How General Motors Makes The Chevy Bolt And Sonic On The Same Line

1 month ago by Steven Loveday 102

Chevy Bolt

Chevy Bolt production

It’s still yet to be seen if the Chevrolet Bolt can stand the test of time, appeal to a wider audience, and hit sales targets once the federal tax rebate starts to go away later in 2018, but GM sure knows how to build a car.

General Motors broke records with the launch of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV, as it became the first mass-marketed, long-range (200+ miles real world/EPA), “affordable” EV to hit showrooms.  Not only that, it was on time, and mostly problem-free. The Bolt EV went on to earn a wide variety of reputable awards such as MotorTrend Car of the Year and the North American Car of the Year award (NACOTY).

Chevy Bolt

The Chevy Bolt’s motor, drive unit, and battery are produced and supplied by LG Chem, and then shipped to the Orion Township assembly plant.

Though the Bolt isn’t selling like its ICE counterparts, it’s hitting sales targets – while placing in the “top 5” for plug-in offerings in the US.

Better still, sales are increasing every month, and now that it’s available nationwide, this trend should continue. The real question comes down to how long this trend will continue in the future. With cars like the Tesla Model 3 and the all-new 2018 Nissan LEAF making waves, does the Bolt EV have a limited window to make higher highs before settling back?

For now, we can only say that GM has done most everything right with the Bolt, especially in terms of its production at the Orion Assembly Plant in southeastern Michigan, the automaker seems to be spot on. No matter what the Bolt’s fate has in store, GM has plans in mind, and its assembly facility is paramount in carrying those plans out.

GM not only builds the Bolt at the Orion location but also its subcompact Sonic (ICE sedan and hatchback models). Compare this to Tesla, a company that only makes EVs and is pursuing a painstakingly slow S-Curve production scheme with the all-new Model 3.  Keep in mind that in a half day, Chevy builds 100 Bolts. Tesla built 30 Model 3s in July and about ~100 in August. It’s not a matter of whether or not GM can make enough Bolts, and how quickly, but rather if people actually want to buy them. WardsAuto enjoyed a recent opportunity to spend some time at the Orion facility. The publication shared:

“An early August walk through the plant reveals half of daily output are Bolts (more than 100, a fraction of them being Ampera-e models sold under the Opel brand in European markets). The other half – also more than 100 units – are gasoline-engine-powered subcompact Chevrolet Sonics, both 4-door sedans and 5-door hatchbacks.

Both models move down the line in sequence – first a Bolt, then a Sonic, then another Bolt, and so on – through the course of the plant’s 8-hour shift.”

Clearly, as Wards points out, Chevy is able to move through this process seamlessly. The battery pack and the fuel tank are installed at the same station with no bypasses. As the car moves down the line, it’s set up to allow for the electric or the gas powertrain to be installed as if they were the same unit. Bolt production-launch manager, Yves Dontigny, shared:

“Just like any other powertrain, the electric-drive unit is installed on the same line as the Sonic’s internal-combustion engine. The challenge was how to package the unit so as not to require a parallel or separate line.”

The line workers demonstrated the process for WardsAuto, showing how they use the same 10 fasteners to attach the battery or gas tank, and the same 12 fasteners to attach either vehicle’s driveline. GM has packaged the units in such a way to make this easily possible. The Bolt’s high-voltage electric module must be filled with coolant, which is the only operation that is done separately from the Sonic.

There are, of course, sublines to deal with the battery pack, two different gas engines, and certain body panels. However, this is to be expected, since the company is building two drastically different cars in tandem. This is no different than you would expect to find at any factory building two different cars at the same time. Nonetheless, GM manages to carry out even stamping and body operations on the same equipment.

The Orion facility has the potential to nearly triple Bolt production if the need arises (and the powertrain components, including the battery, are available). The automaker told Wards that this could happen without any additional monetary investment. Production could be upped even further if the automaker chose to add a shift. Dontigny said:

“We can add a shift. We can speed up the line. We can slow the line. Everything is based on demand.”

With the Sonic on the same line, if demand changes, GM simply re-allocates the factory’s production targets to afford more energy to Bolt EV production or vice-versa.

According to WardsAuto, at the end of July:

“Bolt inventories were at 73 days and Sonic inventories had fallen to 78 days.” (prior to a extended furlough in early July, Sonic inventories had surpassed 100 days)

For now, GM has no plans to change the production schedule or increase Bolt production. There’s no point in making more Bolts and less Sonics if demand doesn’t necessitate such a change. Dontigny concluded:

“Our next challenge is to increase demand.” (for the Bolt, of course)

The nationwide roll-out (to say nothing of the upcoming production of the Opel Ampera-E for Europe in 2018) seems to be making that more and more of a reality these days.

Source: WardsAuto

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102 responses to "How General Motors Makes The Chevy Bolt And Sonic On The Same Line"

  1. bro1999 says:

    So the much balleyhooed plant shutdown that GM haters claimed was due to “horrible overstocking of Bolts” was just 1 extra week to adjust the line to make LESS Sonics.

    “GM suspended production of the two models in July for the traditional 2-week summer furlough but extended the shutdown by a week to draw down Sonic inventories that had surpassed 100 days. GM says there were no changes in production plans for the Bolt, which now is available in all 50 states.”

    1. Viking79 says:

      Bolt EV does have a demand problem:
      “Our next challenge is to increase demand.” (for the Bolt, of course)

      They are meetings targets, but could build many times as many as they are. There was a definite over-stock of Bolt EVs in some regions (CA, and a few others).

      It appears they are selling those down now, and being around 73 days is not a bad level, and the rate appears to be going up now that it is 50 state as well, as the inventory is still dropping on cars.com

      1. ziv says:

        Truecar has the base Bolt selling at $33.5k near me, $4k less than MSRP. Chevy would be well served by reducing the MSRP and letting people know that the Bolt is selling for $35k or better yet, for $34k, while still leaving room for the dealer to bargain the price down a bit.

        1. Bacardi says:

          Yet this is true for nearly every vehicle including ICE…Furthermore, last month GM factory (not to be confused with the dealer) were offering $3K off private offers…GM loves the month to month incentive…

          Lastly the lease…The “idiot proof” 1% was created to help anti-lease people understand which is an incredible deal if you can lease, out the door for $0 out of pocket and your payment is 1% of MSRP…Bolt EV is $37,495 and there are reports on Volt forums with folks getting them below $270/mo…If you qualify for the California incentive, your total three year Bolt (base) lease would be under $7K…Quite a steal…

          1. ziv says:

            $270 a month, no down, would be a great lease for a Volt let alone a Bolt!

          2. vin says:

            Totally agree with you Bacardi, current Bolt lease deals are a steal… especially from the perspective of those of us that jumped in with both feet and started leasing short-range BEVs and Gen 1 Volts several years ago. No regrets, just really happy at the direction EV lease offers are going right now.

            Over half the Bolt lease deals I’ve seen advertised on dealer websites are under $270/mo+tax+lic average over the lease term… not done updating for this week yet, but it looks like we’re still headed lower.

            Average $/mo I saw for the Bolt was $246/mo; Volt was $271/mo. Bolts got cheaper than Volts some time last month, as far as leasing goes.

            Data is here:
            http://ev-vin.blogspot.com/2017/02/ev-lease-deals-sorts-and-filters.html

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Lowering MSRP after just 1 model year is kind of slap in the face…

          But I wouldn’t be surprised that GM lowers the MSRP as soon as federal incentives are gone.

          1. Asak says:

            The price on these cars are high because of the cost of the batteries. We should be expecting significant reductions in price as the component cost goes down.

            We already saw it with the Volt. The 2011 Volt had an MSRP of $41,000. Next year it was down to $39,000; in 2014 to $34,000 and now it’s only about $32,000.

            The Bolt should end up shedding probably $7,000 in MSRP over five years or so. Right now the problem is it’s really just too expensive, even accounting for the rebates.

            1. Bacardi says:

              The Gen2 Volts, MY16-MY18 MSRP + Dest price has not changed and is just over $34K…

              In regards to the Volt and incentives, GM has been incredibly generous with frequent and deep incentives even during the launch…

              Also we can’t forget the ELR received a, again generous, $9000 MSRP drop…

          2. Bacardi says:

            Let’s say they lower the MSRP w/dest to $34,995…It would actually create a ton of buzz that it’s “cheaper than a model 3” and available right now…I’m sure there’s some reason GM decides to add the dest charge to the MSRP so it would need to be $34,995 for the Bolt or the buzz wouldn’t be there…We all know supposedly the pure base M3 is $35,000 plus a $1000 dest and that’s for the color black only but Joe Q Public won’t pay any attention to anything other than the advertised price…

      2. Nix says:

        Viking — Building up stock before a 3 week shutdown is not a signal of a demand problem. It is just building up stock before a shutdown. Completely normal in any industry before a planned shutdown.

    2. Bacardi says:

      However nobody cares about Sonic sales; Nissan Versa owners are not whining about Sonic or Fit sales…lol…Nope, the infighting within the entire EV/PHEV community is unique and extremely fascinating…

      1. Ryan says:

        It reminds me of the stupid geek cults back in the early days of 80s home computing (Commodore 64 vs Atari or Apple… or Commodore Amiga vs Atari ST vs Mac vs PC or whatever) and how stupid that all looks in retrospect when you realize it’s just a small tiny community of alpha-geeks whose opinions become irrelevant once the sweep of mass consumer acceptance changes everything.

        I love my Volt and I have come to really appreciate GM’s engineering prowess with EVs. And Tesla makes some sexy looking fancy-tech vehicles.

        But it’s rather silly to attach one’s ego and identity to a company or brand and then go into flame wars with people over it.

        I think this has happened especially with Tesla because the Model S and X are such high end machines. Commodity fetishism is easy to fall into in that case.

        1. Apple Black Glasses Millennial says:

          Or the Android plebes who think THEY have a high tech phone!

    3. ffbj says:

      I don’t know industry reporting supports an alternate view. I guess over at the Street they are just hater’s too:
      “Instead, the inventory of unsold Bolts in the U.S. has swollen to an unacceptable level. GM, in response, has added three weeks to its normal summer shutdown at the assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich., where the Bolt and Sonic subcompact are built. GM is also temporarily shutting car plants in Lordstown, Ohio; Kansas City; and Oshawa, Ontario, to align inventory and demand. The moves likely will likely be a hit to the automaker’s bottom line in the third quarter, ending Sept. 30.”–The Street.

      1. Neromanceres says:

        The article mentions that they added three weeks to the shutdown but the whole shutdown was only three weeks. And only one week was added. Clearly the author of this article doesn’t know what he is talking about.

        1. ffbj says:

          Right. here is another one from Reuters who also don’t know anything what they are talking about:
          https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/18/gm-extends-shutdown-at-chevy-bolt-plant-as-inventories-swell.html

        2. ffbj says:

          Anyhow I think where the confusion arises is they will say extended the shutdown to 3 weeks, which is just adding a week, to the total, which is normally 2 weeks.

          Now when they say extended they shutdown 3 weeks, they forget to put int the to, and that would mean 5 weeks of total shutdown.

          1. WadeTyhon says:

            Clearly the street is misinformed because:

            1) Every single other article claimed it was a 1 week extension for a total of 3 weeks instead of the usual 2.

            2) Tesla is awesome. So if they’re purely anti-Tesla as you say then their judgement is suspect.

            As a consumer, I generally distrust the analysis of people who care more about the corporate stock than the quality of the product. Their interests are not mine and I do not care about their ‘hot takes’ whether positive or negative. So sites like this are off my radar. 😛

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      bro1999 said:

      “…GM haters claimed was due to ‘horrible overstocking of Bolts’…”

      Hmmm, I don’t recall seeing any such comments on InsideEVs. bro1999, did you write that comment for some gathering place for Tesla bashers and trolls, such as Desperately Seeking Alpha… and then copy and paste it here?

      Anyway, I dunno about GM “overstocking” the Bolt EV, horribly or non-horribly, but it certainly was strange and troubling that the inventory and shipping situation seemed to be so disorganized and confused for so long. So far as I know, GM doesn’t usually drop the ball in this fashion when they roll out a new model, so what’s going on here?

      I don’t think it’s being a conspiracy theorist to suspect that the unusual chaos associated with the rollout of the Bolt EV is just one of several indications that GM, and many or most Chevy dealers, are showing pronounced disinterest in selling this car.

      I am glad that demand for the Bolt EV is strong enough to overcome this disinterest, to the extent of pushing the car up to the #5 spot in the USA for PEV sales. But frankly, I was expecting better. It’s rather disappointing that it can’t even outsell Tesla’s #2 seller, the Model X, despite being much less expensive. 🙁

      1. ffbj says:

        It’s just people defending GM come h… or high-water. It was an extended shutdown due to overstock, plain and simple GM can sing and dance all they want but those are the facts.

        Besides people that just toe the company line are not to considered reliable, at least concerning their opinions regarding GM.

  2. Alan says:

    So technically they could have ceased production of the Sonic for 3 Months and still not run out whilst working on the massive waiting list in Europe and everywhere else in the world that’s waiting for them !

  3. WadeTyhon says:

    I am expecting a significant increase in production next year since GM will hit the unlimited $7500 rebate period in the 3rd or 4th quarter of the year.

    Hopefully super cruise will be coming on the Bolt in 2018 or 2019. 🙂

    The price of the Bolt will almost certainly drop by the time rebates do run dry.

    1. bro1999 says:

      The fact that the Canadian price of Bolts is less than in the US (after exchange rate conversions) shows that there is some play room for pricing of the Bolt.

      And as production increases while GM fine tunes the production line, economies of scale will kick in resulting in further cost savings.

      But GM will be able to see first how Tesla handles the tax credit phaseout, as they are projected to hit the 200k cap first.

      1. Mint says:

        The Canadian price doesn’t say much, because they’re providing only a trickle of them up North.

        I’ve been to several Chevy dealerships in Ontario, and they each have multiple floor-to-ceiling banners about the Bolt being Car of the Year, but no stock, no demo for test drives, and limited allocations per dealer.

        Around 1000 sold in Canada so far, and over half to Quebec where they’re have EV mandates like the CARB states. 42% of new car sales in Canada are in Ontario, where <300 Bolts were delivered in the the first half of this year.

        This has all the marks of a PR/compliance car. They would've had my money by now if they really wanted to sell Bolts.

        1. WadeTyhon says:

          As of last month, the Bolt EV was the top selling BEV in Canada for 2017.

          And so far the 6th best selling BEV in canada all time.

          The Volt was the top selling plug-in for 2017… and the top selling period in canada. By a lot. Over 2 times as many sales as Leafs and Model S. And 10 times as many as all other PHEVs in the country.

          Can Bolt EV sales be higher? Absolutely, and they will improve. But Chevy has commited to Canadian plug in sales in a way no other automaker has. So please, save the compliance car claims for automakers who have truly neglected the country.

            1. x says:

              You both pretend that you did not understand what he said. the demand in Ontario is HIGHER already than the supply.

              So leave the Volt and other irrelevant statistics just to defend Gm.

              The point is : they have more demand than they can supply and yet stop the production?! And build it at this lousy rate whtih the sales hit that Sonic is?
              Doesn’t this tell you anything about compliance (mostly sold in CARB states and few hundred here and there for PR)?
              EM seems to have been right, and also the people saying that they loose money ~9k per car, on each car , the only reason they sell it in CARB states is for the credits and they drag their feet elsewhere. Why else wouldn’t they even have demos in those dealerships by now but claim low demand?!?!

              I wish this would not be the case, I wish to be proven wrong but as of now this is the factual situation. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

              1. WadeTyhon says:

                The Volt is relevant. It shows a commitment to Plug-Ins in Canada that no other automaker has done. That means that the Bolt is likely to be given the same treatment.

                By combining all three Tesla model sales they add up to 62% the number of GM BEV and PHEV sales in Canada. Nissan less than 50%.

                Also relevant is the fact that the Bolt has sold about 1,000 units after being in the market there for only a few months.

                Is the demand higher and can the sales go higher? Absolutely! Keep talking to GM and their dealers if you want one. I wanted one last December but they didn’t come to my state until June. Annoying, yes, but I understand why.

                States and provinces adopt EV legislation precisely to have their regions prioritized and increase adoption. Companies know this and they will focus first on areas where they can make the most money. If GM only has ~30,000 battery packs for the first year, then prioritizing the areas with the largest BEV car sales, EV rebates or ZEV requirements makes the most sense if we want companies to be profitable making EVs!

                1. x says:

                  I wish you were right, however I believe that there are some other root causes (friendly oil execs, cannibalization, comfort zone with known tech, bonuses for recent profits etc)for the apparent delay in the face of obvious higher demand.

                  Next year might be a year with drastic transformations if tesla manages to run production at 100% capacity.

                  Thanks however for a civil response.

                  1. WadeTyhon says:

                    Yeah, I think over the next few years, the Model 3 and Tesla will continue to lead the way with GM, Nissan and BMW following as closely behind as they can.

                    Other than those 4, the other automakers have yet to earn the benefit of the doubt from me but I still welcome every sale they can manage. Glad to see a few of them finally making decent plug ins that are selling well.

              2. ModernMarvelFan says:

                “mostly sold in CARB states and few hundred here and there for PR)?”

                Well, Elon Musk really doesn’t have anything to talk about compliance credits. Model 3 is mostly sold in CARB states as well today. It hasn’t expanded outside of it either.

                The single (now defunct) battery swap station WAS PURELY FOR CARB credit. Once CARB credit changed, Tesla closed that center “due to low demand”.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  ModernMarvelFan said:

                  “Well, Elon Musk really doesn’t have anything to talk about compliance credits. Model 3 is mostly sold in CARB states as well today. It hasn’t expanded outside of it either.”

                  😆 ROTFLOL! 😆

                  Seriously… seriously, you’re whining about Tesla selling the ~100 Model 3’s they’ve sold so far, only in California… where the factory is located… and possibly other CARB states, such as next-door Oregon?

                  Ah, MMF… I wish you were right here in front of me, so I could pat you on the head and say “That’s nice, dear.”

                  LOL! I’m still chuckling, so thanks for the laugh.

                  1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                    “Seriously… seriously, you’re whining about Tesla selling the ~100 Model 3’s they’ve sold so far, only in California… where the factory is located… and possibly other CARB states, such as next-door Oregon?”

                    I guess you are too stupid to get the partially sarcastic knock at the “same type” of criticism against the Bolt when it is in fact available outside of its CARB states and originally stated roll out. But since you are so eager to defend or deflect anything against Tesla like a freaking Tesla fan whore that you are, you can’t help but to jump on it…

                    1. Mint says:

                      Your comparison is a joke.

                      The Model 3 is produced in California, only a few hundred have been made so far, and those are sold to employees for feedback before the full production ramp.

                      The Bolt is produced in Michigan, and there’s a huge market in Toronto just 230 miles away, where the gov’t is offering a C$14,000 rebate. GM makes <300 for that market (long wait lists at dealers), produces twice that for much further Quebec (where there's an EV mandate), and ships thousands to California, 2300 miles away, where they're being sold below MSRP.

                2. Nix says:

                  MMF — Tesla isn’t required to build a single ZEV in order to be in compliance with CARB regulations. Every ZEV credit that Tesla earns is purely icing on the cake, and is not at all done so that Tesla can generate ZEV credits to comply with CARB mandates.

                  It is impossible for Tesla to build a car just to comply with CARB mandating that they build a minimum amount of EV cars, because Tesla isn’t under any mandate at all to build any ZEV’s.

              3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Well said.

                Elon Musk was bang on the mark when he said that GM would only make ~25k Bolt EVs per year, which is what GM needs to balance its CARB credits.

                And thanks to Mint for the info about a similar situation in Quebec. So, fully half the measly 1000 units going to Canada are going to satisfy ZEV credits. The evidence is really piling up that Elon Musk was 100% right about why GM won’t produce more Bolt EV’s.

                http://insideevs.com/elon-musk-talks-carb-zev-credits/

                1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                  “GM would only make ~25k Bolt EVs per year, which is what GM needs to balance its CARB credits.”

                  Freaking lie! GM doesn’t need to sell 25K for CARB credit. Even Elon himself complain about the “over production” of CARB credits which are worth less than what it is today. A manufacturer can easily buy the credits rather than building the car. On top of it all, GM sells plenty of Bolt outside of California which doesn’t earn it any credit.

                  Since you made that statement, I would like to see the reference to show the GM’s annual ZEV requirement and balance.

                  You can’t, can you?

          1. Mint says:

            Your points are rather meaningless.

            It doesn’t matter if the Bolt is the best selling pure EV in Canada, because that’s an extremely low bar for comparison.

            What matters is how many are being sold relative to the market size and demand. GM sells ~20% more vehicles in Canada than California, but the latter gets what, almost 10x the Bolts?

            It’s blatantly obvious that the Canadian supply (esp Ontario) is intentionally constricted. It’s manufactured just across the border!

            Even if you disagree about it being a PR+compliance car, it’s still a big presumption by bro1999 to use the Canadian price as evidence the Bolt can drop it’s price.

            1. WadeTyhon says:

              “Your points are rather meaningless.”

              No more than you claiming the Bolt is a compliance car 😉

              If the claim is based on Quebec getting more Bolts in stock then good for Quebec! They care about promoting EVs in their region and are seeing results!

              Automakers are not required to meet the ZEV requirements there until next year right? If they dont need to, why do so now?

              Well, they can stockpile credits in the mean time to be used in future years. To me, it looks like they are going to frontload as many as possible there first then roll out to the remaining parts of the country. Thats what they did in our country. I had to wait 7 months for my Bolt. Tesla will be doing the same. Expect very few Model 3s in Canada until late 2017 or 2018.

              But this doesn’t make either car compliance vehicles. It just means these companies want to be as profitable as possible and that EV rebates and ZEV mandates bring results for the governments that enact them.

              Real compliance automakers will basically produce the exact number they are required to by law. Then they will be willing to sell or lease them for basically nothing just to ensure they are compliant and can sell other vehicles.

              And I didn’t say I agree with Bro. I do think there will be a price drop when the EV rebate ends in the US. But not specifically because of the Canadian price.

              1. Mint says:

                “Real compliance automakers will basically produce the exact number they are required to by law.”

                Agreed, and that’s why I said PR+compliance. By sending a trickle out elsewhere, they’re justifying those “Car of the Year” banners, getting good press in reviews about it being available worldwide, articles about GM beating Tesla in making the first mass-market EV, generating excitement about the GM brand, etc.

                At these production volumes (by GM’s standard, and almost 1 year after introduction) despite strong worldwide demand, I just can’t call it a mass-market car.

                BTW, I think LG may be in on this intentionally restricted supply. They got lots of positive press also, but only want to sell a limited number of cheap batteries to GM.

        2. Ryan says:

          “The Canadian price doesn’t say much, because they’re providing only a trickle of them up North.”

          This. I don’t agree with the rest of your points (it being purely a compliance car here up north.) But you and previous poster have hit on the key point:

          GM underpriced the Bolt in Canada (probably because of the currency fluctations we’ve been undergoing) and then realized the mistake as the vehicle sold out completely across Canada before it even hit showrooms.

          And that’s why they’re treating Canada so badly now, not sending new Bolts up here — people who dropped $$ deposits in March hearing nothing from their dealers, meager quantity of 2018s probably already sold out…

          It’s not that it’s a compliance car. It’s that the Canadian pricing was a mistake. And a hard one to back down from. They can’t just go raise the price by 10-15% for 2018. They have to wait for their production costs to drop by that amount. And that could take a few years.

      2. Neromanceres says:

        Big discounts below MSRP are somewhat uncommon in Canada. I say somewhat because on somethings like trucks there are still big discounts. Also keep in mind GM can use it’s Canadian operations to leverage the Canadian dollar. This is to keep prices relatively stable under a fluctuating dollar. So even though the Bolt EV is cheaper in Canada than in the US. That might have more to do with currency leverage than actual costs. In fact the CAD is up right now against the USD and the Canadian and US prices are now pretty close.

  4. SparkEV says:

    This is how you make mass produced EV if you’re a traditional carmaker. Having “dedicated line” EV platform with small battery and awful performance for its price if it’s got a gas engine is not the way (Leaf / i3).

    I continue to be amazed by excellent GM engineering. They truly are at the top of the world at the moment. Same can’t be said about their management.

    1. bro1999 says:

      And marketing department.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        +10!

  5. Francois Charland says:

    This is BS. We have a 4-6 months wait in Quebec province, Canada, which has a ZEV mandate, in order to receive a bolt EV. Not a problem of demand at all.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      I suspect their profit margin isn’t as attractive in Canada, otherwise, why wouldn’t they ship more?

      1. an_outsider says:

        We don’t see thing here in Canada such as “$4K under MSRP”, neither generous private offer (to my knowledge) as we can read in us forum.

        So, bottom line should be close whichever the border side the car is sold.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Logic says that GM isn’t going to ship more to Quebec for the same reason it’s not going to make more than ~30,000 Bolt EVs per year: Because that’s all it needs to satisfy ZEV mandates, here and in Canada, plus having a small percentage left over to promote the vehicle in other countries for marketing purposes.

        If you still don’t understand, then just read the linked article. It’s not really that complicated.

        http://insideevs.com/elon-musk-talks-carb-zev-credits/

        1. Ryan says:

          GM is already producing way more Volts and Bolts than it would need to meet CARB requirements and there would be no requirement for them to ship _any_ to Canada or non-CARB states if that was their goal. Quoting Elon Musk on this topic is hardly an unbiased source. And Musk knows better.

          It’s really easy to stand there as the CEO of a company whose investors seem to have infinite cash and tolerance for risk and criticize companies that actually have to turn a profit and satisfy far more risk-adverse investors.

          You want to see compliance-only EV production? Honda and Toyota. Making that claim about GM is just a nasty biased smear.

    2. Mint says:

      GM is getting you guys more Bolts than us!

      In the first half of the year, Quebec got 70% more Bolts shipped (455 vs 267) despite being about half the car market of Ontario.

      Actually, relative to total vehicle sales, Bolt sales in Quebec (1 in 440) are only a bit behind the CARB states overall (1 in 300). In Ontario, it’s 1 in 1500 🙁

      (data sources on request)

  6. Spoonman. says:

    GM could hugely increase Bolt demand tomorrow by including the federal tax credit in the lease.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      This should be done across the full spectrum of EV’s. This income qualification BS is stoooooooopid and only a politician could’ve thought of it.

      1. Spoonman. says:

        Right, I make a good salary and would have no problem paying for the Bolt, but with three kids and maxing out retirement accounts, I don’t pay anywhere near $7500 in federal taxes. Ford and others reduce the effective price of the leased car by at least the tax credit amount, but GM isn’t doing that yet for the Bolt.

    2. Haley Shepherd says:

      Agree entirely; I leased my Bolt and GM finance kicked back only $1500 of the $7500 tax credit as an incentive, which felt like significant gouging to me. There should be Bolts all over the roads by now – it is a superb product. I routinely get 280-320 miles range; well past EPA ratings and it out-accelerates nearly all other traffic I encounter. I can’t believe GM was capable of engineering this good, aside from minor glitches with Apple CarPlay integration. My only conclusion is that GM isn’t serious about selling this car, because if they actually advertised it, they’d be everywhere. Best car I’ve ever owned…

      1. x says:

        this is a +1 indeed !

      2. unlucky says:

        Reports are they only get 30,000 battery packs this year. And they are on track to sell about 30,000 Bolts this year (assuming the normal rise in sales at the end of the year the rebates produce with EVs).

        Why spend money selling it if it can’t increase sales?

        1. Neromanceres says:

          Did you read the article? It said that GM can scale production which included battery production. The 30K figure you quote was simply a first year target. It’s not a limit.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Yeah, I did read the article, and no, it most definitely doesn’t say what you claim it does.

            What it does say:

            “The Orion facility has the potential to nearly triple Bolt production if the need arises (and the powertrain components, including the battery, are available).”

            See that word “if” there? See, that’s what’s called a “qualifier”, which indicates certain conditions in which the overall statement may not be true.

            Now, can GM just turn a magic knob and get LG Chem to crank out 300% more batteries than GM contracted for next year? Sadly for GM apologists, no they can’t. The unicorns and rainbows will be busy doing other things next year. /snark

            Here’s what InsideEVs’ Jay Cole had to say on the subject:

            “There is no battery supplier that will let a company make a set order, then guarantee 2X expansion of that order over the short term/‘just in time’ model if that OEM finds unexpected demand. Especially not LG Chem, who is first to market with inexpensive/2nd gen batteries and currently has ~21 different OEM contracts. They would of course say they will do their best to oblige as best they can, but that would be it… there is no leverage.” — Jay Cole, comment at InsideEVs.com, May 30, 2017

            http://insideevs.com/nissan-close-to-exiting-battery-business/#comment-1214733

            Reality check: LG Chem takes orders two years in advance for batteries in quantity. So if GM wants to crank up production of the Bolt EV, it can do so… two years after it puts in an order with LG Chem for a larger battery supply. And not before.

      3. Mark.ca says:

        “I leased my Bolt and GM finance kicked back only $1500 of the $7500 tax credit”
        They are doing similar things with the Volt…too bad.

      4. Nix says:

        “I leased my Bolt and GM finance kicked back only $1500 of the $7500 tax credit as an incentive, which felt like significant gouging to me.”

        This is my biggest beef with what GM is doing. If they cut the price by $4K off of MSRP, and then keep $6K of your fed tax incentive, they are effectively collecting $2K OVER the MSRP.

        It is just wrong.

    3. Bacardi says:

      “Lease cash” is only one part of the lease…On the Volt/Bolt forums there’s a dealing claiming to lease $0 out of pocket and $269 which includes tax…For a $37500 vehicle that’s a great deal regardless which parts of the lease they used to get there…

  7. Bacardi says:

    “Our next challenge is to increase demand.” (for the Bolt, of course)…

    Wait, $3000 off private offers didn’t do the trick? Add more content to the vehicle, Toyota set the bar with active safety tech giving people ACC standard…The MY18 LT Bolt should have DCFC, C1 and C2 standard at a minimum, keep the MSRP the same but don’t give out $3000 off coupons…For the Premier, add power/memory/vented seats, sunroof and offer supercruise as an option…That’s how GM can very affordably sell the Chevy Bolt without adding AWD or without badge engineering it to Cadillac…

  8. Get Real says:

    They won’t though because GM is purposely keeping Chevy as its low-end brand (outside of the Corvette).

    They are afraid of cannibalization of their higher brands just as they are desperate to avoid the same of their ICE lines from their superior (to ICE) PEV offerings.

  9. Tom W says:

    I appreciate the engineering that went into our BoltEV; I was thinking about how nice and quiet; how smooth the ride is, and how fun it is to drive.

  10. ffbj says:

    Of importance is that LG Chem is building a plant nearby, which will supply parts for the Bolt. Once that is accomplished they will probably make more.
    As it is now they have little incentive to go all-in with the Bolt.

    1. Paul Stoller says:

      Building our supply chains takes time, and GM wants to be sure they have the demand before expanding and building it out fully. They are certainly being cautious, but that’s to be expected after getting burnt on the Volt.

      1. x says:

        At their size, even if they would be currently building 2 Gigafactory-size factories they would be cautious. yet they are not even doing that so …

        What if the Volt was sold on an 5-seat Equinox-like platform? Wouldn’t that be a Big success? management knows that and I think they knew that, instead they’ve build this small volt sedan and then claim there’s no demand…

        1. Assaf says:

          +2.

          Likewise, the Bolt in a somewhat larger compact-SUV packaging will be a hit. Word (posted on this site) is they want to build it under the Buick badge. They better hurry before someone else eats all their porridge.

        2. unlucky says:

          It’s not a sedan. And the Volt isn’t either. And it wouldn’t have the range it has if it were Equinox sized. And they didn’t claim there is no demand. They seem to be set to sell as many as they can make this year (if the 30,000 pack limit rumor is true).

          Give it some time. It seems unlikely anyone else is going to sell more than 30,000 affordable long-range EVs this year. Nissan sure won’t. Tesla will probably hit about 30,000 with the Model 3.

          Some things take time. It’s not like they’re lagging the industry.

          1. ffbj says:

            They won’t make close to 30k this year. Around 20k.

            1. unlucky says:

              Look at sales of EVs in any other year. Sales go up at the end of the year. Between that and the nationwide rollout that just happened they are on track to sell about 30,000 Bolts this year.

              Model S sold 29,000 last year. At the end of September they had only sold 20,000. And it was available nationwide all year.

            2. WadeTyhon says:

              US or worldwide? I think 23k-25k in the US and 3k-4k worldwide. A little over 30,000 produced for the year.

              But we will see!

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                GM’s production of the Bolt EV is targeted at slightly over 30k, according to an LG Chem exec. I don’t regard that as a mere rumor.

                GM should easily be able to sell that many worldwide. There is a lot of unsatisfied demand in S. Korea and Canada, if they can’t sell that many domestically. And if they can’t, I don’t think it will be due to lack of demand; it will be because obstinate American Chevy dealers don’t want to sell it.

            3. devroot says:

              They will likely make 30K this year. That doesn’t mean they’ll sell 30K this year, since sales always lags behind production. You have to have sufficiently inventory levels built up first.

        3. Nix says:

          A number of years ago (before the VW cheat scandal) GM decided that their “green” Equinox was going to be the small diesel Equinox. They are just now hitting the market after years of development:

          http://www.chevrolet.com/diesel-vehicles

          This was probably a valid decision at the time, given the massive anti-GM backlash that GM got on the Volt with all the “gov’t motors” bs. Especially since they had just badly missed their original 45,000 unit sales target for the Volt.

          Since they just spent a number of years and a bunch of money bringing the diesel Equinox to the US market, I don’t see them bringing another green Equinox competitor to the market that might dilute diesel sales. It just isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

          Sadly, they will likely consider a failed diesel Equinox rollout to be proof that people don’t want green SUV’s….

      2. Asak says:

        I honestly don’t understand how they ended up getting “burnt” on the Volt. At the $41K price the Volt was released at only an idiot would have expected it to be a big seller. It was just too expensive, and the Bolt has the same problem. Both vehicles are great, but after rebate the Bolt just costs about $2-$5K too much.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Sadly, groupthink, wishful thinking, and poor decision making is found at all levels of management in American companies, from the smallest to the largest companies. Just look at the Edsel… and New Coke!

          But all the right-wing bashing against the Volt, starting when it was new and continuing for years, definitely did not help sales.

  11. Assaf says:

    As the Canadians above attest, and as residents of several European countries, and Korea where this beauty was actually design clamour:

    GM can actually easily up production, *and* up their export balance sheet, by producing more for export.
    Which will result in *higher* margins not lower ones.

    I don’t know what they’re smoking by not doing it. I trust Mary Barra’s heart is in the right place about EVs, I wonder whether she’s getting bad advice from troglodytes and bean-counters.

    1. Ryan says:

      As others have pointed out, GM can’t just easily crank up production because the battery supply just isn’t there. Not yet anyways. It will be interesting to see if it can _ever_ scale up to the quantities needed for the mass vehicle market.

  12. Ian stuart says:

    Bolt production could triple….IF LG HAD ENOUGH MOTORS AND BATTERIES AVAILABLE! But they won’t be. LG has already announced that it will be building a new battery factory but they won’t even be breaking ground for a year or two.

    1. mxs says:

      Oh, because you somehow are a supply chain expert and have an inside line on LG/GM supply chain, eh?

      The internet gave literally a voice to every coach expert, eh?

      1. ffbj says:

        LG Chem has announced all this. He’s just reporting what they said they will be doing and why.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        If InsideEVs’ Jay Cole says that no battery supplier can double a large order on short notice, then one doesn’t need to be an “expert” to figure out that GM can’t triple its Bolt EV production next year… unless it has already contracted with LG Chem to ramp up production sharply next year. I would guess the chances of that are slim and none, given that Elon Musk seems to understand very well what GM’s goal for the Bolt EV is… and it’s definitely not to sell as many as the market will bear.

        And next time, mxs, before you complain about someone thinking he’s an “expert”… stop and consider that maybe, just maybe, somebody doesn’t need to be an “expert” to know more than you do about a subject.

  13. Garg Boor says:

    tl;dr No stock/choice of Bolt in my area.

    I don’t know about elsewhere but over in Washington my dealer has no stock of the Bolt. They say they receive three and then they sell almost immediately. Took me two months just to get a test drive! I guess a serious buyer would pay and wait. I on the other hand want to walk in, experience a loaded model, impulse buy, and drive silently away with a huge smile on my face.

    1. Asak says:

      Sounds like a good time for a trip to the Bay Area.

  14. EVShopper says:

    “Though the Bolt isn’t selling like its ICE counterparts, it’s hitting sales targets”

    EVSplaining:
    Well actually, for the month of August it outsold its closest ICE counterpart, the Golf GTI, in the US market. If GM could ship it worldwide fast enough, I’m certain it would outsell a lot of hot hatch ICE’s.

  15. Thanh Lim says:

    It’s interesting how the old auto makers are optimizing for costs vs. Tesla, who is currently trying to push scale and not necessarily costs (although I suspect they do try).

    It will be interesting to see the cost breakdown of manufacturing for Tesla vs. GM for their cars.

    1. Tom says:

      The risks are weighted differently for those two groups. For Tesla failing to scale production in the next 12 months is an existential risk. For the others, it is not. This necessitates different approaches by both parties.

  16. Paul from Asheville says:

    GM needs to work on packaging for the Bolt. I know a lot of people that want one but are waiting to see if they offer Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and a moonroof on the next model year. The new Volts have ACC, not offering it in the Bolt is a huge omission imo.

    1. Ryan says:

      When I got my brand new Volt built in May I couldn’t get ACC on it. They seem to have a limited quantity of whatever units are involved. Very frustrating.

      The Bolt is a test. Their management and investors will evaluate its reception and then make a decision on what to do with EVs generally.

      GM can’t do what Tesla does — start pumping out EVs en masse as they don’t have the kind of unlimited chequing account that Tesla’s investors have extended to Tesla. GM has to be profitable and it has a responsibility to its investors to continue to continue to be so. Silverados and Equinoxes make them a crapload of money, and their shareholders would riot if they walked away from that cash cow to start pumping out EVs which have a low margin due to high component costs.

  17. Craig Capurso says:

    The begets problem with the Bolt is that it is a Chevy

    1. Nix says:

      I’m not sure your complaint. Are you saying GM should brand it as a Cadillac or some other brand? Or are you trying to claim the problem is GM?

      Because GM is one of the top companies in the world for sales volume, even hitting the number one sales position in the world a number of times. So that shouldn’t be a roadblock to volume.

      As for branding, they absolutely had to build it as a Chevy, because they would have gotten crucified by he right if they would have marketed it under an exclusive brand or a foreign brand in the US.

      1. Ryan says:

        nah, they should have slapped a Buick badge on it. It’s already based off the Buick Encore / Chevy Trax platform, believe it or not. It’s an Encore squished on both sides and a battery shoved underneath.

        The Buick brand has become their new ‘urban professional’ brand. It also sells well in China. They are rebadging the Volt as the Buick “Velite” in China.

        It would have made a lot of sense to bring it out with a Buick styling and they could have gotten away with a very slightly higher price and it would have been more of a halo vehicle. They could have brought out a more downscale Chevy version later.

        In any case it is selling at the volume they targeted it for, and that volume is likely based on available battery capacity. I don’t think we’ll see a major ramp up in volume from any non-Tesla manufacturer until LG Chem rolls out new battery plants.

        1. Bacardi says:

          It started life on that platform but evolved into it’s own…

          Buick will release an Encore like body on the Bolt platform…Still FWD only, less range, less acceleration, $3000 more than the Bolt…But while that’s closer to what people want, it’s still going to be a tough sell…You still have a subcompact FWD-only for $40K before tax credit…No base Buicks nor Chevys get driver assistance packages standard like the Tesla or even the prime…Equinox EV for $40K with optional AWD is what everyone wants…

      2. Bacardi says:

        A Cadillac badge and with the perceived “more luxurious sales and service experience” would have greatly helped with Bolt sales…But there are only 900ish Caddy dealers while there are over 3000 Chevy dealers…They branded the Volt a Chevy championing their huge network of dealers to relieve any fears of EV/PHEV reliability…Additionally, they also have the Spark EV which could be had with DCFC, some dealers paid quite a bit for DCFC chargers and those dealers should be rewarded with opportunity to sell the Bolt…

        1. ProudConservative says:

          Entitled millennials think Cadillac is their fathers Oldsmobile.

  18. Bill Howland says:

    The most fun thing of this video blurb was the battery on the robotic cart showing up to be hoisted into the underside of the carriage just in time.

    As the article says, GM knows how to build cars, unlike constantly fretting about it as was done here, or saying there is NO WAY GM can produce a vehicle with such great specs in any quantity for a great price.

    Incidentally, I have a new BenchMark for my BOLT ev. 315 1/2 miles driving along with traffic on country roads from Niagara Falls to Ithaca and back, with less than 15 miles added along the way (i.e. under 1/2 hour of charging at 6 kw – which at 5 miles/kwh is 15 miles) – so 300 1/2 real world miles on one charge. I have about 12 miles of battery left.

    1. Bacardi says:

      I’d bet you could get a 10% range increase with 16″ Cruze rims and LRR tires, that self sealing tech does add some very unwanted unsprung weight and downsizing in both diameter and width generally results in better economy…

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I doubt it. The car handles well enough and rolls freely as it already has LRR tires.. Besides at highway speeds the rolling resistance isn’t one of the more significant losses.

        I chauk up the excellent performance to the defacto 65 kwh battery, seeing as nearly 60 kwh is the ‘useable’ output.

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