Chevy Sales Estimates: Volt Hits Yearly High, Bolt Begins To Climb

Bolt EV arrives in UAE

SEP 5 2018 BY WADE MALONE 45

2019 Chevy Bolt EV arriving at dealerships now

Unfortunately, due to General Motors’ recent decision to withhold monthly sales reports in favor of a Tesla-like quarterly reporting system, the following numbers are estimates.

InsideEVs considers this information important to our readers and a testament to what we’ve been doing for some time. So, we have attempted to provide you with our best estimates. Our numbers are primarily based upon daily inventory tracking, as well as accounts from buyers, dealers and other sources.

If you have been following our sales articles for the past few months, you know that Bolt inventories in the U.S. have been weak ever since the 2018 MY transition. GM has been prioritizing exports of the popular electric hatchback, particularly to South Korea. As a result, between March and July, the Chevy Volt has consistently edged out the Bolt EV in sales. For instance, in July we estimated 1475 Chevy Volts and 1175 Bolt EVs made their way to buyers.

This past month the Bolt and Volt both appear to be trending up in inventories and sales. For August, we estimate 1,225 Chevy Bolt EVs and 1,825 Chevy Volts were delivered to owners. 

Chevrolet Bolt EV in Maven’s first all-electric fleet of shared vehicles for freelance driving launched in Austin, Texas.

Chevy Bolt inventories reach levels not seen for 6 months

For the past two quarters, Chevy Bolt EV inventories have hovered between 2,000 and 2,750 units according to Cars.com. By late July, we began to see an uptick to about 2,900. In the last 2 weeks over of August, inventories were looking much stronger, averaging around 3,200 units. This is important since we had not seen Bolt inventories reach this level since February, 2018. The last time the Bolt cracked 3k was 3,003 units was on March 7th.

Of course, many of these vehicles listed are still in transit. So we are keeping with a conservative Bolt estimate for the month of August.

We expect Bolt and Volt sales to continue to increase month over month from now until the end of the year. Chevrolet will likely focus on U.S. deliveries to prepare for the year-end EV sales rush. GM is also expected to hit 200k U.S. Plug-In sales in Q4 2018. Not coincidentally, Bolt EV production will be increased 20% in Q4. According to GM:

U.S. and global demand for the Chevrolet Bolt EV has been very strong in 2018, with global sales estimated to be up more than 35 percent year over year in the second quarter and up more than 40 percent in the first half. In response, GM is increasing fourth quarter production by more than 20 percent compared to the average of the first three quarters.

We have seen some welcome changes to the 2018/2019 Bolt in the form of revised front seats and a user defined target charge level. The Volt will also receive several major improvements for its mid-cycle refresh. Optional 7.2 kW charging and power driver seats just to name a few. These updates should help the cars stay competitive in the second half of the year.

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45 Comments on "Chevy Sales Estimates: Volt Hits Yearly High, Bolt Begins To Climb"

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Bruce Sanders

You don’t need estimates (although you were very close!). GM August 2018 sales leaks are all over the web. Looks like GM really did cut back on fleet sales last month.

Chevrolet Cars…Aug ’18………Aug ’17….Aug %
Bolt……………………1,168…………2,107 ……-44.6%
Camaro………………3,779………..5,017 ……-24.7%
Caprice (I)…………………2…………….60…….-96.7%
Corvette………………1,574………..1,748… …-10.0%
Cruze ……………….10,106……….16,500……-38.8%
Impala…………………4,253…………9,452 …..-55.0%
Malibu………………..12,571………22,725… ….-44.7%
Sonic…………………..1,839…………2,181 …….-15.7%
Spark (I)………………1,850…………1,855 ……..-0.3%
SS (I)………………………..1…………….2 27……..-99.6%
Volt……………………..1,789………….1, 445………23.8%

Thank you. Yes, we knew we were very close. And, those estimates on the web are great, but ours are surely very heavily researched. Glad, as usual, we were spot-on.

first there is a mountain

these look like Automotive News numbers, which are clearly indicated to be an estimate.

vdiv

Based on this the Volt was the only car that saw a year-over-year sales increase. That puts the numbers in quite a perspective.

Prad Bitt

Bolt sales begin to climb LOL! Wasn’t it supposed to be the case 2 years ago?

Chris O

The Korean sales tell the story: $23K of local subsidies no doubt go a long way in making this a profitable proposition for GM but in the US the MSRP probably only just covers production cost with things becoming money losing real quick if sales incentives need to be applied so I figure there is not much incentive to sell these outside CARB states.

God/Bacardi

The Bolt EV at times can be oen of GM’s most heavily incentivized leased vehicles…

REXisKing

As it’s based on the Sonic, costs for much of the car are low.

Chris O

Bolt’s building cost have actually been calculated at ~$28K but one has to factor in dealer margins as well so at US MSRP Bolt barely breaks even and money losing if incentives are applied. This is consistent with the distribution pattern of Bolt: heavily focused on CARB states and markets with the sort of incentives that allow for better prices.

Cypress

Not based on the Sonic. The first test mules used a Sonic rear end, but the Bolt is it’s own platform.

Dimitrij

As per GM, the Bolt rides on its own platform that is not shared with other vehicles. In future, it might serve as an entirely new platform for the next generation of GM’s small electric CUV’s.

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1106137_chevy-bolt-ev-not-on-shared-architecture-but-platform-name-secret-gm-says

It’s kind of apparent to the layman’s eye that the Bolt is quite a bit larger than the Sonic – it has a longer wheelbase, is a few inches longer, very visibly taller, and a little wider than the Sonic. Even more importantly, it’s 30% heavier, and the weight distribution is different, too.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“so I figure there is not much incentive to sell these outside CARB states.”

That would put it in the compliance car category…….lol

Chris O

Compliance is definitely Bolt’s main mission, but GM will sell it in any market where it is profitable, meaning an incentive system that makes it attractive for people to pay the prices GM needs to make a profit.

Dimitrij

For CARB compliance, GM already had the Spark EV (along with the Volt). Besides, if they were looking to make another (mainly) compliance car, why would they want to spend 4 years (2012-2016) and goodness knoweth how many $$$$$$$ on developing a new platform? Your typical compliance EV’s are usually factory conversions of the existing ICE models … look at the Soul, Honda Fit EV, e-Golf or whatever it’s called, Fiat 500e and the already mentioned Spark EV.

My guess would be the “main mission” of the Bolt platform was to serve as a testbed for the rapidly evolving new tech, and the progenitor to its future EV’s. Many of which, I am afraid, we won’t see, unless we live in China.

Viking79

The car hasn’t been out two years yet… They have upped production of it some, it sells well in some markets. I am more interested in what they were launching late this year and surprised we haven’t seen spy shots.

scottf200

Climb may be a little strong of a word although certainly because GM will hit 200K they will be motivated to raise inventory and discounts … then predict 2019 to drop and flatten. The numbers after this many months in production are clearly a disappointment after all the initial hoopla and how they beat the Tesla Model 3 to production.

a-kindred-soul

Europe would buy much more Bolts in the form of the Ampera-E, but you just cannot get them. Here in France they are not even for sale!

Chris O

Bolt became rare and expensive in Europe when GM no longer had any compliance issues left after selling its Opel division to PSA. I think they are still available in some markets where there is enough incentives for Bolt to make sense for consumers at prices that are profitable for GM like Norway.

Benz

Will GM ever introduce the Chevrolet brand in Europe again?

Cypress

Chevy is in Europe. They sell the Camaro there.

antrik

I do see Chevrolets occasionally here in Berlin — mostly Spark I think?

Nix

If we see another huge end of the year push, fueled by yet another budget bill from the party in power to eliminate the $7500 EV tax credit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see GM double their current number of year-to-date sales by the end of 2018.

Bill Howland
I know most people here won’t believe it, but Mary Barra recently stated that (standing in front of a Bolt ev) that GM believes in an ALL-Electric future. That is quite a significant statement for such a large corporation. The choice of words here is interesting…….. Seems to me to put Hydrogen-Fueled cars on the back burner, a good thing as far as this country is concerned. There may be places in the world where H2 vehicles make sense, however, I don’t believe that remotely applies to the USA – especially in view of the COST/BENEFIT that has lately been the experience in California. None of these ‘Big Thinkers’ at Toyota or Hyundai seem to ‘sweat the details’. At a distance, I’ve done my own evaluation and I just don’t see how those cars justify the expense being currently experienced, nor do I see any huge technological breakthroughs realized any time soon. Cars like the Honda Clarity (gasoline backup) as well as the Chevy Volt cut crude oil consumption by almost an order of magnitude – and may be recharged daily by current infrastructure with no downside whatsoever. Those cars alone could make an incredible transformation should more of them,… Read more »
jon

Words don’t mean anything, their actions tell a different story.

Viking79

If they stick to Mary’s plan we should see action this fall on the new BEV CUV, unless that was the Chinese market Buick Veelite (sp?)

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Isn’t the Bolt their CUV?

Viking79

Last Oct they said they would release 2 EVs in 18 months based on the Bolt EV. One was supposed to be by the end of this year the other early next. The other 18 models would be on different platforms. Rumors were for a CUV as GM showed a nice CUV in their slideshow accidentally.

antrik

Calling the Bolt a CUV is quite a stretch… While the body is a bit higher than a “traditional” compact hatchback (though not higher than the likes of Mercedes A-class for example I think?), as far as I can tell the suspension isn’t elevated at all. And it certainly doesn’t *look* like what people typically call a “crossover”…

Cypress

Like having th number one selling non-Tesla BEV on the market in the US? And the number 2 PHEV?

antrik

That’s not much of an achievement, considering that the Leaf is the only real contender… And in recent months, it mostly outsold the Bolt. (The Bolt is slightly ahead YTD, but probably only because the new Leaf wasn’t yet available at the beginning of the year.)

antrik

They will only go in seriously once they have their next-gen platform ready, which will allow them to sell BEVs at a profit in general, not only as compliance cars.

To be fair, that’s what most other makers are planning as well… And going by various announcements, they all seem to be coming around 2021, give or take a year. (GM and maybe VW for example might get going already in 2020; while the likes of Toyota, Ford, FCA won’t make it before 2022 or so.)

Bruce Sanders

Former Volt owner here backing you 100%.

Lou Grinzo

And I believe in a future in which I’m the King of Canada.

But seriously…

This statement from Barra is somewhat reassuring, but I wouldn’t read too much into it, given how many promises we see/hear from car company execs that evaporate with the morning dew. As someone desperate to see us electrify transportation, I will forgive virtually any act or statement (including the seemingly endless foot dragging by Some Companies) provided a car company builds and sells large quantities of all-electric cars.

thebosz

Out of the “Big 3”, I think that GM would be the one to actually move forward with EVs. Ford? They’re trying their best to ignore electricity. FCA? They don’t seem too interested in actually selling their whopping two electrified models.

Granted, I think it’s up to new players like Tesla to *really* shake it up, but at least GM seems to at least be trying.

antrik

Not quite an order of magnitude on average… But cutting some 3/4 or so is still makes a huge difference 🙂

TheCyberKnight

Well, I just got my 2019 Bolt today. So, yes, Bolt sales increased. At least one more.

vdiv

Congratulations! 🙂
Let us know how it is.

TheCyberKnight

Well, I just drove few kilometers last evening and I have to say I’m pretty impressed.
The ride is very comfortable while remaining somewhat sporty, especially because of the almost total lack of body roll in curves – although low-resistance tires limit the grip.
The cabin noise is disruptively low, thanks to the electric drive.

Although I won’t make a full review here, I have to say again that I’m impressed.
Considering the price/range ratio, I really think this car deserves more credit.

It’s a dramatic change from my last 22 years of Subaru driving where 16 of them were done on turbocharged engines!

Alexander

The big question is what will they do a year from now when their tax credits start getting phased out. Will they reduce the price? If not, they will not be able to compete with cars such as the 2019 Leaf, which with incentives will cost approx. 15,000 less.

Cypress

How are you computing that? We don’t know what the 2019 Leaf proving will be. Probably it will start close to current base Model 3 and base Bolt EV prices. $35k-$37k.

Andrew

Is this the first year-over-year example where the Bolt EV was available in all 50 states in both results?

If so, -44% YOY, 50 state to 50 state in the second model year of the car is painful.