Chevy Bolt Sales In South Korea Nearly Match U.S. In May

Bolt EV South Korea sales numbers are strong in 2018


The Bolt EV was the Korean brand’s 3rd best selling vehicle for May, representing over 13% of domestic sales.

For most of this quarter, we have noted that Bolt EV inventories and sales in the US have been very low. Earlier this month in our Bolt / Volt sales estimates we speculated that part of the reason for strained inventories was an increase in exports.

For Europe between January and April, sales of the Ampera-e are up to just under 1,000 units. Estimated sales for May should bring the total to about 1,200. This would be an ~ 300% increase over the same period in 2017. Canadian sales for this period are similarly up from 700 in 2017 to 1,150 in 2018.

But the most impressive increase in Bolt EV sales this year has occurred in South Korea.

Over 6 weeks between late March and April, the electric hatchback sold a respectable 500 units in Korea. But in May sales skyrocketed to 1,014 units, nearly matching our US sales estimates of 1,125 for last month. Only the Chevy Malibu and Spark outsold the Bolt EV in May.

The boost in sales brings the year to date Korean totals to a rather impressive 1,551 units. This is a 522% increase from the same period in 2017.

High demand and strong incentives are fueling sales in Korea.

The government would like to reach 250,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2020. While South Korea does not have a ZEV mandate, they are taking a carrot approach to EV adoption. Regional subsidies for electric vehicles can exceed $23,000.

Last year, the quirky eligibility requirement that a battery electric vehicle must be charged in under 10 hours on a standard household outlet were removed. This change was pushed for strongly by Tesla and GM Korea. Now both brands stand to benefit by increased EV sales in the country.

The Chevy Volt has also resumed sales, but they remain soft at 50 units for the year. The plug-in hybrid import is expensive and the very generous financial incentives do not apply.

At least 5,000 Bolt EVs are expected to be sold in South Korea in 2018. GM has indicated that planned production increases this year are partially to meet growing demand in South Korea and Canada.

From GM Korea:

– Chevrolet Bolt EV sales surpassed 1,000 units in May

Thanks to improvements in vehicle supply, the Chevrolet Bolt EV experienced continued market popularity among electric vehicles in May. Its sales of 1,014 units were up 745.0 percent from the same month in 2017.

South Korean Bolt sales skyrocket in May

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt EVs - finding more US driveways every month!
29 photos
The introduction (and US reception) of the Chevy Bolt EV has pulled forward GM's 200,000th sale by at least a year (now expected in Q2 2018) Chevrolet Bolt at the recent GM Official autocross event near Detroit. Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) Chevrolet Bolt EV (wallpaper 2,560x) 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet Bolt EV The best option overall is generally to drive at normal speed Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior Chevrolet Bolt EV:  Lots of useful room inside...and a fair about of standard finishes Bolt Interior Chevy Bolt Chevrolet Bolt EV - right-hand-drive?! Chevy Bolt rear seats The rear seating area offers plenty of room for passengers Inside the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

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50 Comments on "Chevy Bolt Sales In South Korea Nearly Match U.S. In May"

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Question is, why isn’t it completely sold out? If there is a way to charge the car, I don’t know why anyone would get anything other than Bolt in compact / mid-compact. With post subsidy price, it’s the best bang for buck (or won) of any car in Korea. And the country is so small that one charge could get you from coast to coast and back again.

It’s 800 km between Seoul and Busan and back. At -10 in January in South Korea it will take 4-5 charging stops in a Bolt for an hour each to do it.

East sea to West sea, not border against socialist paradise to southern coast.

The 5,000 2018 allocations for Bolt EVs in South Korea sold out in less than a day. 3-4 hours IIRC.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Sell them to outside market to game the Fed rebate……….why the hell not?!?!?!?!?

More likely, they are mopping up markets where the model 3 does not exist. EV markets are both demand and supply constrained. Only a small number of people want EVs (yet) and only a small quantity can be made. A little strategic thinking goes a long way in such markets.

Even more likely, they are paying their Bolt dues to South Korea. Unless I am much mistaken, the Bolt is a Korean-designed car, and drivers there would have special loyalty and trust towards it.

GM design, including the power train, with some design collaboration on the battery. LG-Chem is producing the drive train & battery.

It’s actually GM Korea (i.e. former Daewoo) design AIUI.

Exactly, since that is what everyone else does.

So the Bolt is completely sold out in Korea, and this low sales figure is only due to GM’s lack of shipment?

My wife’s friend’s family in South Korea received their Bolt Premier last month. Basically exactly the same as my Bolt. The wife saw it when they visited last year, and they decided they wanted one as well. Their husband managed to score one of the 5k pre-order slots a while back. The 5k allocations sold out in like 3 hours, so they felt fortunate to snag a spot.

Exactly, this vehicle will do incredibly well there. Too bad about Opel sale as it would have done well in Europe as well.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I directed 2 peeps to go look at the Bolt over the weekend.
They both purchased one from different stealerships. One seemed to have paid more than the other.
They said there were at least 4 on the lot.

haha! Thats the problem with car dealers, if they would just list all cars at their lowest and fairest price, it would simplify the entire process…

Ok. How about $78k? You’ll get to paste a P in front of the model name. That seems fair.

I like to banter and get a price that I want.

There’s 3 here on the lot in NE Ohio. 2 new with one without DCFC at $38k no buy unless took some money off of the hood like 15k and then I might consider it and a use one premier with 40miles at $30k with DCFC. I might buy it when it drops to $27.9k. It Sunnyside Chevrolet Dealer in Elyria Ohio

Thats awesome… I knew GM had some going to South Korea this year, but did not think there were that many.

Chevy could always sell in Europe under its own brand name if they want to sell. Potential buyers are plenty.

In the UK, the Daewoo franchises were re-branded Chevrolet after GM bought Daewoo.
The re-branding was because while over 95% of people would not set foot in a Daewoo dealership, for Chevrolet the figure was only over 90%

Or buyers can come to the states and buy it and import it

As GM has almost no sales in Europe after selling off Opel, they don’t have much reason to sell compliance cars at a loss just to avoid fines…

What’s missing in the article is the fact that the battery is built by LG Chem from South Korea. I think this also plays an important role for the high demand there.

The car was designed in Korea.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

If the entire powertrain was built by LG and the car was designed in Korea, as you say, then what part did GM play?

They design the logos.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

LMAO……….lol, u stoooopid….. 😛

Assembled in the US. It’s the US-China relationship in reverse 🙂

The Bolt platform/design was by GM Korea. Not just some random Koreans. 😉

You realize that GM owns Daewoo??? Just because it is made in S. Korea doesn’t mean it wasn’t GM.

Yeah, that’d be like saying the Chinese design all Apple products, and all Apple does is slap its logo on the products.
Global supply people, global supply.

I think GM owns Daewoo auto, but not the shipbuilding business.

The battery pack and powertrain was designed in Michigan by GM. Yes, LG is contracted to actually produce it for them with their battery cells in it. The design work was done in a GM design studio that happens to be in Korea, but belongs to and is directed by GM in Michigan. The lead designer for the Bolt is actually British. It is a GM car, not an LG car as some would like you to believe.

It’s only an LG car when there is good Bolt news.
When there’s bad Bolt news, it flips back to being a GM car. Lol

haha! You nailed that…

Yes, some torture the data until it talks in their favor. Why are YOU surprised about this? Isn’t this your thing?

GM has a huge design center in Korea

You ARE aware that GM has a Korean division, right?

Could be why the thing is so ugly when compared to a similar sized Buick Encore.

It was designed by GM Korea

The Bolt looks like it was laid by a Korean mother goose. of course Koreans just eat it up.

I was confused when the article mentioned the Chevy Spark. I assumed they were talked about the Spark EV, which I thought had been discontinued (and… I guess I think that again now. I was briefly confused and thought it was still available in South Korea.)

Used off lease Chevy EV Sparks from California are being shiiped to Quebec by the truck load because uniquely here in QC the gov. provides a $4000 incentive to buyers.

See here 18 of them heading to the Chevy dealer in QC where I bought my Volt. They sell like hotcakes

The Spark EV was a conversion, not purpose-built EV. The main model is ICE.

If GM had any guts and foresight they would have planned on producing 100,000 plus units per year. They could easily sell that many between the US, Europe and South Korea. It would help the m recoup their R&D faster and put them ahead in the EV game.

If they produced/sold 100,000, they would sell 80,000 less ICE vehicles, mostly small CUV’s. At the moment, that is where the big profit is. They reason it is better to stay in the 20,000 range. If they don’t build them, don’t stock them, don’t promote them, and don’t sell them, they can claim “nobody wants them”.

And you are right, GM has no guts.

Thats true, but they did not plan for that kind of production. The supply chain is simply not strong enough for that. Plus I suspect GM is going to be building something with a Buick label and Bold running gear sometime soon.

Buick will come out with the “Jolt” CUV EV “with Bold running gear”, to further exacerbate the EV Model branding confusion!

That’s a manufacturing footprint they don’t want to be caught with if/when the robotaxi future becomes a reality.