General Motors will discontinue the Chevrolet Bolt at the end of this year as it focuses on its new generation of electric vehicles, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday.
The automaker plans to build electric versions of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra at the Bolt plant in Orion Township, Mich., about 65 kilometres north of Detroit. Employment at the plant will triple in 2024, when it reopens after a $4 billion overhaul (all figures in USD) Barra said on GM's first-quarter earnings call.
The Bolt, introduced in 2016, as GM’s first mass-market EV, uses the company’s previous-generation battery technology. The Silverado, Sierra and other upcoming EVs are built on the Ultium battery platform that allows for greater range and power.
“It's just a natural progression, natural next step for us,” Chevrolet CMO Steve Majoros told sibling publication Automotive News.
“We’re joining the Ultium party. Bolt has been a phenomenal product for us, no doubt. It's done great things for Chevy, for GM, dealers, customers.”
GM said the 2023 model year will be the last, and dealers will be able to order Bolts through the summer.
“It's not about replacement volume, especially early on,” Majoros said. “Bolt has been a conquest machine for us. Early on, it was conquesting north of 85 per cent, which means these were all brand-new people to Chevrolet and what you find in EVs, there's a tremendous amount of brand loyalty, but it's really a propulsion decision. And so if we can bring people in based on the propulsion proposition that they're looking for, we can do it with a brand that they're familiar with, with brand names they’re familiar with, that works well for us.
GM on Tuesday said it has formed a joint venture with Samsung SDI to build a $3 billion battery plant in the U.S. that will open in 2026. The company didn't identify the location of the plant, which would be GM's fourth Ultium plant in the United States.