Holden Wants Left-Hand-Drive Chevy Bolt For New Zealand


It turns out that not only Opel in Europe has had troubles in getting the Chevrolet Bolt EV (Ampera-e) to its market, now Holden New Zealand is dying to be able sell one too.


Chevrolet Bolt

Early in the EV’s planning, General Motors decided to develop only the left-hand-drive Bolt EV out of its Orion, Michigan assembly facility, leaving the markets where the wheel is on the wrong side without the ability to acquire the car.

So that includes the UK ( is now part of Opel), Japan, Australia and New Zealand (where GM’s Holden operates).

As one might expect, the anticipated sales volume for the right-hand-drive Bolt EV was too small for GM to consider the offering, and given what we have seen with shipping the car to LHD markets outside of the US, international volume may not really have been one of the original targets of production anyway.

But now the reviews are in and apparently demand is high, so Holden New Zealand is even willing to import the left-hand-drive version for sale (or to self-promote) … if only government would enable them to do so.

Managing director Kristian Aquilina said (via Stuff):

“We would like to talk to the Government about opening up an opportunity to bring in small numbers of EVs in left-hand drive to at least demonstrate the vehicles, their capability, and to get consumers used to their benefits…”

“General Motors already has a strong stable of EVs on the way, but the cost associated with making them right-hand drive for small markets like New Zealand makes it pretty tough to bring them in,”

“This has meant General Motors has become a “forgotten leader” in EV technology in this part of the world, he added.”

Individuals are currently allowed to to import and register special left-hand drive vehicles in New Zealand (mainly performance cars), so Holden hopes that the government could make an exemption so it could import a small number of EVs – at least for demonstration or trials.

source: stuff.co.nz

Category: Chevrolet

Tags: , , ,

26 responses to "Holden Wants Left-Hand-Drive Chevy Bolt For New Zealand"
  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “We would like to talk to the Government about opening up an opportunity to bring in small numbers of EVs in left-hand drive…”

    Okay, but what does that have to do with the Bolt EV / Ampera-e? As the article correctly states, GM made a decision not to produce any right-hand-drive units.

    So if he wants to import right-hand-drive EVs to NZ, then he should look elsewhere. Since Japans is a right-hand-drive country, I’m sure Japanese EV makers such as Nissan would be happy to supply them!

    1. Ambulator says:

      He is not asking for right hand drive Bolts. He just wants to import a few normal left hand drive Bolts but the government won’t let him.

      1. ffbj says:

        Right. It’s against the law.

        1. Mikael says:

          It seems like a great reason for New Zealand to start driving on the right side of the road. 😛

          Not that they could get many Bolts anyway since GM don’t want to sell them.

          1. stuart22 says:

            “GM doesn’t want to sell them” is a stupid reaction to this situation. Sales to New Zealand don’t contribute to the 200k threshold for the 7500$ tax credit to expire in the USA. If some outfit in NZ wants to put out the necessary effort to bring in some LHD Bolts, GM won’t stand in the way.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Thanks, Ambulator.

        That’s what I get for not reading the article carefully enough! 😳

    2. Jason says:

      And besides, it is GM Holden in NZ asking the government this. I doubt they have much interest/inclination to ask Nissan to import the rival Leaf. Our maybe they could become the 4th company to align with Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi.
      Pushmi-Pullyu is not up to the usual standard on this one.

    3. jimjfox says:

      Utterly ridiculous situation! The answer; put driver & steering ‘gear’ [which is ‘steer-by-wire in some vehicles anyway] on the CENTRELINE of the car. LHD, RHD- no problem.
      If not so, feel free to correct me.

    4. jimjfox says:

      Bulldust- https://jalopnik.com/5383437/atlas-of-right-hand-drive-vs-left-hand-drive-countries

      India 1,324,171.35
      Indonesia 261,115.46
      Total- 1.6 BILLION…. USA x 4.7

      Isolationism is alive & well at GM. Maybe SOME [very few] vehicles need ‘handed’ driving; central driver location would mean loss of front passenger seat. But design could compensate for that and passengers are safer ‘in back’ anyway.

      1. Peter G. says:

        India & Indonesia:
        Average Yearly Income- $3,000
        Roads – poor condition
        Electric Grid – Unreliable
        Climate – wet

        If you want to supply these countries with green transportation try Mountain Bikes

  2. menorman says:

    Perhaps this will be the catalyst to spur some countries to finally start driving on the right side of the road…

    1. Malcolm Scott says:

      Doubt it. Whilst some countries did change the side of the road they drive on, that was a long time ago and before large sunk investments in road design that makes changing very difficult.

      Cars now with many driving aids and road design no longer needing the driver on one side or the other for safe travelling, it’s perhaps increasingly irrelevant which side the steering wheel is.

      In RHD countries there are many exemptions to allow LHD vehicles. It’s about time that national regulations became silent on this matter.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Not to say that you’re wrong in general, but there are exceptions. I found it amusing that Samoa switched to right-hand-drive in 2009, so they could get cheaper imports from Australia and Japan.


      2. John A Brewer Jr says:

        Product variance, with most modern can software it’s easy to design for ether market, if GM wants to be a world company again, they need to stop having internal meetings and allow internal bickering in not having the cars that NZ, UK and other countries require this product variance, allow to be produced all it’s doing is driving up the product variance costs of parts LH Vs. RH driving and causes bad PR and most components. It’s probably due to internal lazyness and managers don’t want the extra work for special part added to 4th he supply chain. The auditors need to look at if other companies can do it why can’t GM? That’s a issue that GM can solve.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      New Zealand drives on correct side of the road for their place on the globe. Makes no sense to change for them. It matches Australia and Japan and works well for all Japanese imports including Nissan Leaf.

      It is just one company problem that wants to make business selling GM cars but GM is obviously unable compete in these markets.

    3. jimjfox says:

      What is the “right side”, anyway?

      1. jimjfox says:


        Historically, RHD was the accepted rule- from Roman times so centuries before USA existed.
        The ‘horse/sword/handshake’ argument is far more convincing than the U.S. ‘Teamster wagon’ argument, both based on the dominant hand being the right one.

        So, the USA should accept guilt for causing all the immense costs of changing to LHD :-))

  3. DJ says:

    Didn’t Holden shut down recently??

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      Not shut down. But they no longer manufacture vehicles in Australia.

      They were the last car maker to move production overseas I believe. Holden will only be importing vehicles now like all of the other automakers do.

  4. Doug Bostrom says:

    Meanwhile, could we relocate the Volt charging port to the curb side of vehicles built for left-hand wheel markets? The current arrangement is a failure for curbside charging (and considering how many good things there are about these vehicles this kind of a bizarre oversight).

    1. jimjfox says:

      North American
      variant spelling of kerb
      Learnt something. Thought ‘Curb’ was the verb, ‘Kerb’ the noun. Wrong. Again!

  5. Jason says:

    I believe they started Bolt product design in Port Melbourne, Australia, so there is a good chance it had a RHD variant.
    Gotta love the US contingent, why don’t you guys make the change and place the steering wheel on the “Right” side of the car? One country making the change vs several countries making the change, sounds good to me 🙂

  6. Ben says:

    GM internal politics at play. GM NZ trying to show US HQ they reached their lobbying KPI.

  7. Kdawg says:

    Just get rid of the driver and sell them autonomous Bolt EVs. 😀

Leave a Reply