To clarify ambiguity about the Chevy Bolt advertised to be “available” late this year, GM said last week it has not promised cars in driveways before the end of the year.
The uncertainty over its delivery timeline started in earnest with an e-mail Chevrolet marketing sent out a few days into the new year with a single sentence: “The all-electric 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV will be available late 2016.”
Without contradicting this statement, GM has observed the definition of “available” does not necessarily mean deliveries at dealers, and it could also mean simply the car will be available to place orders.
“We plan to have the vehicle in production by the end of this year, that’s our commitment; so we plan to have units rolling off the line by the end of the year,” said Kevin Kelly, manager, Electrification and Fuel Cell Technology Communications commenting last week about the marketing e-mail sent to opt-in consumers. “They said it would be ‘available.’ Now that could be placing orders. It will be available.”
Kelly said GM is not willing to say more than production is planned by year’s end, and he did not specify when this would be.
If this sounds at all like a doubling back on any implication, that perception upon closer examination might not be justified. The e-mail did not say buyers would be driving a new Bolt in time for the holidays, or any such thing. It did say only “available.”
On the flip side, Kelly also did not say the Bolt would not be available for dealer deliveries by late 2016, so those hopeful that it might can still hope, but they will have to wait until official disclosure of more-specific timing.
It is early in the product launch cycle even for this car which GM says it fast tracked from concept to production ready.
That however has not stopped Chevrolet dealers from perhaps also jumping the gun, if anecdotal reports are correct.
“When’s the earliest this thing will be available?,” asked a member of the GM-Volt.com forum today about the pending Bolt. “I subscribed for info on the GM site and already have a dealer contacting me about ‘working up an order’ and getting on their list. Is this just shenanigans?”
Dealers are independent franchises and have been known to be out of step with the automaker before, although nothing more is known on specifics of this particular anecdote.
What is more certain however is even if anyone wanted to place an order today on a 2016 Bolt, GM officially says it is not promising more than cars in production by year’s end.
How the word “available” may further be defined is to be determined.