"I loved my Toyota Prius. When the Chevy Volt came out I thought I though this was a great car: so much more solid feeling, a lot peppier, and all electric for over 40 miles! I was so excited when the Bolt came out that I drove 3 hours to get one in another state because I was so anxious to drive all electric. Yet, the Prius still outsells the Volt and Bolt hugely. I can't figure out why. Can you?" asks a user named Grosvie Robinson Cooley in GM Electric Vehicle Owners group on Facebook.
Prius vs Bolt: Price, Reliability and Trust
Volt and Bolt owners in this GM group talk about reliability and price as deciding factors. They say people trust Toyota more than GM.
They also say Price point is a big advantage for Prius. People want cheap reliable cars. In some parts of the country the Prius is much more economical to drive. If you check online, the MSRP of Toyota Prius starts from $23,475, while Chevy Bolt starts from $36,620.
GM Doesn't Push EVs
GM makes more money from selling Corvettes and Camaros and Chevy Bolts. GM does not push electric vehicles. Few weeks ago I went to a local GM dealership and saw only two Bolts. One was already sold out. The sales manager told me they are making more money selling Corvettes than Bolts. Their ICE vehicles make them more profit on sale and lifetime of the vehicle. Perhaps, this is why they killed the EV1.
I mean look around. There is absolutely no serious marketing of the Volt or the Bolt. It is only when you happen to drive one that you discover the beauty of these cars. Hence more people are in the dark about GM's electric cars. A friend of mine, a college business professor drives his Volt already more than 5 years and is most pleased with the experience.
Have you ever seen a Volt or Bolt commercial?
On the other hand, we can say that Toyota makes money off of Prius. Toyota Prius is profitable. While, GM needs to learn how to make more money from its electric cars.
Brand loyalty is a big factor too. Some people say that the number one and number two reasons people choose a car are Expected Reliability and Familiarity with Brand. Also, Toyota has spent decades cultivating its image as the leader in "green" cars.
I am a Toyota Prius owner myself. And I can say that the Prius owners are among the most loyal customers out there. A high percentage of new buyers are replacing their old Prius because like myself, I have been most pleased with my Prius. Their mileages are improving and some going electric as well. Prius owners have had a good experience with the old car, so a new one is a safe bet.
The only bright spot in this story is what I learned about our past contributor Buzz Smith who wrote this story discussing that Electric Vehicles require a new way to sell. In fact, one GM dealership hired him to specifically sell EVs. I don't know many other dealerships who have hired special sales managers to specialize in EV sales and promotions.
What do you think about this issue? Do you have other reasons why Toyota sells more Prius vehicles than GM sells Volt and Bolt vehicles? Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Also see Torque News reporter John Goreham's story, which he wrote in 2017 discussing why the long-awaited all-electric Chevy Bolt cannot maintain a sales level even close to the Toyota Prius Prime.