It has been reported that GM will no longer publish monthly sales figures for vehicles. Due to this, this may be my last “sales figures” post. We’ll see…
The countdown to 200,000 plug-in vehicles, and the looming end of the $7,500 Federal Income Tax Credit (for three EV makers), marches forward. For the first time ever, Tesla Motors has taken the lead, passing General Motors, in total plug-ins sold. Barring an increase in General Motors production, and with the ramp-up of the Model 3, I expect Tesla to keep the lead, going forward. It has been announced that GM is increasing Bolt EV production, due to strong demand. However, at the dealership level, I am seeing much lower allocation than I’ve seen in the past. For those outside the car business, GM allocates production to dealers, based on their sales of each vehicle. In other words, if you are selling lots of Bolt EVs, you get the opportunity to order more Bolt EVs, than a dealership that is not selling them at as high a volume. However, I have seen a marked decrease in plug-in vehicle allocation for us, although we have had great numbers, when compared to other dealers in our region. Perhaps the reason we are getting fewer plug-in vehicles is that higher demand has spread the production slots that are available among more dealerships. I’m hoping that is what’s going on and the GM announcement seems to bear that out. As I wrote last month, I am happily surprised by the higher demand I have been seeing, during what would typically be a dead period for plug-in sales.
March 2018 plug-in vehicle sales were up, with only one exception, the Ford Fusion Energi. I cannot overstate how very historically abnormal this is for the first three months of a year. The Fusion was only slightly down, from the previous month (2%).
In total vehicle sales, March 2018 was typical. I sold 10 units.
- Chevy Volt: UP 81% (1,782 vs. 983)
- Chevy Bolt EV: UP 25% (1,774 vs. 1,424)
- Nissan Leaf: UP 68% (1,500 vs. 895)
- Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 43% (2,922 vs. 2,050)
- Tesla Model S: UP 200% (3,375 vs. 1,125) **estimated
- Tesla Model X: UP 223% (2,825 vs. 875) **estimated
- BMW i3: UP 59% (992 vs. 623) **new model announced
- Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 2% (782 vs. 794)
- Honda Clarity BEV & PHEV: UP 25% (1,230 vs. 9854)
- Tesla Model 3: UP 54% (3,820 vs. 2,485)
In March, the average price of gasoline rose from $2.55 per gallon, at the start of the month, to $2.66 at month’s end. The rise was pretty constant, with a minor dip to $2.52 on the 11th, then rose steadily, through the end of the month.My ten March 2018 sales were comprised of four Bolt EVs, four Volts, a Camaro and a Silverado. The good news here, is the rebound of interest in the Volt. The debut of the Bolt EV hit Volt sales, in the beginning, but more and more people are coming in to test drive the Volt. The Bolt EV is still in 3rd place (50 units), in my sales, with the Silverado 1500 (57 units) in 2nd place and the Volt (84 units) in first. As early as this month, I could see the Bolt EV displacing Silverado as my #2 vehicle!By vehicle type, my lifetime sales are 31% plug-ins, 19% SUVs (down 1%), 18% pickups, 15% sports cars. The rest are sedans & vans (17%). In the chart below, the red bars (2018 sales) show how odd the start to this year has been. When compared to the slivers of orange below the red bars (2017 sales), the change is astounding.
Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were split:
- Chevy Volt: DOWN 16% (1,782 vs. 2,132) **Bolt EV effect?
- Chevy Bolt EV: UP 81% (1,774 vs. 978) **not available nationwide in March 2017
- Nissan Leaf: UP 1% (1,500 vs. 1,478)
- Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 74% (2,922 vs. 1,682)
- Tesla Model S: DOWN 2% (3,375 vs. 3,450)
- Tesla Model X: UP 3% (2,825 vs. 2,750)
- BMW i3: UP 41% (992 vs. 703)
- Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 22% (782 vs. 1,002)
- Honda Clarity BEV & PHEV: (was not available in March 2017)
- Tesla Model 3: (was not available in March 2017)