Could it be a case of Tesla Model 3 envy?
There’s no question the Chevrolet Bolt is very impressive, technologically speaking. With its EPA-rated 238-mile range, affordable sticker price, and five-door hatchback design, you’d think GM would be selling a boatload of them? Apparently not. Reuters reports GM has confirmed it has temporarily shut down the Orion assembly plant, where the Bolt is built. The problem, as you’ve likely guessed, is that there are too many Bolts sitting on dealership lots, so reducing inventory is now required.
For example, one Rhode Island Chevrolet dealer has more than 200 Bolts in stock right now. Launched last December, the Bolt has so far failed to meet sales expectations. A total of 7,592 Bolts have been delivered to customers. That’s not completely terrible, considering the Bolt isn’t even sold nationwide yet (that’ll begin next month). However, GM initially claimed the Orion plant’s shutdown was due to "softening sales of the Sonic," which is also built there. And then, just one month ago, GM told Reuters that Bolt inventories increased from 104 days to 111 days of stock in June. GM originally targeted 70 days of stock, so clearly the production issue lies with the Bolt, less so with the Sonic.
And because of the plant slowdown, there are temporarily employee layoffs. It’s like summer vacation, only without a paycheck. So why isn’t the Bolt the success GM hoped it would be? During our test drive, we admitted to not being the biggest fans of its exterior styling, and styling matters. Just look at the Tesla Model 3. Tesla claims it’s received more than 400,000 reservations from anxious future owners. Same can’t be said about the Bolt. Clearly, GM has an image problem among EV buyers. Compare the Bolt to the Model 3. Which would you choose? We thought so.