By on September 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: ChevroletAugust 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.2017 Chevrolet Volt - Image: ChevroletAs 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. HybridCars.com 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 Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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27 Comments on “Nationwide Availability Means Chevrolet Bolt Has Outsold Chevrolet Volt Two Months Running...”


  • avatar
    stingray65

    How well would the Bolt and Volt sell if they carried a Honda or Toyota/Lexus label? Chevy has really killed their brand when it comes to small car buyers with too many years of lackluster or outright awful small cars going all the way back to the Vega.

    • 0 avatar
      doug-g

      I’d agree. The GM “Mark of Excellence” is practically automotive poison.

    • 0 avatar
      Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

      it’s the dealers that are the problem, well it is for me anyway

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        My Chevy dealer asked me to stop bothering them about buying a Bolt from them.

        They were sending me one of those customer-servicey emails every month saying “is there anything we can do for you?” So, I’d ask if I could pre-order a Bolt.

        They eventually told me that they weren’t planning on carrying the Bolt.

        So I stopped asking if I could buy a car from them.

        I’m eagerly awaiting our Model 3. I’ll just wait a bit for a better car — I’ve already been waiting a decade for my EV, so I’m not sweating a few more months. My local Chevy dealer sure knows how to squander their first mover advantage, though!

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Chevy dealers can opt out of selling electric cars. If they refuse to install a fast-charge station for Bolts and a conventional Level 2 station for Volts, and don’t commit to sending service staff for training, Chevy won’t send them EVs. The good thing about Chevy dealers is there’s a lot of them, so if one dealer has opted out, the one across town has not.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Last week I sat in one at my dealership while having the oil changed. I was impressed, although it was the Premier model. I think I prefer the Volt, however, because it’s a car, not a CUV.

    Who knows?

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      The Bolt is not a CUV, it is a subcompact hatchback.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Compact hatchback, bordering on midsize.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          They gave it the proportions of a Honda Fit for some reason, though.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          The tightly packaged drivetrain, with that super-short front deck, really screws with our preconceived sense of space vs. size. The Bolt offers the midsize-type interior volume of the compact tall-wagon Ford C-Max with an exterior footprint scarcely bigger than the subcompact tall-wagon Honda Fit. Sounds great, except the Bolt feels really narrrow for something so roomy, especially the front seats, which are as hard and narrow as any subcompact’s. Loads of legroom front and back though. The cargo area looks short but it’s tall, especially if you pop out the false cargo floor (you can leave it in if you want a loading area flush with folded-down rear seats).

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Plenty of Bolts are sitting on US dealer lots, while there’s a months-long waiting list in Canada.

    Their product is not nearly as bad as it used to be, but GM still can’t get out of its own way.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Bolt seems to have more usable passenger space, so maybe that helps.

    I suspect the Volt isn’t losing out to the Bolt as much as it is to other ICE cars/CUVs because of cheap gas.

    The Bolt’s surge will probably be temporary.

    • 0 avatar
      tsoden

      Well gas may be cheap out where you are… but it certainly is not cheap up here in Canada… Canada was hit hard especially due to the flooding in Texas…

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Here in Pennsylvania we pay the highest gas tax in the US. My local price is around $2.95 USD, which is a recent jump of about $0.30-40 in the last couple weeks.

        But, I think that’s still cheap compared to the 2008 peak. Corrected for inflation, it’s about the same as in the mid-80s.

        • 0 avatar
          ash78

          $2.50-$3.00 is still really cheap. We hate sudden spikes, that’s for sure. Especially in 2008 when it went from $2-$4 in about a month…no time to adapt.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Here in California it’s even higher. Combination of requirement for cleaner-burning fuel, the gas tax that was finally raised to begin addressing decades of deferred road maintenance, and the jaw-dropping cost of real estate.

  • avatar
    brn

    I read just last week that GM was slowing production, due to an inventory glut. Now I’m hearing that it’s selling well. I’d like the later to be true.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    TTAC: “Nationwide Availability Means Chevrolet Bolt Has Outsold Chevrolet Volt Two Months Running”

    Who cares?
    The Bolt is an inconsequential electric turd that fails to consume fossil fuels properly.
    And it can’t even “get it up” enough to make a decent exhaust noise.
    And it can’t even go 300 miles without looking for refreshment.
    And it can’t even keep its occupants warm in winter.
    And it can’t even..well, you get the idea (^_^).

    =========================

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      It’s a good start, and something I didn’t expect to come from GM. EVs can only improve from the Bolt’s starting point.

      I still don’t get why they made the Volt as a lift-back. If it was an actual hatch or a wagon I’d probably be buying one.

    • 0 avatar
      9Exponent

      It consumes fossil fuels exactly how it’s designed to: frugally.
      How much further than 300 miles to you need to travel without refueling?
      A “proper” exhaust note is entirely subjective. People raised on electric cars will likely consider any ICE to sound odd.
      Fair point about the heating.
      I don’t know what else it is you’re hinting at.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        9Exponent – – –

        9: “It consumes fossil fuels exactly how it’s designed to: frugally.”
        Thats what I’m saying: the engineers mis-designed it. Can’t even consume hydrocarbons like a real car! (^_^)…

        9: “How much further than 300 miles to you need to travel without refueling?”
        200, for a total of 500.

        9: “A “proper” exhaust note is entirely subjective.”
        No, it’s not. Here are some agreed upon (by those who know) proper exhaust notes: listen and learn – – –
        1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_vHNxwRZ7s
        2) http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2017/6/10/Jaguar-F-Type-SVR-Is-So-Loud-It-Can-Create-Art-Just-By-Revving-7739611/
        3) http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2017/6/8/Watch-A-Bugatti-Chiron-Make-Throttle-Blips-Look-Like-Warp-Drive-7739576/
        4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQwmjZ98fbE

        9: “People raised on electric cars will likely consider any ICE to sound odd.”
        People raised in concentration camps will likely consider any type of freedom to be odd, too.

        9: “Fair point about the heating.”
        It was being generous. I certainly could not feel secure in ANY EV driving from Milwaukee to Minneapolis on I-94 at -15 deg F, at 70 MPH. The word,” suicide” comes to mind.

        9: “I don’t know what else it is you’re hinting at.”
        I don’t hint. I say. Here are the criteria for EV vehicles, especially pickup trucks, Americans #1 best selling vehicles, would have to meet to be successful – – –

        EV’s will be neither practical nor accepted for general-use pickup trucks in America for the foreseeable future, because of these factors:
        a) They would need a range of greater than 500 miles while hauling and/or towing.
        b) They must charge fully in 10 minutes or less.
        c) They must cost LESS than a comparable ICE truck.
        d) They must be supported by charging stations all over the country (America).
        e) They must have a supporting electric grid capable of powering more than 25% of all customers who would drive all EV’s (which does not yet exist).
        f) They must not depend on exotic metals like indium and cobalt, which are rare and rapidly depleting.
        g) They must have adequate VERY cold-temperature performance (which they do not now).
        h) They must have a hauling and towing capacity comparable to ICE trucks of the same size and class, AND must haul/tow at that max for at least the same time duration as an ICE truck.

        BTW: Are you an American? What country are you from?
        (Your comments have a vague sense of UK-ishness about them…)

        ===================

  • avatar
    Speed3

    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.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      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.


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