Chevrolet Bolt And Volt Sales Show Promise This March
After a strong showing in 2017, the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV continues to impress into the new year, and the Volt wows us.
We can’t say we’re surprised that the Chevy Bolt fared much better this February after its weak sales figures in the first month of the year. January numbers – although down considerably from most months in 2017 – were still up a touch year over year. How goes it this March?
Historically, aside from a surprisingly weak February and March, Bolt sales increased every month in 2017 to culminate in a December that eclipsed the 3,000 mark by a notable margin (3,227). This February, the Chevrolet Bolt showed that it could succeed once again. But, can it maintain that momentum as its situation changes?
Now that the Tesla Model 3 has proven it can easily top our sales chart three months in a row and counting, the Prius Prime continues to shine, and the new second-gen 2018 Nissan LEAF is here in stronger numbers, the Chevrolet Bolt is no longer in the “safe” position it has enjoyed for many months. Nonetheless, as linked above, GM CEO Mary Barra has promised increased Bolt production. We’ll see how that pans out in the coming months.
March seems to suggest that the Bolt will continue to find a home near the top of our chart, though it might never match Model 3 numbers going forward, and will now see strong competition from the LEAF.
With all of that being said, GM moved 1,774 Bolts this March, up 81.5% from last year’s 978, and up 350 units from last month’s 1,424.
This marks the last month that GM will be reporting monthly sales. The automaker has decided to go against industry tradition and follow in the footsteps of Tesla, only providing quarterly reports.
GM’s next sales report won’t come until July. This is yet another automaker that will make monthly sales reporting increasingly difficult, and the expectation is that most other will eventually follow suit. GM’s U.S. vice president for sales operations, Kurt McNeil shared:
Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market. Reporting sales quarterly better aligns with our business, and the quality of information will make it easier to see how the business is performing.
In October, GM publicized its future electrification plans, which will include up to 20 electric vehicles. In the short term, GM will offer two new all-electric vehicles inside of the next eighteen months.
As we previously reported, the first will be a Bolt-based Buick crossover. We received exclusive information back in July from a source who attended a GM focus group. During the event, GM accidentally included the upcoming information in a presentation given by CEO Mary Barra (check out that photo below). Since then, the automaker has vowed to make profitable EVs by 2021.
Though Chevy Bolt sales have remained pretty solid, its stablemate, the Chevrolet Volt, has been telling a different story. The Bolt, along with a growing list of competing plug-ins, have stolen the Volt’s thunder as of late.
November welcomed the Honda Clarity PHEV – which has been priced strongly ($33,400 for a mid-size car with 47 miles of range) and is likely to become one of the Volt’s toughest rivals. In February, the Clarity PHEV sold a strong 881 copies, securing it a spot in the model recap section of our monthly scorecard. Perhaps it will fare even better this month.
In addition to the Clarity, the Hyundai IONIQ PHEV and Kia Niro PHEV experienced huge sales growth in February. If the trend continues, these vehicles could net an impressive amount of success over the course of this year.
The Toyota Prius Prime has proven the Volt’s strongest contender, having placed narrowly ahead of GM’s PHEV for five straight months. Then, in December, the Prime surged ahead with a solid 2,420 copies sold, making it boss to the Volt for a full six months and remaining far ahead ever since.
With everything considered, it comes as quite a surprise that GM delivered a healthy 1,782 Volts in the month of March. While this is up significantly from January and February, it’s down 16.4% from last year’s 2,132 for the month. The most interesting part is that GM moved more Volts than Bolts for the month of March, albeit just a handful more.
As a whole, the news remains positive for GM in the EV segment. The automaker sold 3,556 plug-ins for March (excluding Cadillac CT6 plug-in deliveries, which will be in later).
Source: The Detroit News