UPDATE: Chevy Bolt Sales Up 19.6% YTD: GM Confirms 200k In Q4

Bolt EV South Korea sales numbers are strong in 2018


Right on cue, Chevy Bolt EV deliveries shift to North America

*Update* Canadian sales estimates for September have been swapped with official numbers. 

A General Motors representative also confirmed to InsideEVs that the automaker will hit 200k sales in Q4. According to Megan Soule at GM:

“Correct – we do expect to still hit the 200K EV milestone this year.”

The full tax credit will therefore be available on purchasing a Chevy or Cadillac plug-in through March, 2019. A 50% credit would then be available through September, 2019. Finally a 25% credit will be available until March, 2020. That is, as long as congress can keep their hands off of it

Tesla is also currently in the phase out period. If you have been considering a Chevy Bolt EV, Chevy Volt, CT6 Plug-In, or any Tesla model now is the time. 

Original Article 10/10/2018 at 5:10 am

This summer, we noted that Chevy Bolt EV inventories and sales in the US had been very low. This year, the automaker put much greater focus on exports. South Korea has been the biggest beneficiary of this. After a solid performance in late March + April selling over 500 units, the Bolt EV jumped to the top of the Korean EV charts for May with 1,014 sold. Following this success, we were astonished to see the Bolt EV hit an impressive 1,621 deliveries in June followed by a solid July of 872 deliveries. August brought an additional 631 units.

But in September, South Korean allocations all but stopped. Last month, Chevrolet delivered only 70 Bolt EVs to Korea.

Still, the Bolt remains the 4th bestselling GM Korea domestic model for 2018. Year-to-date totals are at 4,695 units, up 1,028% from 2017.  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.

As we previously speculated, South Korean numbers were unlikely to continue at that breakneck pace for the entire year.  Roughly 5,000 units were expected to be sold in South Korea in 2018. GM Korea tells us they are sold out and currently making final Bolt EV deliveries for 2018.

However, a planned production increase this quarter should provide the Bolt-hungry Korean market with more inventory in 2019. GM Korea spokesperson Jiyeon Yeom told InsideEVs they are currently working to “secure sufficient volumes to satisfy many Korean customers next year.”

GM has been teetering on the edge of 200,000 deliveries for months now. So we can think of a few reasons why GM might have focused on exports at the expense of U.S. sales. While they likely won’t state a specific reason for this tactic, they have addressed the drop in U.S. Bolt sales.

GM spokesperson Jim Cain told CNBC this month:

The decline is more a function of us diverting production to Canada and South Korea, coupled with low stocks in the U.S. We’re still proceeding with the Q4 production increase we announced in the last sales release.

North American inventories are now recovering and early October sales are very promising. After U.S. Bolt inventories languished at ~2,500 for months, vehicles at or in transit to dealers shot up from ~3,000 units to ~4,500 in the past 6 weeks.

As far as overall international sales are concerned, current year-to-date totals are as follows:

Chevy Volt

U.S. – 13,243

Canada – 3,456

China (Buick Velite 5)1,419 through August

South Korea – 116

Mexico – 25

Chevy Bolt

U.S. – 11,807

South Korea – 4,695

Europe (Opel Ampera-e)2,129 through August

Canada – 1,944

Mexico – 10


China – 11,872 through August

Chevy Volt and Bolt EV

The biggest plug-in seller for General Motors is the Chevy Bolt EV (20,541), followed by the Chevy Volt (18,303). We do not have sales figures for the Cadillac CT6 Plug-in for China but they are insignificant in North America. The Baojun E100 is GM’s biggest seller internationally. Baojun (jointly owned by GM and SAIC Motor) recently expanded availability of the tiny electric offering. The automaker also announced that the E200 will replace the E100 on the market.

European and Chinese sales data via CarSalesBase. Mexico data via GM Authority. Canadian data is reported by GreenCarReports.

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41 Comments on "UPDATE: Chevy Bolt Sales Up 19.6% YTD: GM Confirms 200k In Q4"

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Interestingly, what GM is doing now is exactly what they said (back in 2016) they intended to do – get out the door 20,000 to 30,000 units a year, maybe up to 50,000 if it becomes necessary.

True enough, and I suppose their contracts with LG restricted their ability to change that plan on the fly the last couple years. I’m a bit disappointed they haven’t aimed for the high end of those numbers before now, but it’s apparent they are treating the Bolt as something of a test run, with production and sales in limited quantities rather than going for the gusto like Tesla did with Model 3.

Shame they are haven’t rolled out the Buick plug-in CUV based on the Bolt already to take advantage of the final 2 quarters of the full tax credit. Anyone know when is that expected to come to market?

China provided 100% defective batteries for electric Buicks. That’s why that project didn’t go anywhere. Just run a search on the Web and you will see all the details on the subject.

There was no talk of “100% defective batteries”, just a vague statement that they didn’t meet specifications…

More importantly, that was about the Velite 6, a variation on the Volt, exclusive to the Chinese market. It’s completely unrelated to the Bolt-based CUV for the international market that GM hinted at a while back.

I assume you’re speaking of the Buick Enspire. Everything I read just suggests ” August or September 2019 for the 2020 model year”. We’ll see. I hope something shows up in Detroit for the Auto Show in Jan.

I think that would seriously bring back the Buick brand in the US.

Okay, cool, I guess the Enspire concept vehicle is, in fact, the Bolt-based CUV that GM has discussed before. Here’s the article from InsideEVs from July 2017: https://insideevs.com/exclusive-next-gm-ev-to-be-bolt-based-buick-crossover/ in which the image photographed from a slide-show does look a lot like the Enspire concept.

I dunno, I think they’re just dipping their toes in to see what people’s appetites are. I also thing they very carefully planned to JUST varely cross the 200k mark for the subsidies at the end of 2018. I further think that Tesla is going to force them to get a lot more aggressive with their EV game. Finally, GM is in talks to build out some infrastructure right now (super-fast charging stations), which may be further tempering their desire to sell a ton of cars right this instant.

I love my Bolt, and I think GM could sell a lot more of ’em if it tried harder. I do think they’re being overly cautious, but I also think that’s a temporary state until they get a few ducks in a row.

I’ve done a lot of “thinking” in this comment. 🙂

@staff: Is there an editor in the house?

The teaser blurb for this article says “Right on cue, Chevy Bolt EV deliveries shift to North America. It’s almost as though GM is trying to avoid hitting 200,000 sales before year’s end”

The message there is clearly not what was intended. Perhaps it should read something like:
It’s almost as though GM has already passed the milestone of 200,000 EVs sold in North America, and so is now trying to sell as many as possible there.

That’s right.

It will be very difficult for GM not to pass the 200,000 milestone in Q4 2018.

Be kind to your fellow human beings. He published the article 5.30AM Eastern time 🙂

They corrected it to make more sense: “Right on cue, Chevy Bolt EV deliveries shift to North America. It’s almost as though GM ha been trying to avoid hitting 200,000 sales before Q4.”

As of the end of August GM was at 193,436 per this article: https://insideevs.com/top-6-automakers-200000-federal-tax-credit-limit/

Add about 3,680 sales in September and we’re at about 197,000, and if they sell more than 3,000 again this month they’ll trigger phaseout while getting full credits in Nov and Dec and Q1 of 2019.

Not bad management, though they could have done a bit better by crossing the threshold in early October instead of late October.

Glad to hear of the production increase in Bolts, but they are not really being aggressive at all. I would have hoped for a bigger production increase and a price drop to try to push the Bolt toward being a true mass market vehicle rather than niche.

“Not bad management, though they could have done a bit better by crossing the threshold in early October instead of late October.”
It is excellent management. GM does not have precise control over sales like Tesla. If they tried to aim for early October there is a good chance that the threshold would have been crossed in September.

It’s good to know this is the reason for the drop off of Bolt sales in the US.

And not the availability of the more expensive and vastly better Tesla Model 3.

@staff: What about Bolt EV sales in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), etc.?

We do not have access to figures for UAE. We know they are continuing sales to customers and that there have been a few fleet deals that have been announced. So sales are higher than Mexico. But nowhere near Canada/Europe.

I’ll try again to get numbers on UAE and will update if we get them.

Hmm I checked with my local SoCal Chevy dealer in Irvine and they have 29 Bolts in stock. Seems like they are having a hard time moving these. Tesla is pretty much killing the demand for these and soon dealers will have to offer hefty discounts to get them off the lot.

That’s because they are the worst Chevy dealer I have ever dealt with and make it almost impossible to buy a plug-in. Tried buying a Volt there and they wanted above msrp. They said the lose money otherwise (lies) and then said they didn’t offer the incentive that gm had at the time (2k off I think). Could go on but the good news is that there are good Chevy dealers out there. Just got to be willing to look (ended up getting my car in Fontana).

Sometimes it’s best to go thru online sales, like TrueCar dot com. That way you get a lower price and sometimes go thru the fleet manager. The sales floor people have never given me a price break, I always have to walk out.

I think you get a better deal online is, there’s probably a high % of follow through to a purchase online.

They always have been pretty well-stocked in California AIUI. Unlike most other states, GM really wants to sell them here, to get those precious ZEV credits that make it very profitable indirectly.

FYI… Dealers don’t stock 29 of anything if it’s not selling. You might stock 2 or 3 on a slow moving product – not 29.

A dealers apparently excessive Bolt inventory, doesn’t necessarily mean that those vehicles will be sold to traditional retail walk-in customers. Chevy is selling/leasing quite a few Bolts to the Uber/Lyft/Maven ride for hire driving community.

Mark Christopher Chevy has one of the better Bolt Lease deals, if it’s still available, @ $299. Per mo./$1k down – for 3yr/36kmi.

Thanks Vinny for all your hard work,


I think looking at overseas markets is the wise move right now. The Model 3 seems to be sucking up all the enthusiasm for EVs, so it is best to focus on markets that won’t get M3s for another 12-24 months.

Not sure there are any markets that won’t get the Model 3 for another 24 months? Current plan is even for right-hand drive variants to ship in H2 2019.

(Only exception are of course markets which Tesla hasn’t entered at all yet…)

What about Opel Ampera-E deliveries?

“Europe (Opel Ampera-e) – 2,129 through August”

(Right from the article.)

Welcome to the 200K club GM. barely one quarter after the fan favourite Tesla

Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed “leader” – Nissan – is behind by several quarters. I hope this will put to rest the anti-GM sentiment in the EV community. In reality, I know better than to expect that to happen.

Within the United States they’re nearly even on hitting the phaseout, but in YTD global sales GM is way behind: third chart on this page.

Also, Tesla has sold ~50,000 cars in the US since hitting the phaseout.

GM could sell more. Ms. Barra should actually sit and drive the car.
Then she’s see the maximum plastic interior, feel the poor seats, and the rough rear suspension.
Upgrade those and surely more sales will follow.

Also, a Volt Wagon, with more headroom and a better rear suspension too, would sell better.

You really need a CEO’s who’s a car “guy”.
You don’t sell poor-man-specs on a model that you’re targeting a competitor with.

More headroom? You’re kidding, right? Have you ever sat in a Bolt?

He wrote Volt, not Bolt and yes the headroom in the back of a Volt is lacking.

Don’t overlook the purpose of the tax-credits and why the phaseout stage switches to unlimited quantity.

That subsidy was to assist each automaker with production & distribution, allowing them to get their product to a high-volume profitable sales level prior to hitting that 200,000 threshold. This would make it easy for dealers & salespeople to continue on with business-sustainable sales, despite the reduction of that boost from the government.

GM didn’t focus on their own showroom shoppers; instead, sales focus was on conquest. Rather than use those tax-credits to entice their own loyal customers to replace their aging GM vehicle with a new GM vehicle offering a plug, they focused on selling more traditional SUVs… hence the introduction of both Trax & Blazer, neither featuring a plug. Existing popular vehicles didn’t get Voltec (the technology in Volt) either. The rollout stalled with a compact hatchback that wouldn’t be competitive on the showroom floor without the tax-credit.

In other words, consider the true competition problem. What will dealers prefer to sell?

Why can’t we get the massive oil subsidies in US law reduced or eliminated too.
These subsidies in no way match the oil subsidies.
And We’re All Paying the Global Warming Tax right now, with Hurricane Michael in Florida.
How much damage in Red States does Global Warming have to do before we get some real leadership and action.

Only the 535 congressional members, of our current administration, can answer your “real leadership and action” question.

Ask your friends, to please be sure and vote, early and often, when possible! Especially in this upcoming mid-term election!

I’ll believe the global warming crowd when I see them publicly shaming The PRC for it’s 5 year economic plan to expand coal use by 20%. What would happen if The U.S made its own TVs and other electronics? The price would rise, and there’d be less sold. Why is no one talking about common sense industrial policy as the obvious solution to environmental damage?

P.S. The U.S. could and should make its own solar panels, but The PRC makes most of them for export to us, as their government runs a non profit, CCP owned, manufacturing platform.

Yet no mention from you of Toyota’s CH-R offering in 2018, another crossover that doesn’t have a plug. That must mean Toyota isn’t interested in having their customers replace their vehicles wtih a new Toyota offering with a plug either, right? Hmm?

No need, since Toyota isn’t anywhere near their threshold yet and there are several affordable plug-ins targeted at their own consumers within that schedule.

btw, CH-R is already a hybrid in Europe. The delay here is the uncertainty of whether it will be rolled out as a plug-in hybrid or as the upcoming EV model. Also, a plug-in hybrid Corolla is also in the works.

So what the heck is next from GM? They seem to have started on a high note with the original Volt (which I liked enough that I sold my old BMW M5 to get), and, I felt, were really well-positioned to move into electrification (at least better than any other traditional automaker – including Nissan), and then we got the ELR (big meh!). When the Bolt EV came out it showed GM could make a decent high range electric at a price point that wasn’t crazy high, but the car itself just doesn’t inspire any real passion outside of the “EV” community.

Either these guys are good at keeping a secret, or they are wasting any lead they once had. C’mon GM!!!

GM squandered their tax-credits, using them for conquest sales rather than changing the status quo. This was the problem brought up as a concern way back in early 2007, when details of development indicated more of a trophy-mentality. Praise for performance became the draw. It should have been what it meant to actually be green. We saw the potential for an EV that guzzled electricity. But the bankruptcy recovery plan addressed that by raising the “too little, too slowly” concern. Volt could be rolled out any way that would stir market interest, then GM would move on to a more practical offering. Problem is, that never happened. Instead, Toyota & Hyundai stepped in with efforts to deliver EV offerings that used less electricity to travel the same distance. Sound familiar? Detroit obsessed with the wrong thing, yet again. History repeated. It’s ugly now too, since so much time & opportunity was wasted. Look at the efforts delivered from Honda & Chrysler. Consider what BMW & VW are ramping up to deliver. The other big legacy automakers are taking the situation seriously… well, all but Ford. So, what happens now? What will GM reveal as that 18-month promise comes to pass,… Read more »