GM plans to boost Chevy Bolt production by 20 percent

GM says global demand is up more than 40 percent for the first 6 months

  • Image Credit: GM
General Motors plans to ramp up product of the Chevrolet Bolt EV by 20 percent during the fourth quarter, citing growing global demand for its electric compact (so-called) crossover.

In its most recent earnings results, GM said demand has been strong for its battery-electric car in the U.S and globally, with global sales estimated to be up more than 35 percent for the second quarter and by more than 40 percent during the first six months of 2018. "The extra production coming on line should be enough to help us keep growing global Bolt EV sales, rebuild our U.S. dealer inventory and bring us another step closer to our vision of a world with zero emissions," Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a release.

Demand among American consumers appears to be much more modest. U.S. sales of the Bolt actually fell 22.6 percent in the second quarter to 3,483, but nudged up 3.5 percent for the first half of the year to 7,858. By contrast, sales of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid continued to fall, declining 19.2 percent for the second quarter to 4,336 and dropping by 28.5 percent from January through June to 7,814 units. The Bolt began outselling its older electrified sibling last summer.

Last summer, GM extended a shutdown at its Orion Assembly Plant near Detroit, where the Bolt is built. It said it was due solely to softening sales of the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car, which is also built there, although Bolt inventories at the time had risen to a more-than-robust 111 days supply.

GM launched the Bolt EV in late 2016 in California. It hasn't released updated specs for the 2019 model yet, but the 2018 Bolt offers a 238-mile driving range from its 60-kWh battery pack.

The Bolt will also serve as the basis for the fully autonomous, steering wheel-less Cruise AV that GM plans to start building next year.

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