With all the publicity about the launch of the Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model 3, it is easy to forget that General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy division has already started to sell thousands of its Bolt all-electric car. The price of the vehicle is under $40,000, which puts it in direct competition, in terms of price, with Tesla’s new car. And the Bolt is not available yet across the entire United States.
Bolt sales were 1,642 in June, and total sales reached 7,592 for the year. As the car goes on sale across the United States, those figures are bound to surge. Bolt sales already have grown month over previous month every month since February.
The Bolt has several advantages over the Model 3. One is that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the car its top rating. The research organization’s management wrote:
The Bolt earns good ratings in all five of the Institute’s crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. It also has an optional front crash prevention system that earns a superior rating. The car avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph, and the system has a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.
The Bolt also received the widely regarded Motor Trend Car of the Year. The car beat out some major competition, which included that Porsche 911, Tesla S60/S75, the Volvo S90 and Audi A4. Well-known awards affect car sales, although it is impossible to tell to what extent.
The Bolt is also available through Chevy’s dealer network, which numbers hundreds of locations. Tesla vehicles can be ordered from the manufacturer. The dealer network also provides servicing for the Bolt, an advantage for drivers who need maintenance and repairs.
Ultimately, the Tesla Model 3 may pass the Bolt in sales. However, GM will invest heavily to make sure that does not happen. Or, if it does, America’s largest car manufacturer is bound to do whatever it can to keep the heat on Tesla.