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The specifics of his financing deal doesn't change anything as to what caused the Bolt to be totaled.
Exactly the point here. The car was totaled.
Once it is a brick, or a smoldering pile, GM does not want it. Insurance covers the loss. And it did.

We're staying off the main road. Bad financing did not cause the incident.
Nope, we are on the course.
Bad financing put him into this position. The accident was caused by a fault, correct, but that would have to go through a court, to prove GM is at fault.

GM can repurchase the car as long as it is still a car... not leftovers.
 
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Let's take a step back here.

The story is skewed here.
It implies that GM is responsible for it.

There is no GM fault in here. The article is putting a wrong perspective.
Actually, it is mixed fault, not exclusively the fault of one or the other.

GM(/LG) is at fault for the battery fire (assuming it is not due to damage, like the Tesla with the firearm discharged into the battery from the inside).

However, the $12k problem is at least partly the customer's own making, by taking a loan that was almost certainly higher than the actual value of the car, and not getting gap insurance that would be indicated for that situation.

Most here would say that GM should cover at least a buyback amount for customers whose cars actually caught on fire due to the battery problem (or at least top-up above the insurance covered amount). However, even if GM topped up to the entire net price that the customer paid (after discounts, rebates, and the tax credit at the time) without any mileage/use deduction, it is likely that the customer would still be in a several thousand dollar hole of his own making. The customer might break even if GM topped up to the price paid excluding the tax credit, though.

In late 2018 or early 2019, a Bolt LT had an MSRP of about $37.5-$40k. Old threads suggest $4k-$9k discounting at the time; let's say around $6k discount for a price paid of $31.5k-$34k. After the $7.5k tax credit then in effect, the net price and actual value was around $24k-$26.5k. Yet the customer had a loan balance of about $33k after a year and a half.
 

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To add to that thought, who would buy a $40k new vehicle and stretch their finances so thin that being reimbursed at less than that value when taking a loss creates financial hardship? Perhaps Covid caused job loss or something, but it still seems likely a series of poor financial decisions were made.
On another car forum that I read more of some years back, negative equity situations (often increased by rolling negative equity into a new car loan on a heavily discounted vehicle with the loan close to the MSRP) were common. Lots of people are not very careful with their personal finances.

That doesn't absolve GM/LG from liability if the fire was due to a defect in manufacturing, but the person shouldn't have created a situation in which an emergency arose from a loss of their vehicle.
Agreed.
 

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Here's the practical point: the fires and GM's reaction to them have basically poisoned the Bolt brand. People buying a new one now will find the car depreciating by half the moment it leaves the lot, even though the 2020 and newer models probably don't have the fire problem, and those of us with older ones will have to pay somebody to take it away if we don't want it any more, even if it's working. GM has left the building. Many lawsuits will result. Several class actions have already been filed, and GM is trying to get them consolidated in its hometown federal court in Eastern Michigan.

The problem with class actions, of course, is that the lawyers will get their fees, the participants have to cover the costs, and the class members will get a gift certificate for a water bottle, once it's settled. Even the best collection of class action attorneys stands little chance against GM's legal dept. Still, this is clearly a case where individual efforts are useless - you need a lawyer to advise and act for you in an appropriate venue.

Unfortunately, there isn't really an equivalent EV. A Leaf is significantly worse overall. A Kona is significantly more expensive in the real world, less useful (basically a 2-passenger car), and has its own battery fire issues (though Hyundai/LG is actually replacing batteries to fix it). If I have to give up the Bolt (or it burns out from under me), I'll probably buy a hybrid Toyota or Ford.

Is Ralph Nader still in business?
 

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Here's the practical point: the fires and GM's reaction to them have basically poisoned the Bolt brand.
I don't actually think that is the case. I mean, for some people, sure. But I don't think so for a lot of people.
For one, people are pretty forgiving in these types of situations if they also like the vehicle...
And, the buying public has a very short memory.

Even the comments and polls on Bolt forums and Facebook pages show many Bolt owners more than happy to wait for a battery replacement.

I'm not saying GM couldn't cross that line...
I just don't think it has happened yet...
 

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Wouldn't the real solution here be for GM to give the guy a new car?
No. This situation is not unique. It’s just getting attention here because it’s another convenient way to paint GM in a bad light over this battery-fire fiasco.

The only “real solution” here is to mandate gap insurance on stupid car deals ... just like PMI exists (and is required to be paid) for stupid house deals.
 

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No. This situation is not unique. It’s just getting attention here because it’s another convenient way to paint GM in a bad light over this battery-fire fiasco.

The only “real solution” here is to mandate gap insurance on stupid car deals ... just like PMI exists for stupid house deals.
I'm sure GM would go back in time and toss $12k at the guy (or got him into a new Bolt) instead of what ended up happening (story being written up about the owner's situation).

The owner, through no fault of his own (again, financing had nothing to do with his Bolt catching fire), had his Bolt go up in flames. A Bolt that ended up being one of at least a dozen to catch fire due to a confirmed battery defect. A battery defect GM confirmed itself after inspecting his Bolt.

Other owners (like myself) either got out Bolts repurchased at prices waaay above what our Bolts are currently worth on the open market OR we were able to swap into brand new Bolts for little or no money out of pocket. The only difference between the successful buyback cases and Scott? Our Bolts did not catch fire while his did. If his Bolt had not caught fire, he likely could have ended up with a sweet buyback deal like probably hundreds of other Bolt owners.

Did he set fire to his Bolt? Did he wreck it and it then caught on fire? No, he did nothing wrong WRT the fire. He was just one of the fraction of a percent of owners to have their Bolts self-immolate.

Again, his financing deal had NOTHING to do with the fire. He should have purchased GAP insurance in hindsight, but that doesn't change the fact he himself did nothing to cause his Bolt to burn.
 

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Again, his financing deal had NOTHING to do with the fire. He should have purchased GAP insurance in hindsight, but that doesn't change the fact he himself did nothing to cause his Bolt to burn.
Yes, but the question isn't whether or not he did anything to cause his Bolt to burn.
The question is around the "gap" that was left, which looks to have a lot to do with the financing deal.
From the article:
"After getting the payout from the insurance company, Scott still had $12,000 still owing on the debt. "

Now, do I think GM should have done more? Yep.
Do I think they should have done more as part of the warranty? Technically, possibly not. I think GM is responsible for this, but not necessarily as part of the warranty. It is possible the wording in the warranty does exclude fire damage or things like that. But that doesn't mean GM isn't still responsible. It just means it isn't part of the warranty...

These things happen, regardless of battery fires, with car companies (and other businesses).
It would be great if he didn't have to sue.
But this is one of the reasons we have lawyers.
I really think he needs to talk to an attorney. Not all attorneys are that expensive. Not all cases end up going all the way to court. Frequently businesses refuse customers for things they know they would lose if it got to court, because they also know many people won't push back.
It's not great, and I wish GM hadn't done that, but it's not something just GM does...
He needs to talk to an attorney...
The fact is, even if he had gap insurance, I still think he should talk to an attorney if GM wasn't offering him a replacement car... Especially with the fires that have happened since. I'm sure some attorneys would love to talk to him.
 

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Yes, but the question isn't whether or not he did anything to cause his Bolt to burn.
The question is around the "gap" that was left, which looks to have a lot to do with the financing deal.
From the article:
"After getting the payout from the insurance company, Scott still had $12,000 still owing on the debt. "

Now, do I think GM should have done more? Yep.
Do I think they should have done more as part of the warranty? Technically, possibly not. I think GM is responsible for this, but not necessarily as part of the warranty. It is possible the wording in the warranty does exclude fire damage or things like that. But that doesn't mean GM isn't still responsible. It just means it isn't part of the warranty...

These things happen, regardless of battery fires, with car companies (and other businesses).
It would be great if he didn't have to sue.
But this is one of the reasons we have lawyers.
I really think he needs to talk to an attorney. Not all attorneys are that expensive. Not all cases end up going all the way to court. Frequently businesses refuse customers for things they know they would lose if it got to court, because they also know many people won't push back.
It's not great, and I wish GM hadn't done that, but it's not something just GM does...
He needs to talk to an attorney...
The fact is, even if he had gap insurance, I still think he should talk to an attorney if GM wasn't offering him a replacement car... Especially with the fires that have happened since. I'm sure some attorneys would love to talk to him.
Based off reports I've read about the more recent fires that happened post initial recall, seems GM has been telling those owners to pound sand just like Scott. Hopefully those other owners at least had GAP coverage.
 

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Based off reports I've read about the more recent fires that happened post initial recall, seems GM has been telling those owners to pound sand just like Scott. Hopefully those other owners at least had GAP coverage.
I think they are treading lightly around this, probably because they are afraid of "setting a precedent" with what they do, until they know how they want to handle this.
I think they might be delaying their specific responses to these situations until they have a handle on the larger response.

I am not defending GM.
I think they could do a lot better. I think that's a mistake, if that is what they are doing.

I just think that it is pretty comparable to what most large companies would do...

I am very interested to see what their global reply will be to the new fires.
Not the temporary "don't park in your garage" one, that was also totally expected. But what are they going to do officially now.
I know people are screaming that they are going to have to replace all the batteries/cars...
But I wouldn't bet on that yet...
And that has nothing to do with GM specifically. If it were Ford, Toyota, etc... I'd still be wary...
 

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GM is basically saying that the 2nd software update is the final fix, and that there's no problem now. So if you have a fire anyway, tough luck, and good luck suing us (we have more and better lawyers than most of you who bought a Bolt because it was a relatively cheap way to get into good EVs).

I haven't found the GM pronouncement about "don't park in your garage" since the 2nd fix. I did find the NHTSA statement. NHTSA does not speak for GM, and until there's some sort of formal decision about further recall the NHTSA statement doesn't require anything.

As for the guy with a big loan and no more car for it - yes, sucks to be him. It's not unusual. Most car loans, especially on new cars, are underwater for at least the first couple of years - the car depreciates much faster than the loan gets paid down, at first. That's why Gap coverage exists. Your car can be destroyed in any number of ways - fire, flood, collision, whatever. If the insurance payoff (based on some measure of market value as a used car) isn't enough to pay off the loan, well, tough luck. In this case, dumping on GM is an obvious thing to do, but ultimately unless the guy and his insurance can recover more, by suing GM, than what the car was actually worth as a used car, he's still responsible for the unpaid balance. That's why lawyers exist.

Underwater can even happen when buying a used car on conservative terms: when I bought my Bolt, I made almost a 50% down payment. Great. No way that'll go underwater! Except that between market conditions and the fires recall, the value of my Bolt (KBB) dropped to half what I paid for it after about 6 months. Which did put me slightly underwater. Luckily, it hasn't burned or been wrecked, I paid down the loan some and refinanced at a much lower interest rate (still making the same payments in order to pay it off faster), and the current car-pricing panic has pushed the value back up some (we'll see how long the market stays crazy and whether and how much the continuing fire issues affect the value). So the loan balance is again within the likely payoff amount if the car is destroyed.
 

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GM is basically saying that the 2nd software update is the final fix, and that there's no problem now.
I don't know if GM has said either. "Final" fix I think is something users say, and may change if there are further updates. It may turn out the fix provides more detailed diagnostics which might lead to even better understanding of the problem? Time will tell.
 

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I don't know if GM has said either. "Final" fix I think is something users say, and may change if there are further updates. It may turn out the fix provides more detailed diagnostics which might lead to even better understanding of the problem? Time will tell.
Final fix is what GM told the NHTSA to get the stop sale order and safety recall closed. You can read the specific wording in the NHTSA notice.

GM did not tell the NHTSA "the car now honks when it is on fire, and we can collect data. It's good to go!" They said "with this fix, the car can be used safely."
 

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Final fix is what GM told the NHTSA to get the stop sale order and safety recall closed. You can read the specific wording in the NHTSA notice.
Do you have a link to that handy? I'm checking now to find it, but haven't yet.
Thanx!
 

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I didn't keep the link but it was in a cwerdna post
Found it:
Dealers will be notified on November 13, 2020. GM will notify customers pursuant to the customer notification strategy that GM reviewed with NHTSA on November 12, 2020. Owner notifications of the final remedy are estimated to occur in two phases; the first on May 13, 2021 to address 2019 model year vehicles and the second on May 31, 2021 to address remaining vehicles. The final remedy will be executed under bulletin N202311731. Until the final remedy is available, an interim remedy is executed under bulletin N202311730.

Looks like they used the term "Final remedy" when talking about rolling it out. This was a statement made before they released it.
My guess is they thought it was going to be final. That didn't work out.
<sigh>
 
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