Nationwide Availability Means Chevrolet Bolt Has Outsold Chevrolet Volt Two Months Running

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
nationwide availability means chevrolet bolt has outsold chevrolet volt two months

August 2017 marked the second consecutive month in which the Chevrolet Bolt, GM’s all-electric hatchback, generated more U.S. sales than the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s range-extended electric liftback.

Now available across America, the Chevrolet Bolt produced its best sales month to date in August.

The Chevrolet Volt, meanwhile, suffered its fifth consecutive month of decline.

Bolt > Volt?

Launched in late 2016, the Chevrolet Bolt was initially available only in California and Oregon. By spring, GM had added Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington. Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont, were scheduled next. With 32 more states added for a full slate, Bolt volume rose to 2,107 units in August, 54-percent greater than its monthly average through July.

Though certainly not yet a common car, 2,107 August sales made the Chevrolet Bolt more popular than the Audi A3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Ford Flex, Chevrolet Spark, Mazda CX-9, Ford C-Max, and Jaguar F-Pace, among many others. Bolt sales were also 83 percent stronger than U.S. sales of the Nissan Leaf, now operating at the end of its first-generation’s tenure.

“There simply isn’t an affordable long-range alternative at the moment,” GM spokesperson Jim Cain (no relation) told TTAC this morning. The Chevrolet Bolt has an EPA-rated range of 238 miles; the Nissan Leaf is now rated at 107 miles.

As for the Chevrolet Volt, the second-generation of GM’s range-extended EV — known typically as a plug-in hybrid — is not just losing out to the Chevrolet Bolt but also to the increasingly popular Toyota Prius Prime. Year-to-date, the Volt leads the Prius Prime by 738 sales, but the Prius Prime has outsold the Volt in four of the last five months.

With the Volt losing market share to the Prius Prime while also losing limelight to the Bolt, Volt sales have fallen 19 percent during the last five months. That’s a meaningful slide for a car that climbed to its highest annual total ever in calendar year 2016.

From GM’s perspective, Jim Cain says the Volt continues to perform well. With the Bolt and Volt — an either/or proposition — Chevrolet’s lineup differs from Toyota, which is currently hybrid-focused, and Nissan, which is currently EV-focused. Offering the suddenly less popular Volt alongside the Bolt is helpful, “because it offers its own solution to range anxiety,” Cain says.

Neither car makes a strong suggestion that mass EV adoption is upon us — plug-in hybrids and pure electrics generated just 1 percent of U.S. auto sales in August. But as EV ranges extend, range-extended hybrids such as the Volt may lose their appeal more rapidly than originally expected.

Chevrolet sold 196,007 new vehicles in August 2017. General Motors sold 275,552, an 8-percent improvement. Included in those totals were 3,552 Bolts and Volts. estimates Tesla sold 2,100 copies of the Model S plus 1,700 Model Xs and 70 Model 3s.

[Image: Chevrolet]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Speed3 Speed3 on Sep 06, 2017

    I was in the Bay Area over Labor Day weekend and saw a TON of Bolts. I definitely did not expect to see so many, especially because the only Chevys you see there are Camaros or Corvettes.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 06, 2017

    Dough DeMuro has a good review on the Bolt. For the money the Bolt offers a lot more than any electric vehicle. If I were to get an electric vehicle I would get a Bolt.

    • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 13, 2017

      If it weren't for those godforsaken front seats, I'd own one right now. In fairness, the forum guys seem to have figured out how to fix the problem. It requires little more than pulling back the seat bottom cover, slipping in a sheet of high density foam, and securing the cover again.

  • BEPLA "Quality is Job........well, it's someone's job, but it's not our job.Neither is building vehicles that people actually want or need.We only build what's most profitable. If only someone would buy our 97 day supply of SuperDutys."
  • Bullnuke One might ask the reason that auto manufacturers desire its removal , knowing that an AM radio receiver portion of an "infotainment system" is a relatively tiny IC chip and exceedingly inexpensive to include. I remember constructing a simple AM receiver as a kid using a crystal, a variable capacitor, a toilet paper tube wrapped in bare copper wire, and a diode that could pick up AM stations from several miles away. A simple research of the pros/cons of AM vs FM may be instructive. Noise and static is a common issue (some of us older folks remember interference with the AM band from breaker-point ignition systems from times gone by and the methods to mitigate it). Is the push toward electrification reintroducing the electrical interference problem to the AM band that is expensively difficult to mitigate? Is the fact that AM, as imperfect as it may be, has a much longer signal "reach" than FM? The automobile industry Borg does nothing without a long term plan for greater and greater control of the vehicle that you pay for but do not truly own. The push to remove AM receivers from the vehicles that the meat puppets purchase but do not truly own indicates that there is, indeed, much more to this story...
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  • Oberkanone AM Radio forever! Fully support government mandate to require AM in vehicles.