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Reminds me of apartment rental agreements where, if the apartment burns down, you still have to pay rent (these kinds of conditions are common in Maryland).
 

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Sean

Thanks for covering this. It sure seems reprehensible that GM is not helping this guy more. Maybe visibility to his plight will up the pressure to do right by him.

The gap insurance is something I never saw much need for. Sure, there was a risk, but being a good driver reduces that risk considerable. I originally financed all but $3k when I bought my Bolt, knowing $12,500 in tax relief would come a year later ($7500 + $5K state). At that time, I refinanced with a credit union and applied the tax refunds to lower the new load amount. The CU includes gap insurance as a standard practice, you have to beg them to remove it, so I took it. I am glad I did, with stories like this, I like the peace of mind.

I hope your story does two things, if so it will be a major service to consumers. First, it highlights the reasons to seriously consider gap insurance, particularly for new tech products like EVs. Second, if it influences GM to go a few extra steps to do right by those of us who took a gamble on their experiment with BEVs, an amicable solution may be more likely.
 

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Wow! If we needed an excuse to take whatever they offer, and buy a Tesla, this is certainly it. How about this for a vanity plate

GM SUKZ
 

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It looks to me like GM is prepared for a much bigger lawsuit over this than the value of the car. The thing to remember is that GM could pay for or give the customer a new car, only to be sued afterwards anyway. They are probably suggesting to the guy that he get an attorney so he can actually get what he deserves, which makes a simple replacement of the car look like nothing.

You can’t read into it what you are. GM is liable for this and they know it. Also, until an actual suit is brought, no one can anticipate the response from GM.

Expecting the potential for a multi-million lawsuit would tie their hands until they find out what the plaintiff wants. If it is just a vehicle, reasonable attorney fees, and a little something to address the pain and suffering from the whole traumatic experience, GM would probably just make a counter offer or even settle for what is being asked.

So what you are seeing from GM is a defensive posture. They are holed-up in the castle and waiting for the siege.
 

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It looks to me like GM is prepared for a much bigger lawsuit over this than the value of the car. The thing to remember is that GM could pay for or give the customer a new car, only to be sued afterwards anyway. They are probably suggesting to the guy that he get an attorney so he can actually get what he deserves, which makes a simple replacement of the car look like nothing.

You can’t read into it what you are. GM is liable for this and they know it. Also, until an actual suit is brought, no one can anticipate the response from GM.

Expecting the potential for a multi-million lawsuit would tie their hands until they find out what the plaintiff wants. If it is just a vehicle, reasonable attorney fees, and a little something to address the pain and suffering from the whole traumatic experience, GM would probably just make a counter offer or even settle for what is being asked.

So what you are seeing from GM is a defensive posture. They are holed-up in the castle and waiting for the siege.
Agreed, except that lawsuits are uncertain, and lawyer fees can get far more costly than the $12k hole he is already in. Corporations know this, and while they could be drawing a line in the sand to avoid setting precedent, they are equally likely to be banking on the uncertainty and cost being a deterrent to further costs.

Sadly, all this over peanuts to a corporation like GM.
 

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Wow! If we needed an excuse to take whatever they offer, and buy a Tesla, this is certainly it. How about this for a vanity plate
Why would I buy a Tesla? They're very expensive and the prices keep changing, usually upwards. At least the quality is slowly improving. IMO there are better cars, in different types, arriving right now and more in the near future. I hope you aren't one of those "All us EV owners are rich so just buy Tesla! All college kids are rich to afford it." Etc.
 

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Agreed, except that lawsuits are uncertain, and lawyer fees can get far more costly than the $12k hole he is already in. Corporations know this, and while they could be drawing a line in the sand to avoid setting precedent, they are equally likely to be banking on the uncertainty and cost being a deterrent to further costs.
Yes, but not all lawsuits result in a decision that GM would have to worry about.
A lot of lawsuits get settled with no finding of fault. Frequently, you sue just to get a better deal.
And that is something that might be worth having a lawyer look into... Court cases get expensive. But early settled cases, not necessarily...
 

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As part of my investigations, I've been talking with the owners of several previous Bolt fires. Here's the story from one of the first ones - and the first known one of ten suspected last year. He was a 2019 owner who had a fire June 29th, 2020.

GM leaves owner owing $12K after Bolt EV battery fire last year
In all fairness, it looks like the customer financed about $33k or more on a 2019 Bolt (LT based on the wheels and lack of roof rails) that probably had a net price (after discounts/rebates/etc.) much less than that. I.e. probably rolled a bunch of negative equity from a previous vehicle into the loan... this tends to end badly if the vehicle is a total loss for any reason (e.g. a crash) and there is no gap insurance on the loan.

However, the right thing for GM to do for those with verified battery fire incidents is to offer the same buyback and tradeup offers that others are getting for the risk of a fire, although the result still may not look that good for a customer with a lot of negative equity (because of the negative equity).
 

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The gap insurance is something I never saw much need for.
It would only be "necessary" if, during the life of the loan, the vehicle could be work significantly less than the loan balance (negative equity), and you could not cover that amount.

This is more likely if the car loan has a high loan to value ratio. Note that loan to actual value ratios are sometimes more than 100% if the loan is made up to an MSRP that is substantially higher than the actual selling price after discounts/rebates/etc.. A $33k remaining loan balance on a 2019 Bolt LT that probably sold for a lot less than that suggests that the customer was in substantial negative equity from the beginning of the loan, possibly due to financing negative equity from a previous vehicle into the loan.

If you only buy cars with no loan or a loan that will never have a balance higher than the value of the vehicle, then gap insurance is not really a concern for you.
 

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It would only be "necessary" if, during the life of the loan, the vehicle could be work significantly less than the loan balance (negative equity), and you could not cover that amount.

This is more likely if the car loan has a high loan to value ratio. Note that loan to actual value ratios are sometimes more than 100% if the loan is made up to an MSRP that is substantially higher than the actual selling price after discounts/rebates/etc.. A $33k remaining loan balance on a 2019 Bolt LT that probably sold for a lot less than that suggests that the customer was in substantial negative equity from the beginning of the loan, possibly due to financing negative equity from a previous vehicle into the loan.

If you only buy cars with no loan or a loan that will never have a balance higher than the value of the vehicle, then gap insurance is not really a concern for you.
Sounds like private mortgage insurance for mortgages where less than 20% is provided as a down payment.
 

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In all fairness, it looks like the customer financed about $33k or more on a 2019 Bolt (LT based on the wheels and lack of roof rails) that probably had a net price (after discounts/rebates/etc.) much less than that. I.e. probably rolled a bunch of negative equity from a previous vehicle into the loan... this tends to end badly if the vehicle is a total loss for any reason (e.g. a crash) and there is no gap insurance on the loan.

However, the right thing for GM to do for those with verified battery fire incidents is to offer the same buyback and tradeup offers that others are getting for the risk of a fire, although the result still may not look that good for a customer with a lot of negative equity (because of the negative equity).
I did a sorta dumb thing and traded in my 2017 Bolt for a 2019 and rolled in about $6k of negative equity into the '19 ( I recouped some of that via tax credits, but still not all of it). I did buy GAP insurance fwiw because I knew I was waaaaay underwater. The MSRP buyback is basically letting me wipe out that mistake (neg equity) and then some.

It really sucks how Scott is being treated by GM. It's one thing if he wrecked his Bolt and it got totaled. That would be all on him for not getting GAP insurance. But his Bolt burned to a crisp due to a manufacturer defect that other people (like myself) are getting sweet buyback/swap deals on. Meanwhile, he's left holding a $12k bag.
 

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Agreed, except that lawsuits are uncertain, and lawyer fees can get far more costly than the $12k hole he is already in. Corporations know this, and while they could be drawing a line in the sand to avoid setting precedent, they are equally likely to be banking on the uncertainty and cost being a deterrent to further costs.

Sadly, all this over peanuts to a corporation like GM.
The guy with the burned bolt doesn’t need to worry about attorney fees. It would be taken on contingency, and recouped when GM loses.

It’s way too soon to start passing judgment on what GM will or ought to do when they are in the middle of figuring out what to do, and have yet to make any announcements. Hit pieces aren’t going to guilt-trip them into not following their lawyers advice, and it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.
 

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Except that I personally don't like the Tesla models. (And I think they are great cars, just not my style!)

No amount of GM behavior changes that. ;-)
Yeah. We don't have any use for a big expensive car. That said, I had no use for GM for 55 years prior to buying the Bolt. Their treatment of this guy doesn't do anything to improve that opinion.
 

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We're only getting the owner's account of the incident 2nd-hand from the article, but if accurate it sounds pretty crappy.

Car loans use the car as collateral, so I'd just stop making payments and let them repossess the vehicle... of course I don't need credit for anything at the moment and would eventually fight the mark on my record. GM is clearly ultimately responsible here, unless the fire was determined to be caused by a cigarette or something.
 

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Sean, thank you for your continuing coverage of the Bolt Fires issue.....As others have pointed out, it is hard to come up with a non-negative reason for GM choosing not to offer Scott the same kind of buyback they are offering others (who did not have a fire.)....On a personal note, the idea of having to go "to war" with GM to try and get a buyback is not having a good influence on my view of GM these days. Maybe if GM eventually does the right thing, eventually my opinion will return to a more neutral view. The fact the the best projection I can imagine for my view of GM is neutral, is an indicator that the "minimum bid" of good transparency from GM is not happening, especially given how much time has gone by.
 

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They're very expensive and the prices keep changing, usually upwards.
Yes, they are expensive. And the prices keep changing. They have gone up some in the last few months, but up from historic lows. Overall, prices have generally gone down.

The Model 3 LR AWD was $54,000 at release. My 2020 Model 3 LR AWD was $48,990 in February 2020. In February 2021 it was $45,990. It is now back to $48,990, same as what I paid in early 2020.

A Model S with the 100 kWh pack was $96,500 in 2018. It is now $84,990.

A Model X with the 100 kWh pack was $99,500 in 2018. It is now $94,990.

All the above cars cost less than they did years ago and have more features and more range today.

The Model Y LR AWD started at $51,000 at release (2019) and dropped to $48,990 in February 2021. Right now it is actually more expensive than it was when it was originally released in 2019 ($52,990). This is the only car right now that costs more than it did a couple years ago.

My sources? My own pocketbook, Tesla's web site, and here: Tesla Car Specs

Sorry for the thread derailment.
 
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