GM Shutters Domestic Production Of Chevrolet Bolt EV, Exits "Electric Car" Production, Does The Old Switcheroo
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Auto Central Louisville KY May 1, 2023; Old news with a new perspective.
Last week we reported that GM CEO Mary Barra told investors GM plans to end Michigan Bolt production by the end of this year.
GM is axing production of its most successful exportable EV despite selling over 175,000 of the U.S. built Chevrolet Bolt models
Since their inception the Chevy Bolt EV hatchback and Bolt EUV utility vehicle made up the vast majority of the company’s electric vehicle sales. But now GM says that because the Bolt's battery cells are an older design and chemistry than the automaker’s newer electric vehicles such as the $150,000 GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, which use GM’s Ultium architecture it's time to abandon the highly promoted Bolt EV model and its 175,000 worldwide buyers.
So now GM is retooling the former Michigan Bolt factory to build and hopefully sell lots of the more profitable Silverado Electric Pick-up, which some experts view as a step backward for road safety, emissions mitigation, and EV affordability.
But I think that there will be more to this story.
Based on our understanding of the historic partnership between GM and China we believe that the elimination of domestic production of a sales success like the Bolt is just a red herring designed to make the politically active Chevrolet dealers demand that GM quickly replaces Bolt in their salesroom and supply them with another competitive American Badged EV Model to sell NO MATTER WHAT!.
But remember because there is no existing GM production facilities available and it will take too long to build a factory from scratch while the Chevy dealers are pressuring GM, one might think that GM has a problem...but GM has never had a problem with anything they want..."What's good for GM is good for America."
So with all the Build it Better here in America rhetoric aside, Magic Mary will open the GM worldwide production menu...and what do you know, GM just happens to have a Chinese Auto Maker partner that is already launching 4 new EV's this year and I'm sure will be able to supply new modern up to date battery powered Bolt Sedans one from column A and maybe a "modern" version of a Bolt SUV from column B and thus virtually instantly provide two new Made In China by GM vehicles for the baseball, hot dogs and apple pie all American Chevrolet dealers to sell...replace Amnerican Built with Chinese Built without any political hassel, without building a new factory, hiring American workers or expanding Americas's manufacturing base...what a deal GM, what a deal Mary.
I'll bet both Bolt replacements are already rolling off the assembly line in GM's Dongyue South Yantai GM Plant or will be soon.
But what about the "sacrosanct" Made In America criteria to get a tax incentive you opine? I'm sure GM will convince "car guy" Biden and his EPA and his IRS to adjust their incentive criteria to exempt the new GM Made In China Chevrolet Bolts to bypass the where-built restrictions, continuing GM's historic disregard of the country that brung 'em..
What do you think will happen?
GM To Expand Electric SUV and Pick-up Production Instead
WASHINGTON, April 25 David Shepardson and Ben Klayman reporting for Reuters reported that General Motors Co said on Tuesday it will end production of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle later this year as its shifts zero-emission production to trucks and SUVs built on a new battery platform.
"We have progressed so far that it's now time to plan to end the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EU production, which will happen at the very end of the year," GM CEO Mary Barra told investors on Tuesday.
The largest U.S. automaker sold 38,120 Bolt EVs in 2022, up from 24,828 in 2011 -- and 19,700 in the first three months of the year. The Bolt, GM's first mass market EV, still accounts for more than 90% of all U.S. GM EV sales.
The Bolt was preceded by the Chevrolet Volt -- a plug-in hybrid that GM ended production in 2019. In the late 1990s, GM built and leased about 1,100 EV1 cars.
The Bolt, which starts at $26,500 and qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit, has been repeatedly touted by Biden administration as an example of an affordable EV.
David Zipper, a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School who writes about transportation policy on Twitter, criticized GM's decision calling it "a step backward for road safety, emissions mitigation, and EV affordability... Putting EVs out of reach for all but affluent Americans widens inequities & slows electrification."
GM shares were down 4.2% Tuesday.
In January 2022, GM said it would invest $4 billion in its Orion Township Assembly plant that builds the Bolt to produce Chevrolet Silverado EV and electric GMC Sierra using its next-generation Ultium EV platform.
GM said its Detroit-Hamtramck and Orion plants will be able to build more than 600,000 electric trucks a year by late 2024.
Barra said when the Orion reopens in 2024 and reaches full production, employment will nearly triple.
GM expects to build 400,000 EVs in North America from 2022 through mid-2024 and increase capacity to 1 million units annually in North America in 2025.
Barra said Tuesday the automaker expects its battery plant in Warren, Ohio, to reach full capacity by year end.
In August 2021, GM announced a $2-billion recall campaign it expanded to cover all of the 140,000 Bolt vehicles it had produced over battery fire risks. The recall prompted GM to halt Bolt production and sales for more than six months.
GM battery partner LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS) agreed to reimburse the automaker for $1.9 billion in costs connected to the Bolt recall, the Korean company said in 2021.
Reporting by David Shepardson and Ben Klayman Editing by Nick Zieminski