GM’s Chevy Bolt EV sales went down in February in the middle of its production ramp up and now we learn that they have stayed at the same level, 978 units, in March, according to GM’s delivery report today.
While it’s not uncommon to see delays during a production ramp up, we are now 4 months into the start of production and GM has been expanding the Chevy Bolt EV’s market without more inventory.
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During the first quarter 2017, GM expanded the market for the Bolt from just California and Oregon by adding Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia in February and even New York and New Jersey in March.
Orders have been opened a few months back for those states and they were supposed to get inventories at the “authorized dealerships”, but it has been reportedly difficult to get one.
The start of deliveries in Canada and South Korea might explain the lack of inventory in the US as GM is still reportedly seeing production constraints, but the volumes were also low in those markets. Here are the monthly deliveries in the US since the launch in December:
GM had previously been guiding 30,000 units for the Chevy Bolt EV during its first full year of production, but with the first quarter now over, GM delivered 3,092 units in the US in 2017 and a few hundred more in Canada and South Korea.
We asked GM about the Bolt’s delivery numbers and a spokesperson said:
“Along with the Chevrolet Volt, which is up 39.5% year over year, the Bolt EV is attracting more buyers to Chevrolet showrooms and driving both interest and growth in the EV segment. The Bolt EV is currently available in eight states, turning in 14 days, and continues to launch in new markets each month.”
As we reported last month, California remains the main market and it is where inventories are the strongest. The Chevy Bolt EV is already being discounted by $5,000+ and some customers are paying $25K after incentives.
We would have thought that GM would have taken full advantage of its few month lead over the Tesla Model 3 to deliver as many Bolts as possible, but it looks like either demand or production is not there yet.
Speaking of the lead, it seems like they are a bit delusional as to how long they have since Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a comment with the release of the delivery numbers today:
“We also have a first-mover advantage in many segments. It will be years before key competitors are able to launch rivals to the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Colorado and Trax.”
Tesla is reportedly still on track to start Model 3 production in July. The vehicle is expected to have a competitive range with the Bolt EV’s 238-miles range and a starting price slightly lower – $35,000 versus $37,500 before incentive.
It will certainly be interesting to follow Bolt EV deliveries leading to the launch of the Model 3 and then how it will be impacted following the launch.