Why Are Chevy Dealers Offering $99/month Leases on the Bolt? [Opinion]

Why Are Chevy Dealers Offering $99/month Leases on the Bolt?

As electric cars become more popular in the public sphere, automakers are jumping at the opportunity to satisfy the demand.

A few days ago, we covered the wave of announcements that lay out automatkers’ electrification strategies in the coming years. Of particular note was GM’s press release last week that promised an “all-electric future”. In that plan, the company plans to launch at least 20 new electric vehicles within the next six years. An ambitious plan, and I commented that their new Bolt is a promising start of achieving their goals.

We at TFLcar like the Bolt – Nathan took one on a family road trip in California. We also drag raced one against a conventional car – specifically a Golf GTI – and the Bolt won by a considerable margin (video below!). It has well-tuned road manners, is fairly good looking, and offers up 238 miles of emissions-free range. Taking all that into account, you’d think there would be a premium on cars such as the Bolt.

Why Are Chevy Dealers Offering $99/month Leases on the Bolt?
Local dealerships, such as Gilroy Chevrolet in California, are offering attractive lease offers on the new Bolt.

Apparently not. A TFLcar correspondent sent in this shot of a local newspaper ad offering the Bolt for $99 a month. Just last month, GM announced that they were making the Bolt available at dealerships nationwide. They’re also offering an 8-year/100,000 mile limited drivetrain warranty, much to the relief of owners worried about replacing battery packs. So why are you able to get this car so cheap?

Simple answer: They’re not selling. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, Tesla delivered 26,150 cars. That’s more than twice as many Bolts GM managed to shift in 2017 – just 11,670 as of August 30. This shows that the Bolt – while a good car – faces an uphill battle against market-dominating Tesla.

While the Bolt’s sales have been slow, it’s hardly alone. Its hybrid cousin is also struggling to find buyers.

The Bolt has yet to usurp Tesla’s reputation as a go-to electric model, and its gas-electric hybrid cousin isn’t fairing so great either. If you’re in the market for a cheap lease on a hybrid, dealerships like Gilroy tout attractive offers.

Why Are Chevy Dealers Offering $99/month Leases on the Bolt?
The same Chevy dealership offering the Bolt for $99 is also leasing a Volt for $122/month.

The Volt is the second-most popular plug-in car on currently on the market, just behind the Tesla Model S. However, its sales have steadily declined since last year. Dealerships seem to be offering attractive deals on both the all-electric Bolt and the hybrid Volt to move units. This particular dealer has a couple other stipulations, but they are not alone in making these offers. Other cursory searches will turn up several other lease deals similar to the ones this Chevrolet dealership is offering for these cars.

Some thoughts on these deals:

I’d like to put it to you, TFLcar community: What do you think of the Bolt/Volt and these lease offers? It could be that dealerships are offering attractive leases to spur EV sales. While governments in Europe are pushing to ban gas and diesel cars in their cities, the U.S.’ cheap gas prices may stymie EV sales for awhile. Companies like Tesla and BMW, whose sales have been growing, may prove a challenge for GM to overcome. Offer your thoughts in the comments below!