As With Most EVs, January Sales Estimates Soft For Chevy Volt, Bolt

Chevy Bolt EV in snow

FEB 1 2019 BY WADE MALONE 34

It’s that time of year again: plug-in sales enter hibernation.

Because General Motors no longer reports monthly sales reports in favor of Tesla-like quarterly reporting, InsideEVs’ monthly Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Volt delivery numbers are estimates.

As has been the case since the beginning of time, January EV deliveries are pretty weak. Especially coming off the yearly highs of Q4. In 2018, the Chevy Bolt and Volt gave solid but unremarkable sales performances. So far 2019 is continuing that trend with InsideEVs estimating that both models sold less than 1,000 units in January.

In January, 2019 we estimate that Chevrolet sold 925 Chevy Bolt EVs and 675 Chevy Volts.

The estimates are due to low Volt inventories, extreme weather around the country, and historically poor January sales.

How 2019 shakes out from a sales perspective cannot be predicted based on January sales. We know the Volt will suffer a severe drop in sales this year. Inventory is currently quite weak, averaging under 1,600 during the month. Only about 750 new Volt examples hit dealers during this time. And of course, production of the best-selling plug-in hybrid will end in a matter of months.

The removal of the Volt from the lineup should leave room for the Bolt to improve sales this year. However, with GM’s reduction of the federal tax rate looming, the future performance of the Bolt is hard to predict. The Detroit automaker would be smart to reduce pricing on the Bolt EV as Tesla has done for the Model 3. Or perhaps introduce a refresh for the 2020 model year to improve exterior styling.

We also have learned that South Korea will again receive an extensive number of Bolt EVs this year. This will reduce the number of Bolts available to US buyers as it did last summer. Thankfully, production has been increased on the Bolt, so inventory drops should not be as severe as they were in 2018.

CHEVY 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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34 Comments on "As With Most EVs, January Sales Estimates Soft For Chevy Volt, Bolt"

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Ouch.

Model 3 will be extremely low due to most being shipped overseas. So January is going to be a ugly month for ev sales.

It will indeed. Not that this is surprising… January is often painful for EVs anyways. lol

Sad but true. May end well under 20K units….

In the new car market, January and February are, on average, always the months with the lowest sales, by a rather large margin.

I guess every auto news website, EV or otherwise, could run an article like this every year. The editor could merely use “find and replace” in his word processor to update the year. 🙄

* * * * *

The graph below is for European automotive sales. I guess they don’t have end-of-year sales promotions to increase December sales, as U.S. dealers do?

https://www.jato.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dec-2014-Volumes-Release.jpg

Lol very true.

One of the big drivers in the US is getting the purchase in before the end of the calendar year so you can immediately receive the tax credit within a month or two. If you buy in January, you aren’t getting the tax credit for another year.

I bet a lot of people are waiting for the Audi eTron, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV and the Leaf Plus to come out. EV sales might continue to be low until we start seeing these new models on dealer lots. Of course Tesla still has a lot of reservations that haven’t filled so any low sales numbers on Tesla is entirely on Tesla.

Tesla has gone through their backlog and cherry picked the high margin orders. What is left is the $35,000 Model 3s which Tesla cannot produce profitably. So, their lack of sales is perfectly understandable. They don’t want those $35,000 Model 3 orders at all

They just decreased the amount of man hours to produce a by a further 20%, so they are probably pretty close to being able to break even on a $35k Model 3. But they want to make a profit on every car sold, obviously, so it may be another quarter before we see the first trickle of $35k base model 3’s.
Given the relatively high profit margin Tesla is getting on their vehicles, it may end up that the $35k base model is a rare bird, with the price going up by a couple thousand dollars a year or two after the first ones are sold.

True. I think it’s a bit unfair not to point out that the promised 35k car was pre Trump Tariffs, so I would give them a 15%-20% cushion, and still say they fulfilled their promise.
As you point out they can’t make it a loss leader either like legacy makers and make up the loss by gouging customers on their ICE vehicle. They want to make a profit on it, and they will still probably get on average 38k, as most people will not want black, and get at least an option or two.

Before we see the SR Base, I would expect to see SR+PUP. That PUP option at $5k has gotta have some good margin on it.

Why do you get on here and regurgitate the incompetent mis-analysis of Tesla sales from right wing nut web sites.

Most luxury cars are leases.
Only an idiot or someone Paid to be WRONG would continue to ignore that Tesla Model 3 has no leases. Expect 100% sales increase when leases become available, affecting the higher end Model 3’s especially including the Performance model 3.

Stick to talking about Leningrad snow, something you’d have competence in.

Teslas typically lease poorly due to no discounts. Great deals can be snagged on leases when manufacturers pile on the discounts/incentives, but Tesla doesn’t offer discounts. I really don’t think deliveries will increase all that much whenever Tesla offers Model 3 leases. The tax credit will likely be completely gone by then, further reducing the appeal of a lease.

Maybe so, but many prefer leasing for other reasons. Also, Teslas have great resale values, so the residual is good, which reduces the lease cost.

They won’t be selling a $35,000 version soon, but I bet they will be selling a Standard Range version soon with a smaller battery, manufactured by the new process & robots being installed in GF1.

The $5,000 of Autopilot revenue of with cost of flipping a byte is awfully profitable.

I want SR+PUP+/-EAP … that will be quite a bit higher than $35k.

They should offer it like that:
1-$5000 at purchase for a life time
2-$1000at purchase for a year and $500/year after the first year

Would like to see some of the features broken out ala-carte. Like just ACC, blindspot detection, crash avoidance, etc. I don’t have a desire for the full EAP capabilities.

Winter has come. From a happy EV prospective … January is such a downer.

I expect a mini surge in March for General Motors as prospective Volt/Bolt buyers snatch up available inventory before the tax credit is halved in April.

Isn’t this the last quarter for the full $7,500 tax rebate for GM … you’d think they would have record sales (compared to same month in previous years) if they were really serious/pushing this EV. Right?

“if they were really serious” – that says it all.

How is GM not serious? You can find plenty of Bolts sitting on dealer lots with thousands of dollars off MSRP ready to be purchased. That shows GM is far more serious about selling EV than Tesla.

Tesla OTOH did not meet the demand as the tax credit was waning and still does not meet the demand, instead shipping their cars out of the country while not giving a penny in discount,

If you’re going to bitch about “not serious”, talk to Tesla and their refusal to make enough. But I suspect you won’t, because you only see Tesla badge even if they made zero cars and everything else as “not serious”.

Additionally, the Bolt was the best selling non-Tesla BEV in the US
For 2018, And probably will be for 2019.

Advertising and working with various publications to get the word out on the tax credit savings and how affordable the 200+ mile EV is. Look what Tesla did in their last quarter. The comparison is striking.

Wrong, since we know that GM wasn’t really ever serious. From an automaker who heavily favors SUV and Pickup choices instead of cars, it never made any sense to make their premiere offerings a compact hatchback and compact wagon. Talking about a colossal customer mismatch. Also, we know that January (the dead of winter) is terrible for sales of most vehicles anyway. Combine that with having to wait an entire year to wait for getting a tax-credit, there’s simple no incentive. Might as well just wait to see what others in the market will be offering. That being said, there is basically no inventory of Volt’s antithesis still. There are only 150 Prius Prime 2019 models available for the entire country right now. That lack of inventory seems to be in line with Toyota preparing to take advantage of GM’s downfall. Timing of GM phaseout dropping to 50% is perfect for a mid-cycle upgrade reveal, exactly the right timing for Earth Day. Imagine a 2020 model rolled out shortly afterward. It’s good reason not to build up much new inventory. This is that opportunity missed a chorus of us raised concern about. Wasting time & credits on conquest achieved what?

Toyota: the true EV leader of the world. LOL

How do you define leadership ?

The Bolt will go the way of the Leaf in the U.S. It had its brief moment in the sun, and now the gathering clouds will rain down hard on its vanishing bulbous silhouette as it sales go slip sliding away. A car that GM never really got behind as only 40% of dealers sold it, and most of those sales were in the CARB states. The Model 3 really killed two birds with one stone, both GM products, the Volt and the Bolt, with the final nails being driven in their coffins by the coming competitors, like the KIA Niro, the Kona, and others. Still it was a good car, and any ev is better than an ICE, but the Bolt never turned heads, sparked the imagination, or lived up to it’s promise. Though it garnered a number of awards, it was more a flash in the pan, than a substantial advance in ev technology. GM cut too many corners so as to loose less money on it, but it was a bridge to far for many people, with lame DCFC, only available as an option, poor rear suspension, front seats that only the Marquee de Sade would appreciate,… Read more »

@ffbj: bs

“Though it garnered a number of awards, it was more a flash in the pan, than a substantial advance in ev technology.”

It’s still the most affordable 200+mile rang EV you can get in all 50 States. And likely to remain so for most, if not all, of 2019.

That’s a substantial advancement for EVs.

Kia Niro and Kona only California compliance cars, what competition?

Can’t see GM doing an exterior refresh, I personally think the exterior is fine. And that would require some expensive sheet metal forming tool changes.

Rather, they might introduce options to keep up with the Jones’s, like ACC, lane keeping, supercruise?(doubtful), etc. Maybe a better/faster DCFC charge profile, DCFC as standard, automatic adjustable seats, things people have complained about.

Or they leave it as-is and drop the price a fair bit. It could soon be the lowest cost 200+ range EV available in all 50 states. Oh wait,…it already is.