Chevrolet Volt Sales Hit 2017 High In March, While Bolt EV Struggles With Inventory Issues

6 months ago by Jay Cole 140

The Chevrolet Bolt EV arrived in both New York and New Jersey In March (photo via Jamie H)

After what some might say was a bit of a disappoint for sales of the all-new Chevrolet Bolt in February (with 952 units moved), the 238 mile EV debuted in New York and New Jersey in March; and with that, sales strengthened – but only slightly last month.

In total, 978 Bolt EVs were sold, a fractional gain over February.  The high water mark for the EV still stands as 1,162 cars that were sold in January.

Where do sales go from here?

Likely up as we move into a stronger time of year for plug-in sales, and Bolt EV inventories have finally started to deepening (averaging nearly 2,000 copies in stock by March’s end).

GM did note this month that average supplies were limited in March, and declared that there was just 14 “days to turn” dealer stock for the month – a very low figure.  However, we have to say that as domestic-only production started in October, this appears to be a self-inflicted wound.

Update:  Just as a data point of interest – the Bolt EV fared (proportionally) much better in Canada in March (where the market is 1/9th the size of the US), selling an impressive 241 copies; although one could frame that as backed up first deliveries finally getting through to the Canadian consumer (sales in February and January were 86 and 6 respectively).   The Volt sold 377 copies in Canada – a year high as well.

Lending a hand on the sales front in April will be the continuation of GM’s CARB-tastic, state-by-state roll-out of the EV, with Washington welcoming the Bolt to local Chevy dealerships.  With that said, if GM doesn’t build ’em…they can’t sell ’em.

The Chevrolet Volt maintained its position as the best selling plug-in hybrid in March over newcomer, the Toyota Prius Prime

As for the Chevy Volt, it continues to out perform expectations by any metric

During March, 2,132 Volts were sold, up 14% from the 1,865 sold a year ago.

Despite now being in its 2nd year, the second generation of Volt has improved on 2016 numbers so far this year.  Through March, 5,563 have been sold, a gain of almost 40% over the 3,987 moved a year ago.

An impressive result that makes the extended range Chevy the second best selling plug-in vehicle for the US market, just behind the Tesla Model S.

We would also be remiss to not also mention the battle that is brewing for the title of the top-selling plug-in hybrid for 2017, as the Toyota Prius Prime continues to nip at the Volt’s heels.  While the Volt still has a lead of about a thousand sales over the Prime, the plug-in Prius is currently the most in-demand car in the US, as Toyota’s factory in Japan works to fill in inventory around the world.

For March, only about ~10 days worth of inventory was in stock for the Prius Prime…yet Toyota still sold 1,618 copies, averaging less than 1,000 units of inventory.

Tags: , , , ,

140 responses to "Chevrolet Volt Sales Hit 2017 High In March, While Bolt EV Struggles With Inventory Issues"

  1. R.S says:

    How is the Volt inventory situation? Would be interesting to see if more inventory than last year, had an effect on sales.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      GM had about ~4,500 cars in stock on average in March for the Volt

      1. R.S says:

        So inventory was 50% higher, but sales only 14%. Does that mean the Volt is oversupplied?

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Average inventory for the Bolt EV on dealer stock was much lower for March than it finished at. The depth only started to strengthen at the very end of March/beginning of April…so it will be next month that we ‘should’ get to see a pop in the sales numbers provided the demand is there as expected.

          1. R.S says:

            I meant compared to last year, the Volt had 50% more inventory, but only 14% more sales. Is 4500 ok, or does it seem that Volt inventory is still too high?

            GM seems to struggle with to much inventory, besides the Bolt obviously.

            1. Jay Cole says:

              I would say 4500 is right around the optimal level. The industry would like to be at around ~60 day’s worth of expected future sales…which seems right-to-slightly-low for where the Volt is now.

              Haven’t seen March data yet, but I expect the overall auto industry to still be at an elevated level, at around ~80 days; they have been working to bring that down from a high around 90 late last year.

              1. ClarksonCote says:

                For the Bolt EV, I can’t imagine there were too many sales in NY in March thanks to everyone waiting on the NYSERDA $2,000 rebate. Now with that finally implemented on late March, hopefully sales of the Bolt EV (and all plug-ins in NY) will start to pick up.

                1. Bill Howland says:

                  Turns out I know the guy who has the only other BOLT ev I’ve seen on the road. While he got a better deal than I did, he missed the $2000 ev rebate by being 4 days early. I was 22 days early.

                  1. ClarksonCote says:

                    Apparently a few have sold over here in Syracuse, but to my knowledge many of the dealers haven’t even signed up to be eligible for the point of sale rebate from NYSERDA. Go figure.

            2. Tom says:

              Following along from last month note the inventory of the Volt was way too high along with several other GM models built at the same factory so the normal seasonal shut down was extended by a week. i.e. the factory has too much capacity for the demand. But it isn’t just the volt model, it is the combined demand of several GM vehicles and more indicative of the demand for SUVs these days relative to mid sized cars when considering at least the other GM models.

  2. leafowner says:

    GM is really handling the Bolt poorly…

    1. Brian says:

      Relax folks, the Bolt has only been on the market a few months.

      Go back and look at the other big players. It took seven months before Tesla Model S broke 1000 units.
      Leaf took longer.
      Bolt – did it in its first full month.

      Production will grow as battery price and other costs decrease.

      1. mx says:

        A $45,000 car is expensive.
        What’s killing the Bolt is GM allowing dealers to rob customers with bad lease deals.

        One way to afford an expensive car is to lease than buy, but these leases are pretty poor.

        It’s price gouging the initial buyers, and they’re saying no.

        1. taser54 says:

          Robbing customers? For a lease? That’s a laugh.

        2. Tim Miser says:

          I agree mx. The bolt lease is roughly $4500 down and $450 a month. The problem is that GM is keeping the $7500 federal tax credit and not passing any of it on to the lease customers. I usually lease vehicles but for the Bolt it is a much better deal to purchase and get the tax credit.

          1. Paul Stoller says:

            Could this be a strategy to extend the life of the credits by GM rather than eating them all up with leases? Not sure if there would be any reason for them to pursue that strategy.

            1. Bacardi says:

              The Volt, which is outselling the Bolt EV, has extremely attractive leasing deals…If you qualify for the targeted incentives and find dealers willing to both discount the sales price and apply the bonus tags, it’s nearly cheaper to lease now and it buy it out than purchasing outright…

          2. Norm says:

            GM doesn’t keep the $7500 for the 2017 Volt on a lease. I received the credit on a lease. Leasing is the best way to buy a expensive car. Your figures are correct about the payment But the purchase price after a 3 year lease is $20,000, worth the $450 payment. I did the Donald Trump, paid NO taxes in 2016. Owed $6,456 in taxes and got a refund. Don’t forget to claim your licence tabs on your taxes $357 Michigan.

            1. Norm says:

              GM employees get 8% off the sticker of a 2017 Chevrolet Volt lease or buy, in addition to the $7500 from the Fed’s. Can your dealership work the pencil and show the discount as a down payment? One disappointment with the 2017 Volt is NO SUNROOF. Factory or after market. I get 73 miles of electric charge in July and August more than the projected 53 and cold weather it drops to 43. Just turned 7,000 miles. 6,213 electric. Great car to drive quick, peppy and maneuvers well in tight spaces. I spend more money monthly on toothpaste than gas ($12.30). Be sure to set the car on the 12amp battery charge, it’s quicker also charge during off peek hours saves money.

        3. Like_Budda says:

          Where are you getting $45,000???
          Base MSRP for the LT is $37,495 (before federal incentives but including destination charges) and even the fully loaded Premiere is $42,720 MSRP. Is this simply a “roundup” error??

          1. Tim Miser says:

            Re-read my message. You added a zero and didn’t read the text!

            1. ClarksonCote says:

              His message was in response to mx, who falsely claimed a Bolt MSRP of $45,000

    2. Tom says:

      GM is handling the Bolt like a professional company. They make the vehicle in the same factory as another car and have said for months that (like any brand new technology) they would first start slowly and only make a few per day and then ramp it up over time as necessary. As this article points out, it is in a factory that is building the Sonic and there’s only 1 shift and they are starting slow to gauge where demand is then have the capacity to adjust as it works. Doing something stupid and expensive like spinning up a bunch of suppliers and hiring a second shift then having to back off if it doesn’t work is how companies go broke. Despite all the breathless talk of Tesla this is pretty much how they do it too. It is how actual engineers do things not people who post on the internet their ignorance work. http://fortune.com/2016/11/05/chevy-bolt-production-numbers/

      1. BenG says:

        Exactly

  3. Jean-François Morissette says:

    Do they have problems with the production line of the Bolt?

    1. ffbj says:

      Hardly. They are producing exactly how many they want to. Which is not that many.

      1. georgeS says:

        @ffbj

        Yep. That’s what I’ve been saying for years. Despite GM engineers doing an excellent job on the power train GM management purposely sabotaged sales of the Bolt by packaging it in an undesirable body and pricing it too high.

        It’s clear we can not look to GM management for leadership in production of EV’s.

        They want to sell trucks. Heck last month they sold 42,000 Silverados….and total pickup truck sales in the US was 200,000 units.

        http://www.tfltruck.com/2017/04/ram-1500-overtakes-chevy-silverado-for-second-place-in-march-2017-pickup-truck-sales-report/

        If you are going to buy an EV give your money to Tesla.

    2. unlucky says:

      It’s hard to tell, despite the other response. No one knows GM’s parts supply constraints except GM.

  4. bro1999 says:

    Can you really say Bolt sales are “struggling” when it is still available in only a handful of states? What is the mark Bolt sales should be at?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I think you can make a case that it is certainly underwhelming at this point, or at least below expectations. The title of the story is “Chevrolet Volt Sales Hit 2017 High In March, While Bolt EV Struggles With Inventory Issues”, so I think we are trying to be as fair as possible with the results.

      The real issue is that GM is setting the amount of inventory on the lot, as production started ~6 months ago, and we are at ~3,600 cumulative sales. The question is why? Is it in response to how they are seeing demand from dealers? Or a plant issues? Customer orders don’t seem to have any backlogs of significance. Ultimately, only time will tell what the story is.

      And if you look at the most obvious comp…the Toyota Prius Prime, production started in Japan about the same time (but with an ~8 week extra lead time for transit to US dealers)…Toyota is also attempting to allocate worldwide, and they sold 1,618 vehicles in March (almot 7,000 to date) with even less average inventory on hand than the Bolt EV.

      1. Terje says:

        So far The bolt (Ampera-e) have sold 4300cars in Norway. The first car will arriwe in June, and the nr4300 in row will not get his car before april next Year. .. so if Bolt not are selling well in us they can send more cars to norway.
        The sale to go high when the car will arriwe to the delers here.

    2. VazzedUp says:

      I think we are now getting into the main bulk of consumers. They come in looking for a Bolt (having seen the hype) but end up getting cold feet and opting for the year old Volt (not a pure ICE). I don’t think this is a bad thing, Bolt sales are still good, and more butts on seats of electric drive vehicles is only good.

      1. David S. says:

        Some people are cancelling their Bolt purchase after getting their butts in the seats. It seems there’s an issue with those.

        1. danpatgal says:

          I ordered a Bolt in Maryland and finally test drove it this past weekend (it came in a couple weeks earlier, but I didn’t have time to look at it).

          I was a bit underwhelmed, it didn’t handle as “light” as I would have liked for such a small car. The seats were a bit hard. I bonked my knee on the center console getting in. I am tall and have long legs, and was otherwise impressed with the space (headroom/legroom), though the trunk is a little small … but not bad.

          The other issue is the lack of any good lease deals and dealer excitement about it. I was quoted roughly $500/month with nothing down, and something like $400/month when paying taxes and fees. I bought my first EV (mistake), but these lease terms have me waiting a bit. Oh, and the salesman I had was completely blase about the car. No excitement, no interest in why I might want it or like it – he seemed bothered to even show it to me. That lack of emotional connection was also a big turn off for me.

        2. TedFredrick says:

          The seats were to small for me. I am 5 ‘ 10″ and 205. The seats are made for a small small person

    3. Damian says:

      Even though the Bolt is available only in “a handful of states”, in GM words, those states represent the 50% of EV purchases.
      If that’s the case, that means that they’ll end up selling around 2k units per month, which I think is below expectation.

      1. Kdawg says:

        I was expecting about 22K in sales for 2017, so that would meet my expectations.

      2. wavelet says:

        They’ll only start selling countrywide in the summer, so if those states are indeed 50%, the overall expectation for the year would be more like 15K….

  5. ffbj says:

    Just as we thought.

    1. ffbj says:

      An earlier comment.
      ffbj
      February 22, 2017 at 11:26 am
      Maybe you are thinking of the Volt. Bolt sales were around 600 hundred in 2016. They only were on sale for a month. At a rate of 1500 on average a month they should sell around 20k this year.

  6. Ocean Railroader says:

    I think the idea of the Chevy Bolt being the EV sales power house is quickly going down the toilet. Due to GM dragging their feet.

    I think now Tesla is going to smash them in the EV production department. In that I think the Tesla Model 3 can drain sales away from the bolt and volt.

  7. Victor says:

    I have a 2016 Chevy Volt (excellent car) and I reserved a Tesla Model 3. I called a dealership in Maryland to find out if they have the Chevy Bolt (they do). I was going to test drive one, but I changed my mind. Here is why. 1.The Chevy Bolt takes over an hour and a half to charge at a 50 kilowatt hour charging station. 2.General Motors do not support the charging infrastructure in Maryland or anywhere else in this country (to my knowledge). 3.If I drive the Bolt and I like it I have to get it through a Steeler like I did with the volt. They are professionals and I’m not. I get ripped off 90% of the time. GM should take a look at Tesla, look at what they are doing right, and copy those.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      How long does it take a Tesla to charge at a 50kW station?

      The Bolt will charge faster as higher power CCS are unveiled. Per the manual, they max out at an 80kW station.

      If you want a real fast charge, get a Leaf. They charge super quick thanks to a tiny battery.

      Point being, you have to compare apples to apples.

      1. Djoni says:

        It does have a slow charging at DCFC.

        http://www.ivisolutions.ca/2017/03/16/acquisition-de-donnees-dune-recharge-rapide-sur-une-chevrolet-bolt/

        It’s in French, but just look at the graph (I’m too clumsy to extract it)

        It peak out at 125 amps for a short 6 minutes and then drop to 105 amps for 18 minutes before leveling at 60 amps.
        And this is at an ideal SOC and battery temperature.
        Strange and poor charging characteristic overall.
        Short answer, it won’t charge faster with a more powerful DCFC.
        Not impress!

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          It’s limitation is based on the fast charger used, not the Bolt. When you research how stations are specified and how they calculate their max kW rate you’ll see what I mean.

          1. SparkEV says:

            It’s Bolt’s limitation. 125A is limited by the charger, but anything below that is limited by the car. For example, SparkEV keeps 125A all the way to 80%, then gradual taper. Bolt has two abrupt taper points before gradual taper begins.

            But that’s not to say it’s awful. After all, many Tesla start their taper even at 30%, making average power to 80% be about half of peak power (70 kW out of 120 kW charger).

            1. ClarksonCote says:

              Anything below that is not necessarily limited by the car. It can be limited by temperatures or battery state of charge. Eventually the car needs to go into Constant Voltage mode instead of Constant Current mode, which is when the current will begin to taper. That is an inherent characteristic of charging all Lithoum Ion batteries. Tesla included.

        2. unlucky says:

          That’s just one example, it doesn’t apply to all cases. I plugged my car in with 40% SOC and over the first 15 minutes it averaged over 44kW charge rate. It did fall noticeably after that.

          I think the problem in the example you show is the pack is just too cold at the start. It starts at 7C! I started out with an SoC about where that graph falls down to 105A and charged for 15 minutes at 44kW, which would be 125A.

          So I don’t think you can use that data to indicate the limits of Bolt fast charging, it clearly is limited by something else.

          1. Djoni says:

            7 c° might not be the ideal, but it’s not freaking cold either.
            Bolt will be sold all over North America, so even MN or most northern state is going to experience those.
            And up north, here in Canada, 7 c° could be summer (LOL).

            So, not great at all, but I’ll be please to learn otherwise on other example.

            1. unlucky says:

              To a lithium-ion battery it is cold. A lithium-ion battery will have increased internal impedance at that temperature, resulting in lower maximum current draws and charge rates.

              You can say the car should still charge at 7C. And indeed it does still charge at 7C. But you can’t expect full charge rates at 7C.

              So if you look at the chart you give and think that represents the full charge rate you’re making a mistake. You suggested people make this mistake, even explicitly saying that the charging graph you give IS at an ideal pack temperature when it wasn’t and now you say it wasn’t ideal.

              I’m not saying don’t look at the graph. I’m saying the graph cannot be used the way you suggested which is to say the Bolt has “slow charging at DCFC”.

              1. Djoni says:

                Sorry, I mixed the temperature line with SOC bar the first time, it’s my mistake.

                But since the Bolt does have active temperature management, it should have been handle a lot better than this (the battery temperature).
                It is a parameter that should be on all brands.

                Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to help, some early owner does report poor DCFC charging experience, at least below expectation, but if you have different information, I’ll be happy to see better performance.

                1. unlucky says:

                  It has active management. If the car was plugged in it would have heated the pack. But clearly this car was NOT plugged in because they wanted to keep it discharged so they could test fast-charging it. These people went against GM’s recommendation because they wanted to do this test.

                  The current the pack can accept or provide is reduced at lower temperatures. But if the pack is warm enough for regular use (which averages about 0.25C) why would they want to discharge the pack running a heater so that it can go to a higher current? Only once it is plugged-in would that make sense. So yeah, the pack starts cold and warms up during the charging.

                  I do have different information I already explained it on this very page. You even responded to it. I gave you data from my own fast charging experience this weekend. As I explained, it shows that the car is quite capable of charging faster than your graph indicates when the pack is at a normal temperature.

                  1. Djoni says:

                    Thanks for the info Unlucky.
                    Your experience indicate appropriate charging rate, and I hope it is in practical situation.
                    Like you said, it might not be as important with so much range to deal with.
                    But, it count when you need it, and it help unclog the DCFC station.
                    My comment was about someone who own one and find it wasn’t charging as fast as expected, but you had better experience.
                    I’m just curious to see more data on this topic, like the battery temperature, SOC, and all.
                    What happen when the car is unplugged in a winter night and you ride to a DCFC to charge it up after a half hour drive?
                    Will the pack be heated enough?
                    What is the minimum temperature setting plugged or unplugged?
                    It might be possible to heat the pack prior to leave, but I don’t know to what extent.

                    1. SparkEV says:

                      At least with SparkEV, even 15 minutes drive heats the pack enough for full power DCFC. If it was plugged in before the drive, battery would be kept in a comfortable temperature even if ambient is too hot or too cold. This is why active thermal management is crucial, and why Leaf sucks.

                      Unlucky is right. The graph shown is completely unrealistic scenario. You don’t pull into DCFC with such low battery temperature since you have to drive there in the first place. Leaf (and eGolf) people won’t understand this.

                    2. Djoni says:

                      @SparkEV
                      I would say, Leaf an e-Golf owner might know better why BTM is important.

    2. ClarksonCote says:

      You can have a Tesla experience st a dealer. Just go in and offer MSRP, the same price Tesla charges. Unlike Tesla, dealers will work with you to get a deal. I guess they should get rid of this practice so you can have a more Tesla-like experience.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah, nowhere will you find any statements claiming a Tesla is not a good value.

        If I were a totally practical person, I would have bought a VOLT – its a nicer looking car, and more practical, more luxurious, and cheaper.

        But I’m satisfied with the VALUE I’ve gotten with my BOLT ev purchase, even though I could have done slightly better if I’d have waited, and a friend got a better deal a few weeks after me.

        But I just missed the IDEA of driving long distances on a large battery – 12 % larger than the one in my Roadster. And I figure by putting my $$$ where my mouth is, will tend to cause GM to offer more types of vehicles with larger batteries, both BEV and PHEV.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “Unlike Tesla, dealers will work with you to get a deal.”

        You mean, dealers will pretend to work with you to get you a deal. The truth is that the MSRP is an inflated price rather far above market value. Heck, these days even the “dealer inventory” price is inflated, because auto makers and dealers know that potential buyers can now see those prices.

        1. Like_Budda says:

          OMG conspiracy theory much?
          You probably stress over paying full price for a hair cut too. lol

        2. unlucky says:

          Wow, you’re declarator of market value now?

          Plenty of people got discounts on Teslas. Does that mean Teslas are not sold at market value?

        3. Bojan says:

          That cuts both ways, though. A lot of comparisons get made between Tesla model 3 and the Bolt because they are perceived to have roughly the same price. However, if Bolt’s price is designed to get discounted while Model 3’s is not, then the Bolt can be a significantly more affordable vehicle.

    3. unlucky says:

      You really aren’t supposed to fill all the way up at a fast charging station. The charge rate gets slow as the car fills up. This is true even on Teslas.

      You can fill the car to 75% in an hour from 0% on a 50kW station. That means unless you are adept at coming in on empty you’ll always be leaving with 80% in an hour or less.

      I tested this myself this weekend at a 50kW station. I know others have reported much slower charging, but it has to have something to do with the station they were at. I started charging my car at just barely under half full and it charged at about 44kW until noticeably past the half full mark.

      Honestly, the real value of the car is that you don’t need to charge it away from home, whether fast or slow. I bought the thing in January and this is only the 2nd time I have charged it away from home and neither time did I actually need to. Once I was just getting some free juice and this time I was doing it to test out the system so I know I can count on it for some planned summer trips.

      1. SparkEV says:

        “Once I was just getting some free juice”

        If GM really wanted to kill EV, they would’ve “supported” DCFC infrastructure by giving free charging with all their EV, like Nissan and BMW are doing. With Bolt drivers taking hour each (two 30 minute sessions, because it’s free), public charging will effectively become useless.

        I am truly grateful GM is not “supporting” EV infrastructure like Nissan and BMW. When people complain about GM’s lack of interest in infrastructure compared to Nissan/BMW, I point this out. Bad “support” does more harm than good.

  8. Alan says:

    I was looking back at the Nissan Leaf sales of past years, it managed to top 3k sales in a month a couple of times with a range of only 1/3rd of the Bolt and no TMS.

    I realise it’s very early days and only available in a few states but it does appear on the surface to be disappointing so far.

    When PSA (Opel) start selling these in Europe, I would imagine they will do very well indeed.

  9. Sam says:

    These numbers frankly sound bad compared to Tesla.
    I looked at a Bolt at a CA dealership and they were not trying to move it at all. Said GM won’t discount at all, lease rates are insane.

  10. Murrysville EV says:

    The Bolt is a good test case for how much interest there is in a 200-mile EV on a short leash, due to lack of charging infrastructure.

    Model 3 preorders indicate that people *really* want their EVs to be affordable, long-range range, and flexible (Supercharger-capable), without looking like a science project. It also indicates an undercurrent of disgust with the mainstream mfrs.

    Have you ever noticed that no Tesla has “ELECTRIC VEHICLE” or ‘green’ stickers plastered all over it? I believe EV buyers *tolerate* this nonsense if they must, but the EV buyer of the future simply wants their car to do the job of today’s appliances without fanfare.

    1. theflew says:

      The problem with the Model 3 is it isn’t on sale yet. So we can’t compare how well the Bolt is selling compared to what the Model 3 will do. We don’t even know how the ~400k will breakdown in real orders and geography.

    2. Victor says:

      +1 Murrysville EV

  11. tom911 says:

    Over 2500 Bolts on Cars.com and has been climbing for months. If GM wold get smart and offer some decent leases and incentives they would sell more cars.

    1. bro1999 says:

      If GM were to offer the same lease incentives on a Bolt that they are currently offering on a Volt, the sales #’s would likely be much closer.

      But GM is being stingy with Bolt incentives. Stingy as it offering basically 0 incentives other than $2,500 lease cash.

  12. Nelson says:

    I think the big slowdown in BoltEV sales is the fact that buyers are now asking between $3K-$5K off MSRP and dealers just getting the BoltEV aren’t willing to put any money on the hood.
    http://insideevs.com/deals-chevrolet-bolt/

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

    1. Bacardi says:

      How is that a problem? People have zero problems paying five figures over MSRP for a Hellcat…

      1. Kdawg says:

        But the Hellcat also averages less than 1000 sales/month

        1. Bacardi says:

          Limited by intentionally limited production…

  13. ericonline says:

    I’m disappointed by these lackluster Bolt sales too, but there is no need to panic. Chevy doesn’t need to offer any special incentives yet. The Bolt will probably hit sales of 2,000-2,500 a month without any problem as it becomes available in more and more states. Furthermore a lot of potential customers are taking the “wait and see” approach to see what the Model 3 offers. And also, potential Model 3 customers (who did not reserve on Day 1) will soon realize they’ll get only a partial tax credit if that with the Model 3, but a full credit with the Bolt. This will prove to be very appealing for many customers later this year.

    I’m not a GM apologist. I own a Tesla, but I want all of these EVs to do well.

  14. Another Industrial (Euro) point of view says:

    If the Bolt sale figures are bad now when it is the only semi-affordable long range EV on the market what will it be when competition will come ? (in 2018). IMO right or wrong in the eyes of the general public, a car at that price point needs either to be bigger or sexier, no matter whether it is powered by electricity, gas, hydrogen or unicorn fart. Also I am not sure USA is the right market for that car but no matter what it needs to be priced lower. Also considering size a 45Kwh battery would probably have been enough, GM could have sold it at the right price for its looks.

    1. Another industrial (Euro) point of view says:

      ..in fewer words I start to wonder whether GM missed their target…

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Ironically, they might be better off once there _is_ more competition. Right now the Model 3 and Leaf are looking.

  15. vdiv says:

    This is not good. My nearby Chevy dealer in VA had 8 Bolt EVs scattered on the lot a week ago, two of them were sold to customers from other states and waiting to be delivered. A third one was sold but the customer walked away and it is back on the market. One car was in the showroom and one right upfront at the entrance visible from the main road. The dealership initial order was of 45 cars (all with the DCFC package) that they are getting them piecemeal since January.

    My impressions in person were better than expected, it is a nice car with solid fit and finish, however the car comes with a sticker shock when compared to other vehicles on the lot. People really have to insist on getting one which still puts it in the early adopter, not mass market category 🙁

  16. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    I don’t think it’s 100% a GM issue. I think it’s a stealership issue as well.

    Last month I kept seeing commercials from different stealerships for differen manufacturers “with huge markdowns” because this is “Truck Month at [Insert stealership name here].

    Yet nothing for either the Volt or Bolt….lol

    So that gives the “Auto Alliance” the ammunition they need to say…..
    “See we built EV’s for customers but they don’t want EV’s.”

    1. bro1999 says:

      I think quite a few dealers are holding out trying to get MSRP for their Bolts (especially lower volume dealers), as they know once they sell the Bolt, it likely won’t be back for anything other than tire rotations. So they are trying to get as much as possible out of the initial sale, waiting for a sucker to walk through the door.

      1. vdiv says:

        …or call them from across the country 😉

        1. bro1999 says:

          My local MD dealer is selling Bolts for MSRP.
          So if I had waited 2 months and bought​ one locally….It would still have cost more than what I paid a CA dealer 3 months ago.

  17. cab says:

    I think this comes down to a basic “value proposition” for most Bolt buyers. Let’s face it. In many ways, you are looking at a Honda Fit / Chevy Trax mashup – except the premier stickers for $43K in many cases. Sure, that’s $35,500 after fed rebate, but still…that’s a lot of dough.

    ELECTRIC and RANGE are NOT the only things that matter to buyers. Car buying is pretty emotional (has been for decades) and folks are going to expect something a bit more luxurious for this amount of money. Indeed, I was at the local auto show a couple of weeks ago and remarked how the Kia Cadenza was considerably nicer than my Tesla Model S inside! Similarly, the Honda Accord and even the Chevy Volt are nicer inside than the Bolt. The exterior styling is also nothing to write home about with the Bolt. I can’t help but think a slightly larger small CUV Buick derivative with a nicer interior would have played better with buyers.

    Alternatively, GM can just start piling on the discounts which I am guessing we will see shortly.

  18. me says:

    according to cars dot com only 300cars or less on east coast

  19. Warren says:

    There are 94 Bolts within 75 miles of rural central Virginia. The Richmond dealership that laughed when we went for our “scheduled” test drive, telling us it actually wasn’t ready to drive, lists 31 at that location, and 2 at their North Carolina shop. Meanwhile there are 5 used Teslas for sale in this area.

    GM and Nissan are going to hand Tesla the mass EV market too.

    1. Warren says:

      If Tesla can actually start shipping cars this fall, they can show sales for every one they can make. It will be all over the news about how they are selling more EVs than the rest of the industry combined. GM and Nissan will be having price wars to move any. It will be ugly.

  20. Bonaire says:

    When a buyer looks at the smaller Bolt versus the Volt (ie. more cargo in hatch-Volt) and they know there are 100,000 “gas superchargers” nationwide, I think the volt actually is more compelling as an EV (and has been since 2010 vs. Leaf). No charging network tethering, no waiting on GM to install DCFC CCS Combo. No worry about using heat in the winter.

    You can drive a Volt daily all electric – and take a trip anywhere using gas, without range anxiety. The Bolt will be a great around-town delivery vehicle, commuter, whatever. But for a one-car ownership situation, the Volt still stands as a better choice.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Uh, you are dead wrong. I have both, and the Bolt has considerably more hatch space than a Volt. Volt has more depth, but the Bolt’s hatch is at least twice as deep.

      1. vdiv says:

        He is not wrong about the uncertainty surrounding charging and GM is not helping much with that. Remember, this is mass-market now, people are unfamiliar, are brainwashed with a bunch of anti-EV FUD, would rather hedge bets, and why not when it is seemingly cheaper too.

    2. Larry says:

      You are not wrong. The Volt is a car that can serve as the only car a person needs in any area of the country not peppered with fast chargers. Normally I use ICE only once a month for half a 120-mile round trip. Otherwise, EV all the way, baby! My head ruled over my heart when I decided not to wait over a year for the Bolt and have enjoyed my Volt for nearly a year. Maybe having previously owned a Leaf, I really appreciated the effect of range anxiety. I’m also not such a purist that I won’t run the ICE for a few minutes on those really cold days when its heat feels really good.

  21. Terawatt says:

    GM can easily sell more than their global production target in Norway alone. Opel Norway isn’t getting the cars and say if I buy one now it’ll be more than a year of waiting before delivery.

    So for whatever reason GM simply doesn’t want to sell many.

    What sort of deal they struck with PSA is unclear, but clearly they cannot just order as many as they like, or PSA isn’t interested in selling it in Norway either…

    It’s going to be interesting to see how many cars Norway gets this year. The first deliveries are next month, but i don’t know how many.

  22. evnow says:

    I went looking to get a Bolt. The prices were atrociously high – so finally decided to get a Volt (as a stop gap till Model 3 appears).

    BTW, almost all dealers near me in Seattle got dozens of Bolts from CA. They are selling them here for MSRP. But that won’t last long as people realize Bolts are getting discounted a lot in CA.

    The market for Bolt when it costs twice that of Volt/Leaf is not that big.

    1. taser54 says:

      Sorry but I find your assertion that a Bolt costs twice as much as a Volt to be unsupported.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Most people lease EV, and Bolt’s lease price ($299/mo + $3000) is about triple that of Volt ($79/mo + $3500).

        http://ev-vin.blogspot.com/

      2. Went to buy a Bolt and left with a Volt says:

        When I went in to buy my Bolt. Lease prices in Southern California where around $500-600. The Volts were leasing for $170-$250 (base model to totally decked out (i.e. comfort packages, safety packages, etc.). I figured it was the wrong time to buy a Bolt and I got a Volt instead.

        1. Jean-François Morissette says:

          I never get the lease price you get in the US. Here in Canada the Bolt is only 4500$CAN more than the Volt…how can the lease be 3 times higher?

        2. Someone out there says:

          Because the Volt price is subsidized for CARB-credits. Do you think that price for a Volt makes GM any money?

      3. evnow says:

        I leased Volt LT for $190 (w/ 1k down). Quoted price for Bolt is “Depends on trim options but in broad terms $570-620 with $2300 down”. This is directly from the dealership on the FB page. So yes, I should have actually said 3 times the monthly lease price.

  23. Perian says:

    Who would have been dumb enough to purchase/lease a Volt or Bolt here in New York during the month of April? The new NYS (up to) $2000 incentive only went into effect on April 1st. The Volt gets $1750, and the Bolt $2000.

    Let’s see what happens in April.

    1. Daniel S says:

      You are so right. My Bolt has been at my upstate NY dealer since March 10th. My dealer just today got the okay to use the NYS portal to qualify for the incentive. In addition GM only allocated one Bolt to this dealer in March and did not provide demos as they did in California. The dealer has already sold their one car allocation for April which comes in next week. They haven’t yet had an unsold car on the lot for any interested buyers to sit in let alone test drive,

    2. bro1999 says:

      Maryland is very close to renewing its $3k state rebate on plug-ins. Since the revamped rebate program excludes vehicles with MSRPs over $60k (sorry Tesla), the Bolt is currently the only vehicle that would qualify for the full $3k credit. Unfortunately the new rebate program won’t go into effect until 1 July.

      I bet there are quite a few Marylanders willing to wait until July to pick up a Bolt, and Bolt sales in MD will be meager in MD until July.

  24. Bone says:

    Bolt has sold way more than any other BEV in first three months. Tesla sold 74 Model S and 15 Model X in first three months. Nissan sold 173 Leaf. Fiat 500e quite surprisingly had first three months sales record of 1010 units, until Bolt broke that record with 2693 units sold.

    It’s too early tell how many they will sell when they have full production and nation wide sales.

    1. ffbj says:

      I think your numbers are off. Perhaps you did not read the sales numbers correctly.
      Yeah, it’s early, but it’s later than you think.

    2. David S. says:

      The numbers are correct. Is it not a bad start for the Bolt, even though we can’t really compare with the LEAF’s six years old numbers as the EV market is much bigger now. Also the BMW i3 sold 1057 in its first three months in the U.S.

    3. Bacardi says:

      Also broke the record for the most unsold inventory at launch…

  25. Paul K says:

    GM has left a bad taste with buyers who want to patronize good corporate citizenship. (1) They bought up as many electric transit companies as they could and destroyed the electric streetcars and buses and replaced them with diesels. (2) The big one was the total destruction of the EV1 fleet. (3) They knowingly sold vehicles with a dangerous ignition switch. SHAME ON GM!

    Also there will soon be more competitors at this price and capacity point as next gen Leaf and the M3 come on stream. Buyers may be waiting for more choice.

    For myself it will be a frosty Friday before these corporate badasses get my $$$.

    1. vdiv says:

      Some of the rationale is that among the “corporate badasses” there are “good asses” trying to do the right thing and create a compelling EV. Change can be affected from within by supporting their efforts. Yeah, maybe this is a bit naive and misguided, but it is a straw that many would rather hold onto and I would not fault them for it.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        and then they turn around and do this Kr@p…..
        http://insideevs.com/ceos-of-gm-ford-and-fca-call-again-to-review-emission-regulations/

    2. Tony Marco says:

      If the Bolt doesn’t start selling like “hotcakes” the bad taste regarding GM you commented about will be the only reasoning left that it’s not selling well.

      Unfortunately some people never forgive or forget !

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        then they pull this Kr@ap….
        http://insideevs.com/general-motors-sends-anti-tesla-letter-ohio-governor/

        Yeah, Buying from GM helps fund their Lawyers fight against CARB/EPA and the Tesla sales model.

        But go ahead and help their fight and buy their products…….lol

        1. Mark.ca says:

          +1
          I was waiting to get a VW ID when my eGolf lease was up in 2019 but seeing the letter they sent to EPA they all made my decision much more easier…Model 3!

  26. ANewHope says:

    Like many here, I’m not surprised Bolt sales are what they are:
    -Value: still a lot of money for a chevy/non-luxury car
    -Performance/power is a synonym for luxury, Bolt is lacking here
    -Mass market does not want to wear a sweater and turn down the heat to save the planet. For its price, Bolt needs to be a premium product/experience and is not.
    -Dealers: poor sales experience, it’s not their bread and butter and less future income from service/maintenance
    -Competition: even though model 3 is not yet available, all those preorders locked up a significant number of potential sales.

    1. Dave86 says:

      Add lack of a supercharger network to your list.

      GM seems to still be “experimenting” with EVs and not yet committed to them.

    2. BenG says:

      Well, to be fair, 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds (as tested by Motor Trend) is good performance/power, so the Bolt does have that aspect covered. It is legitimately a ‘hot hatch’.

      But you’re right, it’s not enough of a premium/luxury car to justify the price for many people. I do believe that GM designed the car to be more affordably priced and that they will be able to drop the price when there is more competition and GM has ramped up volume after initial bugs/problems are worked out and the slightly tweaked 2018 model is in full production.

  27. hpver says:

    I think it’s still too early to tell for sure. We are still early in the calendar year, and that means waiting almost a year to get the federal tax credit if you buy; and leasing costs are still way high.

    Cost is the first deterrent for us at the moment (even with the very good combination of rebates where we live in California), followed closely by the fact that we will have more choices within the year. Third but definitely on the list is the far from complete fast charging network and lack of commitment to it.

    Bottom line is we are waiting and watching. I’m betting others are doing the same.

  28. vdiv says:

    BTW, the photo at the top of the article of the Bolt EV arriving in NY/NJ in March was actually taken in Northern Virginia.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Lol, you caught us, we didn’t fly to New York to take a picture of Bolt EV arriving last week…we used a shot more easily available to us. Just imagine a New York plate on the front, (=

      1. vdiv says:

        Oh, I was secretly hoping for a greater conspiracy than just this 🙂

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Sorry to disappoint, (=

  29. Went to buy a Bolt and left with a Volt says:

    I agree with other potential Bolt customers, I thought about switching from my Volt to a Bolt, but Chevy was not willing to deal at all. There were no incentives in January, so I leased a new Volt and got a great deal because of all the GM incentives. I average 60 miles on a charge which is enough for me to almost travel back and forth to work 2x.

    Also, the Bolt felt cheap inside and it was narrower than my new Volt. The new Volt has a more luxurious interior, especially if you get the comfort package.

    My personal opinion, if GM really want to shake up the electric/plugin market, they should make a Chevy Malibu plug-in that gets 60 miles on a charge or an all electric that gets 238 per charge. That would sell very well for those who have families, if the price is right.

    Last, when you compare the styling of the Bolt to the Model 3, the Model 3 looks like a luxury car and the Bolt looks like an econobox. If prices are equal, I would buy the Model 3. It just looks better. Sorry Chevy.

    1. unlucky says:

      I do agree the Volt has a more luxurious interior, except for the center stack.

      But I have to ask, if you are concerned about interiors, why is making you interested in the Model 3? It has a cheaper-looking interior than the Bolt or Volt by a mile.

      1. Went to buy a Bolt and left with a Volt says:

        Good Question. I have only seen the outside of the Model 3 and it looks much better than the Bolt. I guess I am hoping the inside is as luxurious. I guess we will see when the final version start shipping to the car reviewers.

  30. M3-Reserved -- Bolt/Niro TBD says:

    Win Win for Chevy if you buy either Bolt or the Volt.

    Until the limited supply is resolved, Bolt will carry a premium. Model 3 and any other entry of 200mile EV will help render that advantage moot.

    Until then, don’t expect any price negotiations from dealerships on leases.

  31. Doggydogworld says:

    EVs sell if they:
    1. Look good
    2. Go 500 miles w/o hassle
    3. Costs the same as similar gascar

    Tesla gets this. GM doesn’t.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Most Tesla models do not meet your #2 and #3 criteria.

    2. Someone out there says:

      The Nissan LEAF is the most sold EV, how does that relate to your list?

    3. Doggydogworld says:

      Clarkson – A 75 kWh Tesla goes 200++ miles on the initial charge and gets to 500 miles with two half-hour Supercharger stops. Most people rarely, if ever, drive that far. But they want to know they CAN. If not, they basically view the car as a glorified golf cart.

      NOTE: I’m talking about mainstream US buyers. Not the EV enthusiast niche. Not Europe/Asia, where Bolt could do well if GM makes the effort.

      Teslas are priced roughly the same as models with similar size/performance from BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Lexus. Tesla competes in that space with less lux but more gee-whiz tech. Bolt, on the other hand, looks and feels like a Honda Fit or Sonic/Trax that costs $40k instead of $20k.

      Someone Out There – Leaf hasn’t really sold in the US for a while. Nissan gives them away with $59/month (or less) leases and 10k factory discounts that drop the $31k MSRP to $11-13k after fed/state credits. US customers paid $200m for Leafs in 2016 (14k units * 14k ASP). Tesla sold 20 TIMES that much. Leaf is even less of a market player than Bolt.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Bolt is not like Sonic/Fit. It’s more like hot hatch such as VW GTI, Focus RS, etc. which cost about $25K-$30K. Unfortunately for Bolt, performance is on lower end of hot hatch while pricing is on upper end. Had they priced it $25K post subsidy, it would be very compelling car. Aftermarket suspension could add to real fun at that price point.

  32. BrendonkLA says:

    In suburban Los Angeles, CarGurus is showing 826 Bolts in inventory to choose from in a 50 mile radius. The local Chevrolet “super volume” dealer has 164 to choose from

    If they don’t hit substantially better sales numbers in January, it’s a year one dud and likely going to get clobbered by the Model 3. I wish it weren’t the case, actually…

  33. u_serious? says:

    The Bolt is an econobox with econo seats.
    Don’t waste your money on it.

    If the deers and GM can lower the fake msrp price in a few months then they could’ve sold the volt for that price in the begining. The fools that think msrp is real are just plan dumb.

  34. M3 Reserved - Bolt/Niro TBD says:

    900+ sales this month and selling out allotments overseas shows otherwise a dud.

    Dealerships aren’t willing to deal at this time since their threshold isn’t being hit, plus they’re moving the Volt converted sales, so that’s good for them.

    Until there’s an inventory balance and actual competition of delivery, Bolt has no competition. It’ll pick off Tesla 3 reservation holders and even more if ramp up of Tesla 3 isn’t as promised by Elon.

    I’m hopeful for Bolt as any successful EV is one better for our transition to electrification and get folk like Honda to get off their arse.

  35. David Murray says:

    I suppose this is a good opportunity to rub it in to all of those EV purists who think that nobody wants those darned hybrids.. When the Prius Prime is outselling the Bolt and the Fusion Energi is nipping at it’s heals, it is very telling.

    One important thing to consider. The Bolt may have 238 miles of range, but without a proper charging infrastructure, it is still useless as a long-distance driver. So if you are going to buy a vehicle for in-town use only, 100 miles is just about as good at a much lower price.

    I think a lot of the EV purists live in areas where there is a robust charging infrastructure and do not know the pain of living in an area like I do where it is totally insufficient.

    I still cannot drive a Bolt EV from Dallas to Houston without enormous planning, risk, and sacrifice. However, I can drive my Volt a quarter of the way there on battery power, and the other 75% on gas without ever stopping. I can recharge at my hotel or destination and do most of my driving in Houston on EV power, and then when I return home, again drive another 25% of the journey on battery.

    With a Bolt, I would wind up just renting an ICE vehicle and driving the whole distance both directions on gasoline.

    1. cab says:

      Agreed, which then ties directly to the price point. If you can’t take it our of town, how much is it “worth” to you? A buyer likely tolerates less capability at a lower price point, but at a loaded (Premier) after rebate price of $36K – that’s a bit steep for a car that comes across as a nice Honda Fit otherwise.

      Buyers with more discretionary income just step up to the Tesla so the Bolt is left in no man’s land. The BMW i3 (sorry David) is suffering a bit of a similar fate right now.

  36. Bill Howland says:

    The BOLT ev works for me since I have the 2014 ELR for distant road trips.

    I agree that for most, a BOLT ev would be problematic for single car families, unless they had no problem doing car rentals often.

  37. Bob Nan says:

    GM started selling Bolt in just 2 states initially and then slowly progresses towards other states and this type of selling has badly damaged Bolt’s reputation and some may consider this as a compliance car and shy away.

    This is what GM did with Volt and its sales was very low and then slowly recovered. Still the sales of Volt is very low compared to its price.

    Model-S has already take #1 spot in YTD sales with Model-X a close #3.

    I hope by the time Model-3 comes, Bolt production would have stabilized and go above 2,000 units +.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Please explain how Volt sales are low when it is the best selling plug in ever within the US. What does that make every other plug in’s sales? How can the best selling one be considered low?

      1. Ziv says:

        I have been a “glass half empty” guy when it comes to GM of late, but the Volt is off to its best first quarter ever.
        The funny thing is that now when you look at Teslas numbers this month, the Volt looks only ok, even though the Volt has had a good quarter.
        And you know what? I think that is a good sign. We are expecting fast improvements and steady improvements aren’t good enough for a lot of us.

  38. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “After what some might say was a bit of a disappoint for sales of the all-new Chevrolet Bolt in February (with 952 units moved), the 238 mile EV debuted in New York and New Jersey in March; and with that, sales strengthened — but only slightly last month.”

    Slightly? I think that needs to be stated more strongly: Even with expanding sales to New York and New Jersey, Bolt EV sales increased only 2.7%, and despite the fact that March car sales are generally much stronger than February sales.

    Coupled with the startling drop in sales between January and February, this is looking like demand for the Bolt EV is very quickly being exhausted. I certainly hope things turn around later in the year, but it’s looking more and more like those of us who predicted a strong U.S. market for the Bolt EV were, sadly, quite wrong. 🙁

    Here’s hoping that GM either takes steps to pressure its dealers to promote the car, or that GM starts shipping a much greater fraction of the production to Europe (to sell as the Opel Ampera-e), or both.

  39. Clark Adams says:

    I wound up buying a Volt and suspect that many people are walking into dealerships trying to buy a Bolt and finding they can’t, so they go for the Volt. My experience buying a Bolt was not good…they were either not available at the 3 dealers I checked or the dealer was tacking on extra costs while their maintenance people were telling me to not buy an electric car, one saying “The problem with them is that they don’t use gas.” (?!?what does that mean?!?). In the meantime, I went to an autoshow which had the Volt and the GM rep sold me on that. I really like my Volt and considering it is more comfortable than the Bolt (I took one out for a test drive) and I am getting about a 500 mile range so far, it is perfect for my needs. Currently getting about 80+ miles per gallon per readout on console (which sounds right), so no complaints except I wish I had bought one years ago.

Leave a Reply