By on July 5, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

As promised by General Motors CEO Mary Barra in March, GM plans to crank out additional Chevrolet Bolts at its Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan later this year. The need for extra output isn’t because of rising sales in the United States, however.

In GM’s second-quarter 2018 sales report, the Bolt’s U.S. tally fell to 3,483 vehicles, down from Q1’s 4,375 deliveries, as well as Q2 2017’s 4,500 units. Last year’s Q2 sales came when the Bolt hadn’t even reached all U.S. markets. No, GM needs more Bolts because other countries want them.

“Demand for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, especially in the United States, Canada and South Korea, has outstripped production,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations, in a statement. “The extra production coming on line should be enough to help us keep growing global Bolt EV sales, rebuild our U.S. dealer inventory and bring us another step closer to our vision of a world with zero emissions.”

The 20-percent boost in Bolt production (compared to the first three quarts of 2018) begins in the fourth quarter of this year. GM estimates its global Bolt sales rose 35 percent in Q2, or 40 percent over the first half of the year. Keep in mind that Bolts were still just trickling out at the beginning of Q1 2017.

As the Bolt soldiers on as the market’s only low-cost, long-range EV (Tesla doesn’t expect entry-level Model 3 deliveries for another 6 to 9 months), the “original” GM electric — the extended-range Chevrolet Volt — sees its sales continue to slide. Second-quarter volume sunk 19.2 percent compared to the same period last year. Year to date, Volt sales have fallen 28.5 percent.

GM seems to know it needs to do something to sweeten the Volt pot. Last week, the automaker announced a host of changes to the 2019 model, among them an available power driver’s seat and other upgraded creature comforts. Most importantly, the 2019 Volt allows users to charge its battery nearly 50 percent faster.

By making it easier to gain a full charge at home or during short stops at public recharging stations, GM feels buyers might think differently of the model, which travels 53 miles on a charge before the gasoline generator takes over electricity production.

[Image: General Motors]

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16 Comments on “As the Chevrolet Bolt’s U.S. Sales Cool Off, GM Readies a Production Boost...”

  • avatar

    If they need to build more Bolts to meet demand, perhaps they can set up a assembly line tent and have management sleep on cots near the line to motivate the workers.

  • avatar

    I wanted to like the Bolt but once I sat behind the wheel of one at the local auto show, it was an instant no sale.

    The interior felt oh so plasticky. And the car was also a lot smaller than I thought it would be (and this coming from a MINI Clubman driver!). Plus the seats seemed uncomfortable (and cheap). It would be a great little runaround for the city but even I like a little more comfort (and leg room).

    • 0 avatar

      Same auto show experience. Cheap inside, weird-feeling seats, and a roof height that seemed to make a Fit feel like a chopped rod from the ‘50s!

      One thing I liked about the GMs was the fitment of LED interior lighting across the entire range. Nice and bright, no glare.

  • avatar

    Low cost? I like the Bolt but just last week took a quick look at one on a local chevy lot. 38 Grand was the sticker for the model they had with cloth seats. I like cloth seats but for that kind of coin I’d expect much more content. I’m sure the forced taxpayer subsidy would lower the cost but low cost? Not in my book.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s basically a $20k car with a $20k battery under the floor. For me the deal breaker is that Tesla is the only player that has meaningfully addressed the “long trip” use case, by way of their Supercharger network.

  • avatar

    The black one pictured reminds me a lot of my 05 Aveo. Similar lines and shape.
    I called it “the Pirate car”.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Available power driver’s seat? Ooooh, luxury.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Demand for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, especially in the United States, Canada and South Korea, has outstripped production,”

    I call BS: Bolt US inventory is exactly 2 months’ supply. His statement might be true for other locales, but not the US. The Bolt is a fine car, but it’s being crushed by a more expensive car whose name rhymes with “Model T”.

  • avatar

    Lack of demand is down to lack of advertising and promotion. There are enough early adopters of means to warrant better sales, even if GM is competing with Tesla and other EV manufacturers.

    GM must have concluded that the cost of national advertising campaigns and promotions was more expensive than chucking $10,000 on the Bolt’s hood to get them moving, and improve the companies CAFE performance.

    We’re living in strange times. Prosperity is need for a technological leap (forward or backward). There is reason to believe American households will experience long-term income growth, yet GM and other companies are not willing to invest because aggressively marketing the products to consumers was not the DOE payday they were hoping for.

    It’s almost like they’ve forgotten how to run their business. If someone isn’t dangling $50B taxpayer dollars in front of them, they can’t be bothered. Weird.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen Uber drivers at charging stations in Bolts. I think they sleep while they charge, drive, then come back to sleep and charge. I read somewhere that uber wants more.

    It’s a major reason I want to upgrade to an EV that allows me to avoid public charging. Can’t wait to see what kind of range I can pull out of that Taycan with the 2-speed. Right now, I’m smooth enough with regen and braking (and not slowing down on turns) that I can usually get NEDC numbers, so I think I’ll do well.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      My Lyft driver in Cali loves his Bolt. He was laughing about how, while the Bolt is charging, he would get out and exercise, something which he’d not done before. Unintended benefit!

  • avatar

    GM didn’t have to make it so dorky looking or give it a stupid name.

    If they’re looking to lay blame for why its sales border on the pathetic then here’s a mirror for them.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Does anyone know if GM is still taking a loss on the Bolt/Volt combo?

  • avatar

    Waiting of CPO Bolt for 15K

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