Barra says GM to increase Bolt EV production

Discussion in 'General Motors' started by WadeTyhon, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I'd trust your memory for such details more than my own, Wade. Probably I read "later this year" (or words to that effect) and inferred model year 2019.

    Anyway, it wasn't my intention to dispute what you said, especially not on this subject!
  2. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    As long as we're on the subject: I found what InsideEVs news editor Jay Cole had to say about it, in a comment not all that long ago, was worth archiving:

    There is no battery supplier that will let a company make a set order, then guarantee 2X expansion of that order over the short term/‘just in time’ model if that OEM finds unexpected demand. Especially not LG Chem, who is first to market with inexpensive/2nd gen batteries and currently has ~21 different OEM contracts. They would of course say they will do their best to oblige as best they can, but that would be it... there is no leverage.​

    Jay Cole, comment at, May 30, 2017

    But then, Jay didn't specify what "short term" is in this context. Six months? A year? Two years?
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  3. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Thank you, having re-read this quote, I do wonder if he is referring to 'short term' just in the context of turnaround time... or if he is referring to 'short term' as in a period of time. Or maybe both! (Although my previous reading of this was purely as the lead up to an increase of production.)

    As in... they may be able to pull off a large increase in production in just 6 months so long as it is a sustained production could be guaranteed for 2 or 3 years.

    Or they could require a long lead time as well as a guarantee in production over an extended period of time.
  4. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    Could be right. The Beijing Autoshow is in April/May. Possibly we see a close to production concept revealed then. Though it would be make me sad, as it would probably mean the vehicle wasn’t intended for North America.
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  5. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Well, I imagine at least some small portion of this production increase is going to be Cruise vehicles. In addition to upgrading the facilities at Orion, GM will be updating it's facilities at GM's Brownstown Battery Assembly plant. Getting closer to that 2019 launch!

    "The largest U.S. automaker also said roof modules for GM’s self-driving vehicles will be assembled at its Brownstown Battery Assembly plant."
  6. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    They should make even better margin on these Cruise Bolts, considering they don't even need to have steering wheels. :D


    I kid.
    David Green likes this.
  7. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Good point! Think of the tens of dollars they could save!

    They probably got the idea to save money by removing the steering wheel from Ford. :)

    Ford probably should have included the autonomous tech before removing the steering wheel though.
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    All prototype self-driving cars are experimental, but some are more experimental than others. :D
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  9. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    GM has said they expect to make about $40k/car on autonomous cars as a service. Vs ~$4k/car profit they make selling cars to individuals. So yay, profit margin on the Cruise Bolt should be excellent.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  10. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Totally! Each individual one should be profitable over it's lifetime.

    But the program as a whole? Perhaps a little early to say for sure. I guess it really all depends on demand and acceptance from consumers. :)
  11. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Word is that GM is axing the Chevy Sonic this year due to it's low sales and razor thin margins. Dealers are practically giving away the car. In the second half of last year it was frequently being outsold by the Bolt and Spark.

    The Bolt and the Sonic are built at the same factory. Killing the Sonic will make room at Orion for more Bolt production, AV production, and the upcoming Buick EV production.

    While this is still just a rumor it makes sense. GM recently announced increased Bolt production is coming. Plus the Buick EV is an all but guarantee. The Cruise AV ride share program should launch next year as well. And GM recently committing $100m to upgrade the Orion plant for higher volume EV and AV production.

    So if the Sonic is sunset as rumored, the Orion plant will become GM's first EV-only production plant. :)
  12. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    I hadn’t thought of the fact that that would make Orion an all-electric vehicle assembly plant. That’s cool.

    According to their website the Orion plant has made 5.1 million cars over 32 years. So that’s an average of about 160,000 cars per year. That includes ramp ups and initial capacity, so I’m sure that it’s total output capacity, if running at peak, is much higher.

    Based on an Inside EVs report ( the Bolt line has a capacity of 90,000 cars per shift. There are at least two lines at Orion, I think, because they used to make the Buick Verano there too. So, 2 lines 90,000 per shift per line. So 2 shifts could crank out something like 360,000/yr.

    Now they just need to scale up battery production orders.
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  13. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    Here is her full speech to CERA. Pretty gutsy presentation to a room full of oil and gas execs.
  14. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Ford just announced they were killing every sedan in their lineup. The only "cars" remaining by next decade will be the Mustang and a crossover-ish version of the Focus. Naturally that means the Focus EV and Fusion Hybrid/Energi are dead.

    GM should think carefully before they kill the Impala and Sonic... a lot of sedan-buying customers are going to be left stranded by this decision by Ford. There is potential growth her for GM over the next few years.
  15. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    @WadeTyhon GM will still have plenty of sedans.
    Malibu, Cruze, and Spark. Along with Volt. (+Bolt as a small wagon).
    Regal, Lacrosse, cascada
    ATS, CTS, CT6
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  16. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Well, that sounds dramatic, but does that really indicate a fundamental shift?

    Seeing a compact hatchback (or maybe it's a compact liftback sedan) like the Jaguar I-Pace being labeled an "SUV" leads me to think that car makers aiming at the American market just want to re-label all their cars as SUVs because they sell better that way. Heck, I've even seen the Bolt EV labeled as a "compact CUV" or "compact SUV" in car review articles, despite it being (at least in my opinion) quite obviously a hatchback!

    The Jaguar I-Pace

    The I-Pace from a different angle
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  17. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Oh totally! And I in no way questioned their decision if they decided to kill the sonic. Sales have been dreadful compared to past years.

    I’m just saying the moves by Fiat and Ford might change the equation. Ford is letting go a lot of customers who strictly want an entry level sedan! Perhaps they should not be too hasty to drop either sedan if they can capture a significant number of Fusion, Fiesta or Focus (sedan) customers. The sonic is a good potential replacements for a former focus or fiesta driver in particular.

    Of course the Cruze could fit the bill as well. (The Spark is likely to appeal to different buyers though I think.)

    Yes, GM calls the Bolt a crossover purely for marketing reasons. The chevy trax is basically just a tall hatchback as well. Even more hilariously mis-categorized is the recent Meecedes ‘SUV’ EV concept.

    But a lot of sedan drivers specifically want a sedan. That Ipace totally looks like a hatchback or wagon. My wife likes the Volt and Model S and 3 specifically because of the sedan styling. If it existed, she would consider an EV Cruze... but not an EV Cruze hatchback.

    So keeping the Sonic around a bit longer might be a good idea for capturing more of those first time car buyers and sedan drivers that Ford is neglecting. Although Chevy would know better than I would if the numbers are worth chasing or if the Cruze, Volt and Malibu would be enough to capture that buyer. :)
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Seems to me the category of "station wagon" has become rather blurred, too. It used to be that many American cars were offered in both sedan and station wagon versions, with the front two-thirds of the station wagon being identical to the sedan version of the model, or at least appearing identical on the outside. The rear of the wagon extended quite far behind the rear wheels, like this:

    1985 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon

    But lately it seems so-called "station wagons" are getting shorter and shorter. Here's a Japanese car labeled a "station wagon" that I would definitely call a hatchback:

    2017 Subaru Impreza wagon

    Now please note that I did not claim this is an "example". I cherry-picked the shortest one I could find in a Googla image search, so that's an outlier. But it does show just how blurred the lines have become between "wagon" and "cuv" and "liftback sedan" and "hatchback".

    And don't get me started on how so many CUVs are being mis-labeled SUVs these days, for marketing purposes. Of course, in a way it's wrong for me to complain about the changes in these categories since the 1980s, since the meanings of words and labels do change over time. But I certainly do find it confusing, and at what point do the labels become meaningless if they appear to be arbitrarily assigned to a car regardless of the actual shape or body type?
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  19. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

  20. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    And, a flower vase ...
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