May 2017 plug-in vehicle sales were up, for the vehicles I track, with one exception, and that exception was only very slightly down. In the three previous years, my May sales were great, qualifying me for bonuses from GM. This May, I struggled to sell only two vehicles, making this the worst first five months of the year I’ve had, since my first full year in this business, 2014. Traffic, both phone and on site, are markedly down.
The silver lining to the disaster of May 2017 was Bolt EV orders. Electric Avenue has received deposits for fifteen Bolt EVs. Two of those clients have asked me to hang onto their deposits, while they wait for better timing and one cancelled, in favor of the Volt. Then decided to not get the Volt.
The new month has started off so well, that I have already beaten last month’s crappy performance, with two Volt sales. One of the Bolt EV orders, mentioned above, occurred on the 1st of June. That particular order was interesting. The client had been to two other Chevy dealerships, looking to get an inbound Bolt EV reserved for himself. One dealership seemed completely disinterested and said they weren’t sure they were going to carry Bolt EV. One said they’d have one, that matched his criteria within six weeks (I doubt that’s possible).The client stated, from the very beginning of our discussion, “Whoever gets it in first wins.”
Then he walked into Electric Avenue. We have a Bolt EV here, which is on loan to us from an owner. We cannot sell it, but we can show it off and test drive it. I checked our incoming inventory (35 Bolt EVs, including 12 ordered for clients) and did not find one that matched his criteria. After the test drive, we discussed the reasons why the one dealership said they probably would not carry Bolt EV, and I pointed out to him that not only were we going to have them in large (for Texas) quantities, but that we had designated a building specifically for EV & hybrid sales. I explained that we spent tens of thousands of dollars to make an environment for buyers of these vehicles, that is completely different than any other sales building on the premises, and was modeled after my experience working at Apple Retail. I closed with, “When it comes time to get your Bolt EV, support the dealership that is supporting you.” He immediately decided to place a deposit and order his Bolt EV from me.
Here are the May 2017 sales figures, compared to the previous month:
- Chevy Volt: UP 1% (1,817 vs. 1,807)
- Chevy Bolt EV: UP 21% (1,566 vs. 1,292)
- Nissan Leaf: UP 31% (1,392 vs. 1,063)
- Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 5% (1,908 vs. 1,819)
- Tesla Model S: UP 44% (1,620 vs. 1,125) **estimated
- Tesla Model X: UP 142% (1,730 vs. 715) **estimated
- BMW i3: DOWN 2% (506 vs. 516)
- Ford Fusion Energi: UP 10% (1,000 vs. 905)
- Ford C-Max Energy: UP 27% (950 vs. 749)
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric: UP 295% (75 vs. 19) ** My figures in last month’s summary mistakenly were for all Ioniqs, not just the electric that I intended to focus on…
In May, the average price of gasoline was down 2% compared with the previous month, dropping sharply, until the 14th of the month. Then, the price rose steadily, with one sharp dip, until the end of the month, finishing at $2.38.
As I mentioned earlier, in May I only had two sales for the month. To show exactly what kind of disaster 2017 has been for me so far, take a look at the graph below. The red bars are the months of 2017. Notice how thin they are, compared to the other colors? It has become obvious that we should not have moved into the new building (which gets very low traffic) until Bolt EVs started to arrive.
My May sales were comprised of one Z06 Stingray one Silverado 1500. I did not sell a single Volt, so although the Volt continues to be my most popular vehicle, it lost ground to my 2nd- and 3rd-best selling vehicles.
Plug-in sales, compared to the same month a year ago, were up with only two exceptions, the Tesla Model S and the Ford Fusion Energi.
- Chevy Volt: DOWN 4% (1,817 vs. 1,901)
- Chevy Bolt EV: (was not available in May 2016)
- Nissan Leaf: UP 42% (1,392 vs. 979)
- Plug-in Toyota Prius: UP 47,500% (1,904 vs. 4) **previous generation Prius plug-in, dying out last May
- Tesla Model S: UP 35% (1,620 vs. 1,200)
- Tesla Model X: UP 8% (1,730 vs.1,600)
- BMW i3: DOWN 27% (506 vs. 696)
- Ford Fusion Energi: DOWN 31% (1,000 vs. 1,453)
- Ford C-Max Energi: UP 77% (950 vs. 538)
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric: (was not available in May 2016)