With Chevy Bolt inventory at 111 selling days, General Motors has decided to extend the shutdown at the Orion Township factory responsible for making the Bolt and Chevrolet Sonic.

Sales of the Chevy Bolt have been below expectations. We've reported on this multiple times now in our monthly scorecard. With Bolt inventories now sitting at approximately 6,000 units, General Motor has decided to extend the shutdown at the only factory responsible for Bolt production.

Reuters reports:

Bolt On Production Line

Bolt On Production Line

"General Motors Co has extended a shutdown at the Michigan factory that builds the new Chevrolet Bolt electric car as part of a broader effort to get control of bulging inventories of unsold vehicles in the United States."

"A spokesman for the company said the shutdown at Orion was "due solely to softening sales of the Sonic" model, adding that its production plan for the Bolt for this year was unchanged."

Though GM is trying to place blame solely on the Sonic, truth of the matter is there's no other production site for the Bolt. Therefore, Bolt production will be completely halted until the factory re-opens after its extended shutdown, which could continue through the end of August.

Just recently, we posted this information in regards to Bolt sales/inventory:

Originally, we had been told thought tight inventory was holding back sales, but by late April inventory moved deep into 4 digits, and headed toward 5,000 units in May – the result was 1,566 sales.

For June, inventory of the Bolt EV touched close to the 6,000 unit level, and again, Bolt EV sales moved higher – up to 1,642 copies, a new 2017 high.

With the Bolt EV clearly underselling even GM’s own expectations, the company now finds itself with way too much 2017 model year stock. To solve this issue, GM surprised the market and opened up nationwide orders in June (a month early), with the first copies set to arrive next month (August).  Hopefully adding in 32 more states to the mix will help the Bolt EV set new year-highs this Fall!

Reuters adds that Bolt inventory is now at 111 selling days, up from 104 in June. That's way over GM's target number of around 70 selling days for its vehicles. That 70 target is to be reached by year's end. At least that's what GM is telling investors. Across all of its vehicles, GM has an average of 105 days of supply, a 10-year high.

With some dealers advertising Bolt inventory of 200-plus units, there's cause for concern.

It'll be interesting to see how nationwide availability of the Bolt impacts its sales figures. We're certain sales will increase, but by how much? Enough to quickly eliminate the overage and get the factory back in action churning out Bolts? We'll find out next month.

This shutdown is probably of more concern to those looking for the Opel Ampera-E in Europe, as that car is a badge-engineered version of the Bolt EV, that also runs off the Orion assembly line.  Opel has a many thousand vehicle backlog of Europeans who have ordered the Ampera-E, however GM has reportedly decided to artificially limit the number of EVs heading outside the US.

A word on Chevrolet Sonic sales in the US of late, which clearly demonstrates the utilization issue at GM's Orion factory:

2014 - 93,518 2015 - 64,775 2016 - 55,255 2017 (through June) - 17,958

Source: Reuters

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