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The Chevy Bolt is completely crushing the Tesla Model 3

Business Insider | Jan 4, 2018, 12.06 AM IST
Business Insider

Hollis JohnsonThe Chevy Bolt.

Chevy sold over 3,000 Bolts in December.Tesla will likely sell fewer Model 3's than that for the entire fourth quarter.If the sales trend continues, Chevy could be selling 5,000 Bolts per month by mid-to-late 2018.

Let's be honest: while it was impressive that General Motors beat Tesla to market with an affordable, long-electric vehicle, launching the Chevy Bolt in late 2015, few expected Tesla be threatened by GM.

That's because Tesla had racked up an unprecedented 400,000-plus pre-orders for the Model 3 and it was assumed that once the car launched in mid-2017, it would rapidly outpace the Bolt in deliveries.

The outpacing hasn't happened yet. Far from it: Tesla will probably only deliver a few thousand Model 3's for all of 2017 (we'll find out this week, most likely, when the company releases its fourth-quarter and full-year numbers).

Meanwhile, the Bolt has exceeded expectations, with almost 24,000 sales in total in 2017 and a fairly impressive 3,000-plus in December. If the trend continues, Chevy could see 5,000 monthly Bolt sales well before Tesla gets anywhere near that mark.


The Tesla Model 3.

I suspect some of those Bolt sales can be attributed, ironically, to Tesla. The Model 3 hyped up the idea of an affordable, long-range EV, pressured GM to get into the game, and now that the Model 3 is falling far short of Tesla's goals, a significant number of buyers are choosing a Bolt.

This, unfortunately for Tesla, is what happens when demand can't be matched by product. It's a common occurrence in the auto industry; automakers suffer, for example, if they're trying to sell passenger cars when everybody wants to buy compact SUVs. Obviously, it's not as if people don't want to buy the Model 3 - and I think there's a good chance that the market is much bigger than the huge pre-order tally would indicate.

For much of 2016, it was easy to scoff at all the "Tesla killers" en route to market. That mountain of Model 3 pre-orders made the scoffing effortless. But with the Bolt a sudden success, a Tesla Model 3 killer, at least, is what GM has on its hands.

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