GM’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Bold EV is supposed to be the Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model 3 killer. However, GM only sold 1,177 Bolt models in January, up from 1,162 in the same month last year GM’s once-promising move into inexpensive electric cars is a bust so far
GM’s opportunity with the Bolt may be short-lived. Although the Tesla Model 3 has had production problems, CEO Elon Musk says Tesla will be able to make tens of thousands of them a quarter, soon. The Bolt is in the right price range. The base model costs $37,495, and with a federal tax credit, $29,999. Unlike the Tesla Model 3, Bolts are available. People cannot get a Model 3 for 12 to 18 months, even if they order one immediately. The Model 3 base price is about $35,000
Chevy has several other advantages over Tesla. It has hundreds of dealers spread across the country. Most of the dealerships have service operations for people who need repairs or adjustments to their Bolt EV. The Bolt also comes in several colors. Buyers can also add a leather steering wheel and a rearview mirror that dims.
There are other reasons the Bolt does not sell well. For one, it is not a Tesla. The Tesla brand is strong enough that people who want a lowest-priced Tesla will wait over a year to own one. This sort of wild demand has helped Tesla’s market capitalization to rise to $57 billion. GM’s is about the same, and its sales are dozens of times greater than Tesla’s. GM sells about 10 million cars worldwide. At Tesla’s current sales rate, it will be fortunate to deliver 200,000 this year–across all its models.
Is the Tesla Model 3 actually better than the GM Bolt? For the time being, since neither car has been tested over a period of several years, or tested for flaws and problems, it is not possible to tell. No matter what the reason, GM can’t sell the Bolt, even with advantages it has over Tesla