A perfect storm for Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV sales has hit, but the sudden spike in sales is putting dealers in the driver’s seat.
Chevy’s Bolt EV and Bolt EUV aren’t the best EVs around. Most EVs charge faster than they do, and many come in rear- and all-wheel drive configurations. Many other models have more seats, more interior space, and more cargo space. But one area where nobody else is beating GM right now is on the price.
For many people, an EV that starts under $30,000 is ideal because it’s what we can afford. Even among people who can afford a $50,000+ Tesla, they’d rather keep their monthly budget open for other things. While there are shortcomings, especially the DC fast charging speed (55 kW max), Bolts have proven themselves to be dependable vehicles that don’t fall apart or suffer a lot of battery degradation. Before the recall, there were drivers pushing 150,000 miles with only around 10% degradation, which is impressive.
Plus, Americans are coo coo for crossovers, and now the Bolt has a crossover version with the more truck-like front lines, more rear legroom, and a suspension tuned to soak up the bumps more. That more desirable configuration, combined with the temporary 2022 price cuts made permanent for the 2023 model year, made it a tough vehicle to get for most of 2022.
During the worst shortages of Bolts and Bolt EUVs, many dealers were charging a $5,000–$10,000 premium on top of MSRP, and sadly, some people were dumb enough to encourage that behavior by paying it. It took me several months and a lucky break at one of my local dealers to get one under MSRP, and I jumped on that.
But this situation suddenly changed when word came out that the tax credits were coming back. Instead of wanting a Bolt or Bolt EUV right away, many buyers wanted to find one to buy in January. Even better, the Bolts are going to qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit for at least the next few months. So, Bolts started stacking up on dealer lots again, and the few people who weren’t wanting to wait for the tax credit were able to get normal sub-MSRP pricing again.
Now, it’s January, and the tax credits are on! As usual, a sudden spike in customer interest usually means dealers are trying to take a cut of the savings for themselves. On several Facebook groups dedicated to GM EVs, I’m starting to see some wild stories like this one below. It’s from a private group, so I won’t name the person who posted it.
As predicted, dealers are now going to resume taking advantage of people, though:
“Went to buy a Bolt EUV today from [dealer name removed to protect privacy of poster]. Had contacted salesperson weeks prior to visit who advised three that fit my parameters were in transit and available in January, and that they sold for msrp with no markup and only add-on was tint at $299. They wouldn’t take deposit and said first come first serve. Would not do deal sheet (huge red flag). Confirmed last Friday that one of them was now in stock and available, set appointment for 1st thing today as they were closed Sunday.
“Show up, car is there and ready finally, get buyers order and of course $3495 “protection package” magically appears. None of the package had been done to the vehicle. I say I’ll do the deal with no add ons as previously discussed, sales manager comes back and says he will knock it down to their “cost” which is $1296. I counter and we end up at $1000 if they throw in the OEM black wheel inserts. He goes to check availability of the inserts, comes back and says $3495 package is now required and no negotiation.”
I’ve been seeing a number of other stories like this around social media, people who had made a seemingly solid deal to purchase a Bolt or Bolt EUV show up to sign on the dotted line, only to find that the dealers have bumped the price up on them.
GM Made A Very Modest Price Increase
There was a lot of speculation that GM itself was going to raise the invoice prices once tax credits came into play, and that happened as predicted. But what I didn’t predict was that they’d make it a very modest price increase.
According to GM Authority, the Bolt EV saw a $900 price increase for the 1LT and 2LT models. The 2LT generally comes with a a nicer leather interior and other upgrades, but is still below the Premier package in other respects. Other media outlets show that the Bolt EUV is seeing only a $600 increase, which makes sense because it was already a more expensive model, and GM probably thought EUV customers would already be a little more price sensitive.
As Usual, I’m Impressed With GM But Disappointed In Most Dealers
As I said above, most people were thinking GM would take back the discounts they gave out in 2022 and made permanent. With a $7,500 tax credit, it probably wouldn’t have hurt their sales all that much. But, they also had to consider that the buyers of a budget EV might not have enough tax liability to even take advantage of a tax credit. In 2024, these credits become transferrable and can come off the price of the car, but for now you’ve got to owe taxes to benefit from the credit.
However, dealer behavior at this point (jacking up prices) shows us that the transferable credits might not even benefit many buyers. It seems likely to me that dealers will convince someone that they’re getting a barely sub-MSRP deal, but not inform them that part of the paperwork is signing $7500 over to the dealer. Many people are going to get fleeced by dealers.
If you’re in the market for a Bolt or Bolt EUV, be patient. Don’t let a dealer convince you to pay thousands more because of a tax credit. Don’t let them steal your tax credit next year. It may take months to come up with a car, but the worst thing you can do right now is pay a ton extra for a new car that’s going to lose value from MSRP when you drive it off the lot.
Featured image by GM.
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