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The Chevy Bolt Is (Coming) Back, Baby

The new Bolt will have great affordability, range, and technology, Barra said. The next Bolt will come to market quickly because GM is not starting from scratch. The plan is to take the current Bolt and update it with Ultium battery technology as well as GM’s Ultify software-defined vehicle technology. This will bring the next Bolt to market faster, with significantly less engineering expense and capital investment required, she said.

“Frankly, I’m super excited about it,” Barra says.

Discontinuing Current Bolt Family

It led to outcries about an EV landscape with a dearth of affordable options. But the move was inevitable. While the Bolt and Bolt EUV account for most of GM’s EV sales, the small crossovers use the older BEV2 platform and battery chemistry that is being replaced across the board by GM’s Ultium vehicle and battery platform.

Chevrolet Bolt History

Barra said the Bolt has some of the highest satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry and is an important source of conquest sales with more than 70 percent of customers new to GM. GM will make about 70,000 Bolts this year before production ends.

GM Ramping up EV Production

GM met its target to build 50,000 EVs in the first half of the year—80 percent were Bolts—and the automaker will double that to 100,000 EVs in the second half as the automaker works through delays being experienced by its automated equipment supplier. Additional lines are being installed to prevent backlogs in the assembly process and all issues should be fixed before the end of the year, Barra says.

GM is on track to build 400,000 EVs in North America from 2022 to mid-2024 and is spending about three-quarters of its capital on EVs. Barra says she does not see a need for price cuts in the wake of a price war started by Tesla and followed by Ford, which cut the price of its F-150 Lightning.

GM Second-Quarter Earnings

GM saw a 52 percent jump in net income in the second quarter to $2.6 billion on the strength of sales with help from $1 billion in cost-cutting efforts with $2 billion more to go. Earnings were up 38 percent to $3.2 billion on $44.7 billion in global revenue. The automaker took a $792 million charge related to the 2021 recall of the Chevrolet Bolt after reports of fires related to batteries, an issue that has been fixed.

Things are rosy enough that GM now says it expects adjusted earnings of $12 billion to $14 billion for the year—up $1 billion—with higher net income.

Labor Strike Fears

It remains to be seen if labor negotiations derail plans. GM’s contract with the UAW expires in September and talks could be more fractious than usual with many bracing for strikes in the wake of fiery rhetoric from the new UAW leadership.

While GM has increased its cost-cutting efforts, GM chief financial officer Paul Jacobson told media the measures do not include additional layoffs. About 5,000 salaried workers have already taken buyouts.

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