Chevrolet expects ‘record’ Bolt sales this year after 2021 recall | Auto Features

Chevrolet expects record sales of Bolt products this year after having to halt production and sales last summer amid a mass recall for the risk of battery fires in electric vehicles.

Chevrolet Marketing Director Steve Majoros told reporters at a briefing that the General Motors Co. expect “record sales and production numbers for ’22 and we see ’23 being bigger than ’22. We’re optimistic on the Bolt EV and the EUV, not just because of where we are now with gas prices… the percentage of EVs as the industrial percent continues to go up and up as the months and years unfold.”

GM restarted production of the Chevy Bolt EV and its larger sibling, the Bolt EUV at its Lake Orion plant on Monday after months of downtime while the automaker worked through a product recall, prioritizing a new battery to use as a replacement for the recalled Bolt.

Over the next month, GM will make the new Bolts to go on sale at many more dealerships while also continuing to ship replacement batteries for the recall population.

To kickstart the Bolt’s return to the market, Chevy is launching two new commercials that will air nationwide during Major League Baseball Opening Day.

“Our goal is to come back and, frankly, improve all of our business metrics,” Majoros said. “We’ve all seen what’s happening in the market and we think both the Bolt EV and the EUV can catapult to their highest levels for both production and sales and we fully intend that to happen.”

Bolt’s sales figure to beat is around 24,000.

Last year was supposed to be a big year for GM’s lower-priced EVs. The automaker launched the Bolt EUV and introduced a new version of the Bolt EV, which has been on the market since late 2016. Chevy is focusing marketing on how to lower the price of the Bolt over the previous versions — the $5,000 Bolt EV and $3,000 EUV. The Bolt EUV 2022 starts at $33,995 and the Bolt EV starts at $31,995.

GM halted production of electric cars after issuing recalls in August 2021 on all Bolts, more than 141,000, for battery fire risks. The automaker and supplier LG Energy Solution identified two battery manufacturing problems, a torn anode tab and a folded separator, as the root cause of the fire that broke out at the Bolt. Since then, GM has confirmed 19 Bolt fires globally.

The automaker kept its Orion Assembly plant where the Bolts were mostly shut down to prioritize new battery modules for the recalled Bolts. GM did reopen the factory briefly in November to make new Bolts for customers who needed transportation during recall repairs.

Orion assembly is now shipping new products and Majoros says that of the 6,700 Bolts that were in dealer lots prior to the recall and stoppage of sales, 800 could be sold this month.

“We wouldn’t have made this decision to go through manufacturing new vehicles simultaneously, as well as ship multiple battery packs to dealers to maintain dealer stock, if we didn’t feel comfortable and confident… good and reliable supplies came in to ensure we could handle all this need,” Majoros said.

Chevrolet dealers have replaced the battery module on the recalled Bolt since October.

The automaker hasn’t determined how many dealers the battery has replaced.

Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly said Chevrolet plans to reuse or recycle 100% of the batteries that will return as part of the recall. Right now our focus is on recycling.”

Battery recycling is seen as an important part of the EV business to help lower the cost of obtaining the necessary minerals while reducing the environmental impact of mining for new supplies.

For customers who have not yet received a new battery, Chevrolet dealers are offering a software update that limits the car’s maximum charge state to 80%, allowing users to charge indoors overnight, use cars with a range of less than 70 miles, and park indoors. after charging. The software is said to be able to detect battery abnormalities.

Without the update, Bolts drivers will have to follow a series of recommended precautions including not driving under 70 miles. Only Bolt users with new batteries can charge up to 100%.

LG Electronics Inc., an affiliate of LG Energy, has agreed to pay $1.9 billion of an estimated $2 billion cost for the recall and repair of Bolts.

Majoros said the company had done “a great deal to understand the broad consumer perception of the situation.”

“I don’t want to underestimate what we provide to our customers, what our dealers have done for our customers,” Majoros said. “But the data is pretty clear… we’re not seeing massive reputational damage. We will definitely stay humble. I think we have a great product and we’re just going to try to convince America that this is the right EV at the right time.”

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