As we reported recently, Chevrolet has restarted production of the Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV at the Lake Orion factory in Michigan now that there are adequate supplies of new batteries available. Frankly, a lot of people were surprised that GM didn’t pivot away from the Bolt completely after the car was involved in several battery fires. It’s hard to rehabilitate the reputation of a brand that has been damaged by negative press. Ford isn’t making new Pintos anymore, and some parking lots are posting signs saying Bolts are prohibited.
But the Bolt has one strong marketing factor in its favor. It is the least expensive electric car with more than 250 miles of range you can buy in America today. It starts at $31,500, while the Tesla Model 3 costs $46,990. As interest in EVs ramps up during a time when gas prices are unusually high, Chevrolet could have a winner on its hands. Is the Bolt the equal of the Model 3? Perhaps not, but at $15,000 less, it should appeal to plenty of people who are looking for a lower cost alternative, especially since the EPA range numbers for the two cars are similar.
Two New Chevy Bolt Videos
Chevrolet has created two new TV ads that attempt to demystify the EV experience. Both will start running during major league baseball games this week. Here’s one of them, as featured in the Detroit Free Press.
Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s marketing director, tells the Free Press the company plans to set an all time sales record for the Bolt twins this year. That is rather a low bar, as the current record is a mere 25,000 vehicles.
“We’re coming strong with this product. This may shape up to be the number two product as far as the amount of spend that we put nationally behind our products this calendar year. Our goal is to get back to and, quite frankly, increase all of our business metrics whether that’s production, whether that’s retail sales. We all see what’s happening in the marketplace and we think both Bolt EV and Bolt EUV can catapult to their highest levels ever in both production and sales.”
Mojores says Chevrolet had about 6,700 Bolts in dealer inventory prior to its stop sale order last year. Chevrolet has not shipped the replacement batteries to fix all 6,700 cars in inventory yet, as it is making sure to take care of recalled vehicles first and using excess capacity to supply the production line at the Orion factory.
“It’s about concurrent activity of our replacement of the battery packs in the situation we’re all well aware of, in addition to what’s called a return to commerce,” Majoros says. “It’s a big thing for our customers, it’s a big thing for our dealers, a big thing for Chevrolet and General Motors. But again it’s a bit of a transitionary period in April and we’ll see how things unfold.”
The Orion facility is presently building 2022 model year Bolts and will start production of 2023 model year cars later this summer. Chevrolet will cover the cost of standard installation for a Level 2 charger for eligible customers who buy or lease a 2022 Bolt EV or Bolt EUV, Majoros says. Here is the second video, entitled “Life Changes.”
Give Chevrolet credit for tackling this massive problem head on. There is space in the marketplace for less expensive EVs, even if they don’t drive themselves. (Super Cruise will be an option on the Bolt and Bolt EV.) Less complexity may be just what many Americans want and need right now, especially if Chevrolet can make them available to customers now while other manufacturers have waiting times of several months to more than a year.
Chevrolet has always been the value brand in the GM corporate since the days when Dinah Shore began urging Americans to see The USA In Your Chevrolet in 1953. Even the Corvette, Chevy’s halo car, is a quarter of the price of most exotics with similar performance.
Now if only Chevy dealers don’t screw this up by putting clueless, poorly trained sales staff on the showroom floor and demanding outrageous markups on the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV twins. America deserves lower cost EVs (the average price of a new passenger vehicle in America is nearly $50,000). If the dealers won’t get behind this sales campaign, they deserve to be boiled in their own pudding with a stake of holly through their greedy little hearts.
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