Chevrolet Bolt - A Tesla Model 3 Killer?

Chevrolet Bolt - A Tesla Model 3 Killer?

Is the small sport sedan styling of the Tesla Model 3 a possible deterrent to sales?

Business Insider is suggesting that since the Tesla Model 3 is not an SUV or crossover, and rather a small sporty sedan, consumers may not be interested. Even further, the publication believes that people may steer toward the Chevrolet Bolt, due to the Model 3's "Tesla Formula" design.

We have heard all along that the Chevrolet Bolt may be a "Tesla killer." It came to market first, is about the same price, and offers comparable range to what Tesla is advertising for the upcoming Model 3. The Chevrolet Bolt's lead designer, Stuart Norris, believes that the Bolt has a huge advantage over the plethora of other automakers that will eventually come to market with long-range affordable EVs. He told Business Insider:

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

"Actually being in the market is a very big advantage that we have. Being first in the segment, and being able to deliver a product that does what the Bolt does, I think brings an integrity to the product."

Is being first enough? Samsung is often first, well ahead of Apple in new releases, and then the Apple product surfaces a few years later, and succeeds. Perhaps the Apple product, while later to market, is better? Is this why Apple is taking its time coming to market with its self-driving tech? Wait and watch ... live and learn ... and then come to market with a better product?

Anyway, I digress ...

Yes, the public is fond of CUVs and SUVs. Yes, the Model 3 won't be a super-practical vehicle. Yes, it's later to the game, and will likely be much more expensive than the Bolt, as soon as you add a few options. But, 400,000 people placed a paid reservation, knowing most all of this full well. GM's Norris continued:

"I think the Bolt EV offers something really compelling in the market. I think it’s very much in line with where the market is going. So we feel very comfortable with where the Bolt EV is. I think it’s great that Chevrolet is kind of compared with a luxury brand like Tesla and we think we have a great product in the segment that is going to be very appealing to the customer."

GM is calling the Chevy Bolt a crossover. However, automotive websites and industry experts have classified it as a compact car.

Regardless of any of this, unfortunately, the Bolt is not quite to expectations. It had a great first month, and it's holding its own reasonably well with the other top six selling EVs, but it's not monumental. We have to give it the benefit of the doubt since it's still not available in showrooms nationwide. But, even in its second, with three more states added, and in April, yet another state, and sales are not prospering. We will have to wait until after September, when the 2018 MY Bolt EV is available nationwide, to get a better picture.

If Tesla keeps on track, it will be making a fair amount of Model 3 sedans by September. Despite the Bolt's head start, with Tesla filling a multitude of reservations, Model 3 sales will easily surpass Bolt sales fairly quickly.

GM is not bothered by the competition, however. Norris concluded:

"Having more electrification and more electrification entries is great for everybody. But I think that the one thing the Chevrolet brand can bring is a sense of reliability and trust because people know that Chevrolet knows how to build and put cars together."

"We are bringing disruption through a game changing electrification strategy. But it’s going to be backed up with the dealer network, it’s going to be backed up with the product quality that Chevrolet knows how to sell, service, and look after your product and make sure it's going to work in people's everyday lives. So I think that is going to bring us a massive advantage in the electrification space."

While the Bolt is a truly compelling product, and GM deserves kudos for being first, the fact of the matter is that the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt are very different cars, and though they will be direct competitors in some ways, they will ultimately appeal to a different audience.

Source: Business Insider