GM BEV sales flag as Bolt continues decline

The firm's electric SUVs show promise but have not moved the dial yet

GM BEV sales flag as Bolt continues decline
GM's US all-electric sales declined by over a fifth in Q1

Detroit legacy manufacturer GM sold 16,425 BEVs in North America in the fist quarter, amounting to a 21pc year-on-year decline, with only 2.8pc of GM's overall sales being BEVs.

As well as dropping over a fifth compared to 2023, this marks the second successive quarter that GM has seen a sequential dip in EV sales.

The automaker saw its compact Bolt EV continue its drastic slide in terms of delivery volumes, although it remains the company's top-selling BEV. The firm is retiring the model in its current form, before bringing it back in the second half of the decade but only partially on its preferred Ultium battery platform — so it is perhaps unsurprising that customer appetite for a product facing such an uncertain future has dwindled.

Since the beginning of 2023, the Bolt has declined not only in absolute terms by over 12,000 units, but has also gone from making up 95pc of GM's EV sales to only 43pc only a year later (see Fig.1).

Fig.1: GM BEV sales have been diversifying, but falling

These numbers evidence GM's desire to retool its EV portfolio with mid-segment SUVs and e-pickups on its Ultium platform (see Fig.2). But the decline in the Bolt's share has brought with it a drop in overall EV volumes as the company has failed to adequately replace it on in the order book with any of its newer offerings.

Fig.2: GM's relatively rapid diversification of its BEV portfolio

SUV promise

GM may be encouraged by the progress of the Cadillac Lyriq, however, with the OEM potentially seeing it as a flagship EV. The vehicle saw 500pc year-on-year sales growth, jumping suddenly to 5,800 units in Q1. This sees it close in on the Bolt, which declined by 64pc to just over 7,000 deliveries.

The Lyriq has also been earmarked as the vehicle which will spearhead GM's re-entry into Europe with an all-BEV line-up, and made up 35pc of GM's North American BEV sales in Q1.

GM's newest EV, the Chevrolet Blazer EV, saw limited growth in second full quarter on the market, selling 600 units, 30pc above its Q4 level. The EV was subject to a stop-sale earlier this year as GM addressed a software issue on the SUV.

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Playing to the gallery

GM has announced it will return to PHEVS to comply with tailpipe emissions regulations by 2035, in a move that it says will ensure regulatory compliance and prioritise shareholder returns.

GM's share price is at a two-year high, as investors are buoyed by the company's decision to slow down production of its heavily loss-making EVs.

However, GM now says that "Ultium platform production is on track", referring to the numerous delays its vertically integrated EV platform design has faced.

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