You have to put yourself in GM's shoes. They have buildings full of extremely smart people that have orchestrated the bolt roll-out with one singular purpose. Profit. They've brought back a bankrupt company in 6 years now selling 10 million cars/year with over $9 billion in profit. That's not by luck. Even though it's rumored and probably true that they loose as much as $9k/bolt, they get more than that back by using the ZEV credits the bolt affords them to continue to sell Silverados and Suburbans. That's where the real profit is. However, they only need to sell around 20k bolts/year IIRC to earn enough credits to stay on track with truck/suv sales. Anything more than that, they can sell to other automakers but at a fraction of their value (Tesla has shown this to be the case as they don't even line item the ZEV credit sales in their financials). So basically, there is a point of diminishing returns with the sale of the bolt. Now if they can get their battery costs down and oil/gas subsidies disappear, they might be able to turn a profit on the bolt and I assure you, if they could make money selling more than 30k a year, they would try like ****.the lack of advertising for this car is what really bugs me.
c'mon Marry Barra, a super bowl 30 second commercial would have been nice....just show the car with a family in it, show the name of the car, show the instrument panel that shows 240miles left, and then showing the mom plug it in when they get home.
now words, just music and logo at the end. done.
I agree on the dealer issue, but I'm not sure this is viable yet. They are aiming at the mass market, and if they sell something like 60,000 to 100,000 Volts and Bolt EVs this year, that's an awfully thin volume to spread around the cost of a brand new dealer network.IMO and I've said this before, GM should set up a new stand alone brand, maybe something new, or maybe resurrect the Saturn brand to sell just their plug ins. These should be stand alone dealerships with only plug in product for sale. They should copy the Tesla model and put them in malls at first.
The dealers I have spoken to are all willing to order a Bolt exact to your spec just like Tesla. The difference is, you'll have to wait for it and you'll likely pay MSRP for it at this point. In contrast, I'm not so sure how easy it is for someone who isn't picky to walk in and just drive off the lot in a Tesla. I don't really know what kind of unsold inventory they have standing by.It's easier for Tesla since everything is ordered online to your specification and I do admit that their design is more sleek. Chevy dealerships have limited stock and they'll do their best to find one that fits your cafeterias but that's not always going to happen. That's too bad as it could drive away some customers.
Those things are not differences, Tesla does exactly the same - you need to wait, and you likely pay MSRP.The dealers I have spoken to are all willing to order a Bolt exact to your spec just like Tesla. The difference is, you'll have to wait for it and you'll likely pay MSRP for it at this point.
Just saw a full, double-page spread for the Bolt in today's (San Jose) newspaper. They are advertizing.A country-wide commercial would have been a waste of money when it is only available in a few states.
Targeted marketing in the key markets would make much more sense (and which I have seen here in CA).
I agree with much of what you said about Tesla, but I think you underestimate the sex appeal of the Tesla and a new company with a very charismatic leader that makes himself very visible. He speaks only of the future and paints a bright picture full of possibilities. His companies accomplishments have been impressive. He has survived when everyone bet on him failing.One of my favorite topics, Tesla. So I live outside, way outside, the Washington DC area, but commute in everyday to Northern Virginia. Being the Capitol city, there are plenty of environmental-leaning buyers for an EV. The Bolt has just showed up in the last few weeks here. I test drove one on Wednesday this week at Ted Britt Chevrolet in Sterling, Virginia. The salesman said they were the 3rd largest Volt-selling dealership in the country. That's means they'll get a lot of Bolts to sell too. They had 10 or so Volts on the lot. Two years ago when I was close to buying a Volt they had two, and the buying experience was similar to that of the Forbes article. You see an occasional Tesla S. I've yet to see a Model X. I've seen more Volts (Gen 1) than Teslas. There is no lack of money in the DC 'burbs.
I've been to the Tesla "dealership" in the Tyson's Corner Mall, a store set up better to sell shoes rather than automobiles, so talk about an unusual buying experience. The Tesla salesman I spoke with at the mall said they had cars to test drive somewhere outside of the mall and we could go for a test drive, but it just seemed way too much a pain in the ass to leave the storefront in the mall, on the second floor and nowhere near an exit; I passed. The Tesla mall store did have (still does I think) a very cool raw chassis to examine. Seriously technical stuff for a manufacturing engineer like me to absorb (I see why the S is so expensive). Most folks are interested in the interior and the "save the planet" stuff, so I'm not sure how effective having a bare chassis sitting in a store in the mall would help sell Teslas.
My Wednesday visit to Ted Britt Chevrolet was a brief test drive with an already sold Bolt and a young kid, Scott, with very bad teeth. The buyer was Enterprise, so the salesman said "it was okay to put a few miles on it." The Bolt I drove was a Premier with 3 miles on it. I drove it about 3 miles round the neighborhood and on Route 7 for a few blocks. Ted Britt has had at least 4 sales people contact me (I did the internet inquiry thing), all at different times, and had moved the test drive time several times. Scott the salesman from Wednesday, basically stole my interest from Alexandria, who had first contacted me, to get me in on Wednesday and drive a Bolt that really wasn't for sale nor available to be test driven; a waste of my time. Dan, the Ted Britt sales manager sent me an email yesterday letting me know they had a slot open on Friday for a test drive. I replied that too many people had been contacting me and was making it confusing. Alexandria sent an email confirming my 3:05 PM test drive slot for Friday 3/3/17; I received that e-mail sometime after 2 AM this morning (Saturday...). So my initial experience has been lacking.
But back to the Tesla 3. Tesla will not have the Model 3 ready for sale in December of 2017. Tesla has been years off in its prediction of when its cars will go into full-rate production and has not been close to selling cars at the in-advanced announces MSRP. The Model X was supposed to retail in the high $50K's, it's not even close to that. The Model 3 to sell at $35K, I hardly believe that. As far as a professional car manufacturer, Tesla is a noobe. Missing production dates costs money, all of which increases the sales price. GM over 20 months ago announced its production dates and sales dates, and it has met both, and has kept to its MSRP. Tesla will do none of this. That may work fine in the cell phone industry, but these are expensive automobiles, not phones. New aps only can do so much to make an automotive product more desirable. The article goes back to the internet hype of the 400,000 "pre-orders", which were really just a crowd-funding exercise for Musk and gives the person who loaned Musk $1,000 just a slot in the production schedule. The person can back out at any time. It will take years for Tesla to fill all those 400,000 "orders". Musk touts the NUMI plant is capable of building 500,000 cars a year, but that was GM/Toyota building one car model with different trims (Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix); not building three different cars, with one being on a completely different chassis (Model 3). The Model 3 has to be a different lower-cost chassis than the Model S and Model X, or Tesla will never be able to produce it at a profit with a $45K expected average transaction price. Using the same factory to build to completely different chassis is a tall order. But then again Space X can get a rocket to return to Earth from space and land upright on a pad, so Musk's engineering prowess is not without merit.
I think GM has a huge lead on Tesla with the Bolt. As more Bolts get out in owners hands, the market for them will improve. Nothing sells a car better than the neighbor giving test drives in his.
My 2 cents