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My pet peeve right now is GM's (seeming) lack of honesty about car sales. It's like they aren't even trying with the Bolt! Kinda like they didn't try with the EV1 20 years ago. No advertising, the Bolt isn't at even half of their dealerships and somehow they manage to sell around 20,000 a year. Imagine if they actually /marketed/ the car! Imagine if they actually /tried/ to sell it! A guy on facebook was saying he's Uber'ing with a Bolt and his passengers never heard of it and have all sorts of questions about it really being all electric.

It's funny to me that GM stopped the EV1 in 2001 citing no demand and technology not ready yet. It wasn't 3 years later Tesla picked up and ran with their first car. You mean to tell me Gorilla Motors couldn't put the effort into creating a car better than the upstart did? The only answer here is the GM didn't want to!

So here's another peeve... Ford said they were stopping sales of all cars except for Mustang. GM just followed suit a few weeks ago. Both say that Americans don't want sedans. Look at the table below... sure as heck looks like a lot of people are buying Toyotas and Honda /sedans/. #9 and #10 are the first Ford and Chevy cars. So here's were I'd love honesty... people don't want to buy /chevy/ cars.

Toy Camry 343,000
Hon Civiv 325,000
Toy Corola 303,000
Hon Accord 291,000
Nissan Sentra 213,000
Nissan Altima 209,000
Hyundai Elantra 201,000
Toy Tacoma 188,000
Ford Fusion 173,000
Chevy Malibu 144,000
Chevy Cruise 142,000
Tesla Model 3 139,000
Hyundai sonata 106,000
Chevy Colorado 104,000
Nissan Frontier 59,000

So let's talk about trucks... GM and Ford are giving up on cars and doubling down on trucks. Reminds me of GM giving up on EV1 and doubling down on Hummers 20 years ago. Now there's a new kid in the Truck market called Rivian who's about to release a truck with 800hp, 10300ft/lbs, 5 ton tow capacity and 300 mile range for $61,000. Most of the guys here at work spend >$50,000 on a truck, one has a platinum Ford for $73,000. Guess what's about to happen? Rivian is going to take Ford and GM's lunch money faster than a 4th grade bully on the playground.

I'm guessing that the buggy whip companies who went out of business in the early 1900's also claimed people just didn't want buggy whips any longer.
 

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No argument about GM's honesty. In addition to a basic lack of honesty is their challenge in dealing with an economy that's on the brink of recession. Being an international company, they are additionally stymied by a trade policy that seems to change by the day. They are doing what a lot of Americans are doing - battening down the hatches in order to weather the upcoming storm. I only hope the Bolt survives...
 

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No argument about GM's honesty. In addition to a basic lack of honesty is their challenge in dealing with an economy that's on the brink of recession. Being an international company, they are additionally stymied by a trade policy that seems to change by the day. They are doing what a lot of Americans are doing - battening down the hatches in order to weather the upcoming storm. I only hope the Bolt survives...

If the Bolt does not survive, many other (better?) options are NOW in production. Some with 300 mile range and some with 150 kW (rather than the Bolt's 50 kW maximum) charging capability are here! Some have 4 motors, rather than one. We are promised that, in the near future, both EVSE of providing 350 kW and EVs capable of accepting 350 kW will be available (become the norm?)! EVs with AI, 6-8 LIDAR arrays and a 2.5 teraflop processor are on the drawing boards. Prices are falling as Li-ion battery prices drop. Other types of power sources (graphene batteries, supercapacitors) are in the works. As soon as the Bolt EV was developed and sold, it began the road to obsolescence. It IS the EV of the present, but not of the future.
 

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Oh, come on. The Bolt is unattractive, doesn't have great range at the speeds people like to drive at (=>75MPH), and is expensive. GM is tied down by battery technology. It's the automotive equivalent of the Canon D30 DSLR which sold for $3000 back in 2000 with a whopping 3 megapixels. Yes, it offered an advantage over film for certain applications but was mostly a curiosity in the film world. Putting Tesla aside, EVs are best for super commuters and people who just like new technology. For the average person the advantages are not advantages---just as if you only shot 6-12 rolls of film a year, spending $8,000 for a Canon 1Ds DSLR in 2001 didn't make any sense.
 

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Well, if we're going to take the history of digital cameras as prognostication on EVs, we should all be quite delighted as we see IC vehicles supplanted by something better.

That said, GM's challenge is to not be Kodak. Parts of the company seem to get it, of course, while other parts don't.

Many years ago I worked on a project to retrofit Bear pollution inspection stations with digital cameras, so that Pennsylvania's regulators could randomly check that the car that was claimed to be attached to a pollution inspection station actually was that car (inspections had problems with "clean cars" available for a bribe to customers of shops providing pollution inspections). I worked with guy at Kodak who totally understood the handwriting on the wall, was urgently trying to steer the company to digital photography but was working against a powerful current of inertia, complacency etc. Even though I got total support from this fellow (lots of free sample cameras, access to proprietary API for talking to Kodak's digital camera offerings and some other hard lifts) and their few DC offerings were decently suited for the job, we ended up not using Kodak equipment because it was clear this guy was a fluke and we wouldn't be able to depend on Kodak at large.

That's probably the picture at GM today. A horrific legacy burden.
 

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A problem central to GM's seeming ambivalence towards their Bolt EV, as well as their disastrous conclusion to the EV1 experiment of the late '90s, is the makeup of their corporate Board. Approximately 35% of its stakeholders are oil or oil-related entities. So while Mary Barra wants an all-electric future for GM, the Board of Directors (whose job it is to give the CEO her marching orders) is reluctant to embrace the shift in technology that will damage the cash flow of those oil interests. It's one of the hazards of being a publicly traded company.
 

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A problem central to GM's seeming ambivalence towards their Bolt EV, as well as their disastrous conclusion to the EV1 experiment of the late '90s, is the makeup of their corporate Board. Approximately 35% of its stakeholders are oil or oil-related entities. So while Mary Barra wants an all-electric future for GM, the Board of Directors (whose job it is to give the CEO her marching orders) is reluctant to embrace the shift in technology that will damage the cash flow of those oil interests. It's one of the hazards of being a publicly traded company.
GM is committing billions of dollars to EV development.

Billions.

I’m sure the GM Board is aware of these expenditures.
 

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We know why the EV1 was built in the first place, to fulfill legal requirements for clean vehicles. We also know why they were crushed; because after fulfilling the requirement, that was the least expensive thing to do. The EV1 was never a viable product, and were being leased at massive loss.

Similarly, the Bolt might break even at best as far as profitability. GM built and sold as many as they wanted. Advertising is a waste of money when you plan to limit the amount you sell.

You mention Tesla picking up where the EV1 left off, but Tesla isn't profitable yet, and it's still unclear if it will succeed. GM's long term viability doesn't depend on them selling lots of EVs now, or even in the next few years. EVs will probably not be the dominant vehicle for another 15 years or more.

A better list to look at is the top selling vehicles in the US, not just sedans:

1. Ford F-Series - 909,330
2. Chevrolet Silverado - 585,581
3. Dodge Ram - 536,980
4. Toyota Rav4 - 427,170
5. Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport - 412,110
6. Honda CR-V - 397,013
7. Toyota Camry - 343,439
8. Chevrolet Equinox - 332,618
9. Honda Civic - 325,760
10. Toyota Corolla - 303,732

So sedans don't even show up until #7 , with the top 3 being pickups. Japan has been dominant in the sedan market since what, the 80's? It makes sense to focus on the thing you do best when that happens to also be the highest selling segment, and the most profitable.

GM can make EVs in volume when it becomes the profitable thing to do.

Rivian probably stands less chance of surviving than Tesla, and if they do survive, EV's are optimistically 15 years from being dominant.
 

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The Bolt is unattractive, doesn't have great range at the speeds people like to drive at (=>75MPH), and is expensive.
Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder. I like the way the Bolt looks. It looks like a “hot hatch”, it's easy to mistake it for a Honda Fit. It doesn't look like an “eco-mobile” (first gen Leaf, first gen Insight, etc.). It also doesn't scream “I'm a rich entitled douche”, like a Hummer did at one point and arguably a Tesla Model X does today.

State and federal credits drop the price of the Bolt by about $10,000 in many parts of the country, and dealer discounts take off more (I got $3500 off back in 2017). So, that works out at being $36,620 − $10,000 − $3500. That puts it in a very similar price range to the Golf TDI it supplanted.

Regarding range, the Bolt is still better than cars that have come out in subsequent years. The Leaf and e-Golf still trail the Bolt, and iPace doesn't beat the Bolt, and it looks like the eTron won't either. The new Kia Soul won't beat it apparently, and the e-Niro will be essentially identical. The Kona will be a few percent better. So maybe you can be down on the whole field of EVs, but from a comparative standpoint, the Bolt is doing great range-wise.
 

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Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder. I like the way the Bolt looks. It looks like a “hot hatch”, it's easy to mistake it for a Honda Fit. It doesn't look like an “eco-mobile” (first gen Leaf, first gen Insight, etc.). It also doesn't scream “I'm a rich entitled douche”, like a Hummer did at one point and arguably a Tesla Model X does today.
Had a laugh last week when one of the guys I just played golf with saw my Bolt while I was putting my clubs away.

"Hey, I bet that car gets great gas mileage" as he was putting his clubs in his pickup.

My answer, "Why yes, as it doesn't use gas at all." That got his attention. He did a double take at that point and actually gave the car a hard look, then asked "is it electric, fully electric?"
 

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We know why the EV1 was built in the first place, to fulfill legal requirements for clean vehicles. We also know why they were crushed; because after fulfilling the requirement, that was the least expensive thing to do. The EV1 was never a viable product, and were being leased at massive loss.

Similarly, the Bolt might break even at best as far as profitability. GM built and sold as many as they wanted. Advertising is a waste of money when you plan to limit the amount you sell.

You mention Tesla picking up where the EV1 left off, but Tesla isn't profitable yet, and it's still unclear if it will succeed. GM's long term viability doesn't depend on them selling lots of EVs now, or even in the next few years. EVs will probably not be the dominant vehicle for another 15 years or more.

A better list to look at is the top selling vehicles in the US, not just sedans:

1. Ford F-Series - 909,330
2. Chevrolet Silverado - 585,581
3. Dodge Ram - 536,980
4. Toyota Rav4 - 427,170
5. Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport - 412,110
6. Honda CR-V - 397,013
7. Toyota Camry - 343,439
8. Chevrolet Equinox - 332,618
9. Honda Civic - 325,760
10. Toyota Corolla - 303,732

So sedans don't even show up until #7 , with the top 3 being pickups. Japan has been dominant in the sedan market since what, the 80's? It makes sense to focus on the thing you do best when that happens to also be the highest selling segment, and the most profitable.

GM can make EVs in volume when it becomes the profitable thing to do.

Rivian probably stands less chance of surviving than Tesla, and if they do survive, EV's are optimistically 15 years from being dominant.
There's no question that the truck/SUV market is hot in the US right now. But could your chart be somewhat misleading to the point you were trying to make? When divided by specific models vs the market segment? What if there are only a dozen different truck models and/or SUV's available whereas there might be 2 dozen sedan models. The segment is split among more models therefore the total numbers of sedans sold might be more than trucks but since they are barely in the top 10, you might think they are a small percentage of the totals.
After I wrote this, I thought I would see if there might be any weight to that theory and finding a breakdown to support/dispel wasn't easy. The best I could find was a 2016 article with a percentage breakdown based on models as follows:

"According to Ford, full-size pickups now make up about 13 percent of sales in the industry, while SUVs make up about a third. By 2020, the automaker estimates that SUVs could make up about 40 percent of the market, thanks to increased fuel economy and smaller body types. This means that trucks and SUVs could make up the majority of new-auto sales by the end of the decade.
Does this portend the end of the four-door sedan? Don’t bet on it. It’s still a significant slice of the market, said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
“From a volume perspective, there are still plenty of sedans being sold,” said Gutierrez, noting that small and midsize cars still represent about 28 percent of the car market. "But we're approaching a saturation point,” he added."

https://www.ibtimes.com/car-sales-plunged-2015-americans-piled-trucks-suvs-2250094
So in 2016, sedans as a model sold twice as many units as pick-ups if I'm reading this correctly. Now that is certainly dated info and no longer applicable but sedans may still outsell trucks for the time being. SUV's on the other hand will probably double sedan sales in the next few years based on trends.
Unless gas prices rise significantly, this trend will probably continue at least here in the U.S.
 

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There's no question that the truck/SUV market is hot in the US right now. But could your chart be somewhat misleading to the point you were trying to make? When divided by specific models vs the market segment? What if there are only a dozen different truck models and/or SUV's available whereas there might be 2 dozen sedan models. The segment is split among more models therefore the total numbers of sedans sold might be more than trucks but since they are barely in the top 10, you might think they are a small percentage of the totals.
After I wrote this, I thought I would see if there might be any weight to that theory and finding a breakdown to support/dispel wasn't easy. The best I could find was a 2016 article [...]
FWIW, I think the analysis you're looking for has already been done (for 2017) and posted to Reddit. (And here's the base data).
 

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I love when marketers take away a product and then claim the resulting increase in demand for remaining products is due to "consumer demand."

Customers don't know what they want. Dogs eat what's in their dishes. The lack of esteem for customers by marketers is quite astounding, only exceeded by our willingness to obediently wag our tails on cue.

Ask yourself: what customers demanded that Audio commit the atrocity of their current grill scheme? Were letters demanding hypertrophied grills arriving at Audi? Were dealers confronted with customers who'd buy, "if only the grill was really huge?" For pickup trucks, what customers insisted that "really angry, possibly with an endocrine pathology" was the desired aesthetic?
 

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I think GM is investing lots of time and treasure in EVs. They also are making other vehicles that are more profitable and have more demand. They are positioned well for when EVs take off....seems like a good strategy to me
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FWIW, I think the analysis you're looking for has already been done (for 2017) and posted to Reddit. (And here's the base data).
Thank you for this data.... I couldn't find it all in one spot.


Kind Total Percent
SUV 7,326,399 42.6%
Car 6,125,044 35.6%
Truck 2,822,838 16.4%
Van 934,467 5.4%

So, SUV's do sell more than cars... but I still stand by my assertion.. GM and Ford aren't making cars people want to buy and are instead saying "people don't want to buy cars".... when they should be asking "why don't people want to buy ford and chevy cars". So they retreat to big gas guzzlers (low hanging fruit) and do a half azz job of marketing an EV car (twice). I love my little Bolt... and it let's me know that GM could knock a home run if they wanted to. I question their desire.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think GM is investing lots of time and treasure in EVs. They also are making other vehicles that are more profitable and have more demand. They are positioned well for when EVs take off....seems like a good strategy to me
I hope you are right.... but I see past "efforts" and doubt. This really seems a case of the tortoise and the hare.... GM could win the race if they'd quit stopping and put in effort for the long haul. Why don't they advertise this fantastic little car? They certainly beat Tesla to market on the affordable EV for the masses! But they didn't push it out in the spotlight and now Tesla is eating their lunch.
 
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