GM expects record year of Chevy Bolt EV sales following fire recall

Business

2022 BOLT EUV
Source: Chevrolet

DETROIT – General Motors expects sales of its electric Chevrolet Bolt models can rebound from a high-profile recall after several vehicles caught fire to achieve record results in 2022.

“We see record numbers of sales and production for ’22, and we see ’23 being bigger than ’22. We are bullish on both EV and EUV,” Steve Majoros, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, told media Wednesday.

The automaker restarted production and shipments of the Bolt EV and a larger “EUV” version this week. Production of the vehicles at a plant in Michigan had largely been down since August, when the automaker recalled every Bolt that had been produced at the factory since 2016.

The recall followed the Detroit automaker determining two “rare manufacturing defects” in the lithium-ion battery cells of the vehicle’s battery pack could cause a fire. GM is aware of 19 vehicle fires related to the problem, a spokesman said.

The fires and recall were a major setback for the automaker in terms of EV sales and its reputation, despite its battery supplier, an LG company, taking blame for the issues.

The Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire on July 1, 2021 in the driveway of state Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat.
Vermont State Police

GM will attempt to relaunch the Bolt models to Americans starting Thursday with a new national television campaign for the cars, Majoros said. Ads shown to media do not mention the recall or fires.

“We think we have a lot of interest and awareness for this,” he said, adding the advertising will have a “big presence” during the opening day games of Major League Baseball. “I think it’s just going to continue with our advertising efforts.”

Majoros, calling it an “arm’s race,” said the record Bolt sales expectations are largely due to increased interest overall in EVs, not necessarily connected to record gas prices nationally this year.

The Bolt EV went on sale in December 2016, while the Bolt EUV went on sale last year shortly before all the vehicles were recalled. The Bolt nameplates achieved record sales of nearly 25,000 units last year, topping sales of the Bolt EV of more than 23,000 in 2017.

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