Chevrolet Bolt Recall: Orion Assembly Schedules Some Downtime

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Michigan’s Orion Assembly will be taking three weeks of downtime this month as General Motors continues addressing the fire recall pertaining to Chevrolet’s all-electric Bolt.

The automaker notified employees that the facility will see production idled from November 15th through December 3rd, though vehicle assembly won’t resume until the 6th. However the plant is already running on a diminished schedule so staff can assist with maximizing LG battery output and offer additional support related to the recall.

“Battery module replacements remain the priority. We will continue to adjust Orion’s production schedule moving forward to best support the recall,” GM spokesman Dan Flores told Automotive News on Thursday.

Things haven’t been similarly disharmonious for Chevy’s supplier. LG Energy Solution battery division has been struck hard by the costs of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV battery recall. This tainted its profitability for Q3 and also took some of its attention away from supplying fresh energy cells for electric vehicles. There are now rumors that Orion Assembly needing a few weeks off may have been partially influenced by LG’s inability to manage a series of battery-related mishaps (which includes the Hyundai Kona) and some consumer backlash against the Bolt fires that suppressed sales.

GM’s recall includes more than 140,000 Bolt vehicles and is estimated to represent a $2-billion setback if a meaningful percentage of EVs end up requiring hardware replacements. While most of that is supposed to fall upon LG, Chevrolet won’t be getting off without contributing and has definitely received a black eye (at least as far as EVs are concerned) in terms of consumer confidence. For now, the automaker is focusing on vehicles from the 2017-2019 model years because the necessary diagnostic software for later models doesn’t exist yet.

[Image: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Nov 05, 2021

    Battery manufacturing defects are a huge potential liability for any EV / battery manufacturer. GM / LG got bit this time, but it could happen to anyone. You have a huge store of energy separated by a few microns of separator, integrated into a sealed component that costs $10K to $15K to manufacture. The cost of these recalls will be ultimately be born by all EV buyers.

    • See 3 previous
    • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Nov 05, 2021

      @mcs "A 60kWh LFE pack costs half that." First off, 60kWh is barely enough for a subcompact, which Americans don't buy in any significant quantity. A pickup or SUV will require more like 120kWh minimum (particularly if it's iron-phosphate which is heavier for the same Wh). Using your math, such a pack would cost, guess what? $9600. And I doubt your cost estimate is correct. A 2.5kWh 8S iron phosphate cell module from CATL costs about $300; 24 of those would run $7200, and that doesn't include the BMS, cooling system, or outer skin of the pack. And sodium-ion and solid state batteries are not in mass production. Companies have been hyping solid state batteries, along with other pipe dream energy storage systems, for over 30 years. You can't power your car with a press release.

  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Nov 07, 2021

    Ha someone at work a few weeks ago was all excited to tell me about the battery recall on my little Chevy. Sorry Volt, not Bolt....LOL. Honestly if that battery pack gives me any trouble before it turns 15 years old I'll be a little disappointed. I figure it will outlast the rest of the car.

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.