By on March 29, 2019

2017 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

General Motors’ sole electric vehicle, the cheerful Chevrolet Bolt, will see its MSRP stand firm in the face of an EV tax credit that drops by half come April 1st, the automaker claims.

In the fourth quarter of last year, GM sailed past the volume barrier that triggers a wind-down of the federal credit, meaning Bolt buyers will see less of an incentive to get behind the wheel. The $7,500 credit falls to $3,750 next week, before halving again in six months time. Knowing that EV buyers still need a push, GM plans to make the Bolt more attractive to green penny pinchers.

Speaking to Reuters, GM spokesman Jim Cain said “it is easier to react to the market by working with dealers and your marketing team than it is to change sticker prices.”

A base Bolt LT retails for $37,495 after destination and before the federal credit. When GM was shy of the 200,000-unit green cutoff, that placed the after-credit price below $30k. Now, GM will have to compensate for the $3,750 overall price hike.

Tesla, of course, dropped its prices to compensate for a reduced credit, but Tesla prices change more frequently than David Bowie’s 1970s stage persona.

Speaking recently at the Bolt’s birthplace, GM’s Orion Assembly (where a new Chevrolet EV will eventually be built), CEO Mary Barra said her company plans to boost its marketing efforts for electrified vehicles. She did not mention the looming tax credit cut.

While GM plans to offer new Bolt incentives next week, Cain wouldn’t elaborate on what buyers can expect. The company remains “sensitive to affordability,” he said.

Currently, some Bolt customers — those in California, for example — stand to receive a $1,000 cash allowance, with lessees offered (hmmm…) $3,750 cash back.

[Image: General Motors]

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18 Comments on “With Tax Credit Cut Looming, GM Promises New Incentives for the Chevrolet Bolt...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “it is easier to react to the market by working with dealers and your marketing team than it is to change sticker prices.”

    –Well, that’s BS. It only means the consumer has to do more horse trading, making the purchase even less interesting.

    “Tesla, of course, dropped its prices to compensate for a reduced credit, but Tesla prices change more frequently than David Bowie’s 1970s stage persona.”

    –This is true, but at least the price *is* the price (at the moment).

  • avatar

    How can you not see the problem here? A dumpy looking miserable little econobox is only worth suffering if it’s for rock bottom cheap prices. $37K? That’s Challenger/Charger R/T money, and there are plenty of other desirable vehicles for that price range which anyone would be proud to own. If bottom feeder econo-blobs are you r thing, that’s fine. The end game of owning such a thing would be to save money, right? The Chevy Spark starts at $13K. Buying this POS puts one $24K in the hole on day one. You have to really love far left politics or hate big oil on an obsessive level I’ll never understand in order to shoot yourself in the foot to the tune of $24,000.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s almost as though the engineers said to management “Fine, here’s your long-range EV. Now get off our backs.”

    • 0 avatar

      I never understood why these early EV’s (which cost the manufacturers a fortune to make) are all designed to look like $15k econo cars. Tesla figured it out 10 years ago, yet every other EV still looks like a cheap car.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis


      The closest thing in size an performance to a gasoline powered Bolt would have been the Ford Focus ST. Which retailed for $22K.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Also the Ford Focus ST mpg was rated at 22city/30hwy. About 9.5 gallons of gas to go 237 miles.
        Or Chevy Bolt 60KW to go 237miles
        Filled up yesterday for $3.17 per gallon. 9.5 gallons would cost $30.
        After taxes, I’m paying 10 cents per KW for electricity. About $6 to juice up the Bolt. A savings of $24 per fill up. Most people fill up once a week. Taxi cab drivers fill up every day. If gasoline stays at $3.17 per gallon after -620 fill ups or 146,000 miles you hit the break even point.
        Point being the Bolt makes sense for some people.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly, PG. and while electrics might offer some benefit in acceleration (can’t deny the torque of an electric motor) none are positioned as performance cars for good reason. You can tune and modify that FoST to your hearts delight which is all part of the experience. These bottom feeder EVs are being pushed for sketchy greenie points and as mainstream economical transportation but the value for dollar just isn’t there. Not with any hybrid or electric—a traditional ICE will do the same job cheaper every time.

        I’ve said this about a billion times but whenever you go green you’re going to sacrifice something and you’ll pay more for it too.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    GM Marketing: What’s with the little car on the beach? If you are gonna put it there, shouldn’t there be a surfboard strapped on top?

  • avatar

    “CEO Mary Barra said her company plans to boost its marketing efforts for electrified vehicles.”

    What’s that doing to do? It’s still too expensive.

  • avatar

    Here’s the problem with the Bolt:

    – It’s a Chevy, meaning the 37k MSRP doesn’t remotely make sense
    – It’s dumpy interior looks like GM cheaped out on everything inside the car
    – Why buy this when you get a Tesla for similar money?

    Barra’s quote about marketing sums up all that continues to go wrong with GM. You can make more ads with Ponch interviewing ‘real people’, but Bolt needs a big price cut and a significantly upgraded interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Brett Woods

      Its looks that sell I reckon and GM doesn’t know how to do looks. Cruze started good looking and then they uglified it and sales dropped. People seem to like look of a Suzuki Sidekick, Lada Niva, Kia Soul, or even Nissan Cube better than Bolt which looks vaguely perverted somehow. It needs to look appealing and it needs to look like what it costs.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      ” Why buy this when you get a Tesla for similar money?”

      OK I’ll bite:

      -It isn’t assembled in a tent
      -It’s engineered and manufactured better than a Tesla.
      -The dorky Bolt with the el-cheapo interior will go the distance long term. Good luck with the Tesla.

    • 0 avatar

      The Bolt will sell right up until the point where Tesla offers a cheap lease on ace-of-base Model 3’s. Then the Bolt is done for overnight. And I say this as someone who likes tiny cars, speedy cars, electric cars, and tall hatches: meaning I’m the itty-bitty blip at the center of that Venn diagram where Bolt customers reside.

      However, that’s gonna take a while to happen. The ace-of-base Model 3 exists only because Musk has to make a handful to keep his promise of a $35k Tesla. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in Phoenix it’s profitable, so he’s not going to push them out the door.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s also the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Niro, making a grand total of five ‘affordable’ BEVs (although the Kia and Hyundai are only going to be stocked in dealer inventories on the west coast), all with starting prices around $35k.

      While all five have their shortcomings, the Bolt does seem to be dragging up the rear of the group. For example, a recent Car and Driver comparison with the Kona pointed out that a DC quick-charger is extra cost on the Bolt, whereas it’s standard on the others.

  • avatar

    18109 Bolts shipped (NOT sold yet) to dealers in the US in 2018.
    -22.6% from 2017.
    3084 Chevy dealers
    5.84 Bolts per dealer.
    17M US market
    Fire 15k people. All electric future, coming soon!

  • avatar

    It’s not just the increased price, per se, that is hurting sales, but the appearance of similar EVs (Kia NIRO, Hyundai Kona EV, etc) that are every bit as good as the Bolt (or better) and still have their full $7500 Fed tax credits available and will have for quite some time. Their stickers are no higher than the Bolt’s, sometimes lower.

    • 0 avatar

      Do they “really” exist though? I feel like Hyundai/Kia has gotten massive free media exposure on promises of EVs that are always just around the corner…when in reality they sell their EVs only in compliance states, and historically haven’t even produced enough to meet demand for the half-hearted me-too compliance EVs they have offered.

      That said, I suspect my next car will be a 2020 Kia Soul EV in construction-vest green. With double the range and power of the current Soul EV, all the useful-car attributes of a tall hatch, and Kia’s remarkable ability to keep the Soul’s box-it-came-in styling fresh and hip, all I ask is an affordable lease.

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