GM has confirmed that its Orion plant, where they build the Chevy Bolt EV, will see an extended shutdown as part of the automaker’s broader effort to reduce inventories.
It is sending mixed messages about the all-electric vehicle program.
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As we recently reported, GM’s sales of its first long-range all-electric vehicle have been slow to ramp up since its launch in December 2016.
It reached a new high of 1,642 units in the US last month and it brought the total delivered of new Bolt EVs in the US to 7,592 units.
At first, GM said that it was due to production constraints, but that’s definitely not the case anymore since they are accumulating inventories and shutting down plants.
The automaker says that the Orion shutdown is “due solely to softening sales of the Sonic”, which is also produced at the factory, but GM also confirmed to Reuters that Bolt EV inventories increased from 104 days to 111 days of stock last month, which is significantly higher than the 70 days the company is aiming for.
It’s why they are adding 3 more weeks to their usual summer factory shutdown in order to get back to more reasonable levels of inventories.
Furthermore, the Chevy Bolt EV is supposedly going “nationwide” next month, which at first glance could have fixed the inventory issue, but the new markets are small compared to where the Bolt EV is already available.
As per GM’s own distribution plan, the Bolt EV is officially in dealerships in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia since the beginning of the year. New York, New Jersey and Washington were added throughout the first quarter and deliveries in Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Colorado started in May.
The good news is that the increasing inventories have resulted in discounts for buyers.
Though the inventories are not exactly well distributed. It can still be difficult to get your hands on one in certain markets, while in other markets, like California, there are decent inventories and some customers have been getting away with paying $25,000 after incentives due to discounts. You can always check with your local dealers for inventory and see if you can find a deal.