Two-day shipping of a Chevy Bolt? We can do that.
The main reason Amazon Prime has exploded in popularity over the past decade or so is the speed. Do you need a showy plate for Thanksgiving dinner? Two days. A socket set for your classic? Two days. General Motors is thinking it might just be able to do the same with electric vehicles.
The plan is, starting late this year, for Chevy to test centralized inventory lots, like Amazon hubs, where dealers could share pools of Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs to pull from. Dealers could get them in days a la Prime, instead of weeks. It could even be a same-day affair in certain locations. This is a sensible move considering the number of dealerships visited when purchasing cars has shrunk by about 20% since 2016.
"We evolved through the pandemic, and a lot of those services that were put into place are not going away," analyst Michelle Krebs told Automotive News. "Then we have an influx of EVs, which offers this opportunity to transform the retail experience."
This would let dealers shrink their floorplans and allow retailers with high EV sales to use those bigger spaces. As consumers rely less on test drives and in-person browsing dealers won't need to keep a ton of inventory on hand. Some dealers are worrying this gives the factory too much control.
With at least 30 EVs by the mid-decade from GM, and executives calling for a change in the retail model, this changeover could happen sooner rather than later as it cuts costs and improves the customer experience. For GM's next big EVs, the GMC Hummer and the built-in-Tennessee Cadillac Lyriq, it wants customers to make reservations before even talking to a dealership. It also has a new dealer tool for tracking the company's inventory of EVs.
Ford is doing a similar thing with its used cars called Ford Blue Advantage, and Volvo, which is planning for an all EV lineup by 2030, said it will keep a central stock, delivering customer-ordered cars to dealerships as necessary. "They're serious. They're jumping in with both feet," said Al Corazza, general manager of Fairway Chevrolet in Hazle Township, Pa. "They want somebody to be able to buy an electric car online from a Chevy dealer."