QOTD: Model Missing?
Humans, like other animals, have an innate ability to detect when something’s wrong in their immediate environment. The sense that something’s amiss, that the natural order of things has shifted in an unusual direction. Of course, this is only achievable if one chooses to open their eyes and look around.
We can all be keen observers if we choose to, and sometimes it pays dividends — it’s said that farmers are traditionally less likely to be killed by tornadoes than non-farmers. And we’ve all seen alien movies where the most obtuse among us don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late.
Maybe you’ve noticed something odd in your town or neighborhood. Something that should be there … but isn’t.
You probably have a good sense of your town or city’s median income, its demographics, its prevailing politics, and its major employers. You’ve noticed that a larger cut of drivers gravitate towards certain models, brands, and body styles. But have you noticed something missing? What aren‘t you be seeing in your neighborhood, that you should?
Around these parts — where last night I witnessed two urban cyclists battling 30 mph headwinds, heavy snow, and a temperature of 10F — driving one’s ideology is par for the course, regardless of personal misery. For those not interested in projecting their green bona fides, Audi seems to fill in the gap among the well-off urban class. It’s a happy medium between brash, new-money assholery (BMW) and old-money snootiness (Mercedes-Benz). But green is big, and not just because Ontario, until recently, offered obscene incentives for buyers.
Given the very different production capabilities of Tesla and General Motors, it’s hard to ignore that I see more Model 3s than Chevrolet Bolts plying these polite streets. God knows the Bolt had a head start, and it’s the cheaper option to boot. And yet, despite being on sale in Canada for two full years, Bolts remain vanishingly thin on the ground compared to Musk’s launch-compromised wonder car. It can’t just be badge snobbery.
Well, it isn’t. There’s a good reason for the Bolt’s meager showing north of the border, and it’s because General Motors simply wasn’t building enough of them. While hanging out in my local GM dealer back in May, I overheard staff tell a would-be Bolt buyer to check back in six months. They’d probably have some then. The same month, Green Car Reports detailed a Toronto man who was told he faced an 8- to 12-month waiting list for a Bolt. Naturally, the man said “screw that” and bought a Volt instead, commenting that GM needs to “have dealers and manufacturing on [the] same page.”
While GM Canada confirmed the waiting list, erasing a buyer backlog doesn’t happen overnight. In its end-of-year sales recap, the automaker noted an increase in electric vehicle sales compared to 2018. At the same time, its American counterpart announced, “GM increased production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV during the fourth quarter to meet strong global demand, including higher than expected demand in South Korea and Canada, and to begin rebuilding U.S. dealer inventories.”
GM was first with a low-priced, long-range EV, but constrained supply led its rival, Tesla, to make inroads with a moderately priced EV.
That’s my story, but what’s yours? What’s conspicuously missing from the vehicular landscape in your area?
[Image: General Motors]
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