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GM Admits the Chevrolet Bolt is Not Profitable

| Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
Analysts believe the majority of "affordable" EVs won't be profitable before 2022-2023

That the Chevrolet Bolt is not currently a profit-maker for General Motors is not really much of a surprise. What is surprising is to see the company admit that fact so candidly.

Fact is the manufacturers are not usually keen to share that kind of information, preferring to keep to themselves the data on which models are profitable and which ones aren’t. And yet this week Mary Barra, head of GM, acknowledged just that about one of its models. Although to be clear, the executive didn’t exactly say that the company is losing money on the Bolt. But if you read between the lines…

During a discussion with industry analysts as part of the company’s reporting of its latest quarterly financial results, Mary Barra said that it doesn’t expect its all-electric models to start turning a profit before the start of the next decade, at the earliest.

"We've talked about the fact that with our next generation of development, we want to make sure we have obtainable, profitable, desirable, and with the appropriate range."

- Mary Barra

| Photo: Cadillac

Speaking of that next technological generation, GM has already previewed its BEV3 architecture in a Cadillac concept vehicle, still to be named. That concept should make it to production reality by around 2021, and it will represent a return for GM’s luxury banner into the world of electric vehicles after the misbegotten ELR, a luxury version of the Chevy Bolt that was far too expensive.

We’ll be watching to see GM’s approach to electrification over the next decade. The company, in the midst of a large-scale restructuring that is reverberating across North America, have some big decisions to make in the coming years. For one, it has already hinted that we could see a host of products based on the Bolt’s platform.

But now that we know that the little Bolt is not currently profitable, that may be less likely to happen. Things could of course change significantly with the arrival of the next generation of electrified products from the automaker.

Stay tuned.

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| Photo: D.Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists