Chevy Bolt Continues to Increase its Sales Lead Over the Volt

Never mind competing with EVs from other manufacturers. With each passing month, it becomes ever clearer that the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt competes directly with another General Motors stablemate: the Chevrolet Volt.

In October 2017, the Bolt — first sold last December and available nationwide since mid-summer — pushed into second place out of all plug-in vehicles sold in the United States, muscling out the Tesla Model X in the process. In doing so, it increased the sales gap between it and the range-extended Volt.

When buyers hit up a “dinosaur” legacy automaker for a green car, it seems they prefer going all the way — once-revolutionary gas generator be damned.

GM sold 2,781 Bolts in October, double the 1,362 Volts bought by U.S. consumers. The Bolt’s strongest sales month so far also edged it ahead of the Volt in year-to-date sales — 17,083, to the Volt’s 16,710 (a 9.8 percent decrease from 2016).

The Volt, which spawned a longer-ranged second generation for the 2016 model year, saw its sales drop 37.8 percent compared to October 2016. Year-over-year sales have dropped for seven consecutive months. The crossover point for both models was in July, when the Bolt’s increased availability propelled it past its dual-motor cousin.

If past Volt sales are any indication, green vehicle purchases ramp up towards the end of the calendar year. December is traditionally the Volt’s best sales month — you can thank visions of a juicy $7,500 tax credit for that.

With attention swinging from the former green showpiece to the new kid on the block, GM is more preoccupied with paring down inflated Volt inventories. At the start of October, the automaker had a 102-day supply of Volts which, combined with plummeting sales of its full-sized passenger cars, led to the decision to idle its Hamtramck assembly plant for the rest of the year. A full shutdown is scheduled for November 13th.

GM executives are no doubt smiling after hearing that Tesla has pushed back its production goals for the Bolt’s main competitor, the Model 3. With the long-anticipated Tesla slow to come off the line, and with early examples arriving as pricier Long Range models, the Bolt can wave its $37,495 MSRP and 238-mile range at would-be buyers with impunity.

Still, the Bolt’s success comes at the expense of the Volt. Speaking to Wards Auto, Buzz Smith of Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, claims he’s seen Volt sales fall 60 percent since the Bolt’s release. It’s not just new-to-the-brand buyers kicking the tires on a Bolt.

“Some of them even timed the expiration of their Volt lease to coincide with the Bolt launch,” Smith said.

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