Chevy Bolt EV Sales Steady in Q2, While Chevy Volt Quietly Slips Away
Monthly sales speculation in the EV world is still rife in 2019, but the real analysis happens at the end of every quarter when many key automakers release official sales figures.
Much of the media attention inevitably focuses on Tesla’s increasing dominance of the electric vehicle market. Not every EV buyer wants a Tesla, however, so legacy automakers like General Motors, Nissan, and more recently Kia and Hyundai have a role to play as well.
Let’s take a look at how Q2 2019 played out for the only other automaker to already pass the 200,000 EVs sold milestone, General Motors.
Sales of Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid Slow to a Crawl
Let’s get an inevitable piece of business handled first and pour one out for the much-loved Chevrolet Volt, which remains GM’s best-selling electric vehicle by a large margin.
2019 Chevy Volt sales slowed to a trickle in Q2, as dealerships move their last remaining inventory and used the final few days of state-level incentives in key markets like Massachusetts.
The plug-in hybrid sold 1,146 units across April, May, and June 2019, which exceeded the expectations of Volt sales falling into the three-digit region. Nonetheless, this marks the model’s final bow in a race with remaining competitors like the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid and Honda Clarity PHEV.
On the subject of PHEV sales, here’s how the Prius Prime and Honda Clarity are going head-to-head.
As we’ve covered before, the Chevy Volt has an indirect impact of sales of the Chevy Bolt EV, not so much through cannibalization of sales but because the Volt has eaten up much of GM’s federal tax credit allowance.
Even so, the federal incentive remains in place at the $3,750 credit level until September 30th, 2019. That means a summer of deep discounting to sell as many 2019 Chevy Bolt EVs as possible before the credit is cut in half again, down to its final two quarters at $1,875, which is incidentally where Tesla now finds itself as we enter July.
Speaking of Tesla: watch "4 Reasons Why Bolt EV Owners May Convert To Tesla Model Y" and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily Tesla, Bolt and automotive news analysis.
Steady 2019 Chevy Bolt EV Sales Raise More Questions Than They Answer
With official figures revealing 3,965 units moved in Q2, the 2019 Chevy Bolt EV is posting steady sales so far this year. That number is only 351 units down on Q1 2019, at a time when the full federal tax credit was still in place and Chevy dealerships tried to squeeze a burst of sales in before March 31st.
Faced with increasing competition from the updated Nissan Leaf and new long-range electric models like the Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona Electric, those numbers remain healthy.
However, the real question waiting to be answered is what General Motors has up its sleeve for the next wave of electric vehicles, particularly under the Chevrolet banner.
As the summer progresses, we should expect to see much more from GM in terms of turning that rampant speculation into concrete plans. The automaker has committed to getting some 20 new electric models to market by 2023, but its legacy competitors are also moving up their electrification plans to match that timeline.
A major refresh for the 2020 Chevy Bolt EV is now the bare minimum that General Motors needs to keep pace with the competition. If the model’s Q2 2019 sales reveal anything, it’s that this will likely be a final surge of sales to move 2019 inventory and squeeze the last drops out of the federal tax credit at its middle level.
Beyond that, GM needs a broader range of electric vehicles hitting showrooms early next year. And if the General wants to keep existing Chevy Bolt EV lessees in their stable, the company probably needs to reveal these updates before the current quarter is out.
Do you think Bolt EV sales seem okay or does GM need a major acceleration of its electric vehicle line as soon as possible?
Let us know in the comments!
See you in the next story, where we'll visit the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI and look at the company's commitment to electrification.