, I'm not sure if Maryland necessarily has the best Bolt deals right now - I just happened to see two recent Maryland buyers in the other thread who got close to $8000 off MSRP. If anybody knows another region that currently has similar deals, please let me know.
 

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Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Frederick, Maryland (www.fitzmall.com)., has 6 Bolts in stock. That's where I bought mine. Ask for Hani Aranca in sales. Good luck.
Bought my blue Bolt at Fitzgerald Auto Mall also. Since I had done my homework, it took less than 2 hours, including a test drive, to seal the deal. They were fair, but I did not get anywhere near $8K off back in May. I drove it home across 350 miles of DCFC-less roads, stopping at two Chevy dealers (each of which had 16 amp 206 volt EVSE labeled Level 2 on PlugShare)!! I had to charge for 7 hours at the first dealer and 14 hours at the second. I was anticipating 25 range miles per charging hour, but only got ~10.

GM would not allow FAM to title/license it in WV (only MD, PA, VA, DC) so I had to title it in MD and (after MD paperwork arrived here 2 months later) transfer title to WV. I did NOT have to pay sales tax twice. I also had someone check on the Federal tax credit (only for NEW vehicles), which was not affected by the "title transfer" event.

I say, "Go for it"!
 

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I purchased mine a Chriswell in Gaithersburg. I'd suggest pre-negotiating everything first including the shipping...It might be more than you expect. If I can help you with anything. PM me...I'm in Gaithersburg/Darnsetown
 

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I live in San Jose, California. I started looking for an Arctic Blue Bolt LT just after Thanksgiving. I was completely naive about the availability of the Bolt. Since this is a large metropolitan area, there are a number of dealers in my area. I went to one close to my home and inquired about a test drive. The salesman basically laughed at me, explaining that not only did they have ZERO stock, there was a long backorder on all Bolts, and none of the other dealers in the Bay Area had any Bolts either. They asked for a refundable $500 deposit, but couldn't give me a delivery date. I told them I wanted to get in on the 'employee pricing', the Costco card deal and get the tax rebate on my 2017 taxes, so I needed to purchase the car by December 31. After more than a week of trading e-mails and getting no commitment from them, the sales guy finally admitted that they could not get me a Bolt in 2017.

So I picked up my phone on the morning of December 11 and called another local dealer, who I drive by every day on my way home from work. The sales guy said 'Come on down, we have your Bolt'. I got there as fast as traffic laws would allow. I drove off the lot in my shiny new Arctic Blue Bolt LT four hours later. It seems a truckload of them arrived the day before. This dealer didn't take deposits, and did business on a first come first served basis. I was incredibly lucky. There were two other Bolts on the lot when I arrived that morning: they too were purchased before I left the dealership in my new Bolt.

Perhaps working your phone will help your luck. Not all dealers follow the same protocol for sales of popular cars. In California, most of the extra doodads on the Premier aren't worth much. We don't need heated seats or steering wheels, esp. in San Diego. I did get the Supercharger option on my Bolt LT, which may prove useful some day.

If you buy a car out of state, you still have to pay the California sales tax, which is substantial: 8.5% to 9.25%, depending on where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So I picked up my phone on the morning of December 11 and called another local dealer, who I drive by every day on my way home from work. The sales guy said 'Come on down, we have your Bolt'. I got there as fast as traffic laws would allow. I drove off the lot in my shiny new Arctic Blue Bolt LT four hours later.
Congratulations Glen! I'm just a short distance up 101 from you, in San Mateo county.

Can I ask what price you paid for your Bolt relative to MSRP? I still don't have much info on real pricing locally, so I'm unsure exactly how much of a savings it would be to buy and ship from the East Coast. The only data I have is one local dealer who said $3500 off MSRP for an in-transit Bolt, and another dealer who said he couldn't go that low for an in-stock Bolt.
 

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Momentum Chevy in San Jose claims to have 139 Bolts in stock (via their website). Are you saying that they really don’t?
 
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