Tesla’s delays are Chevy’s gains, as more and more customers forgo the Model 3 for a Chevrolet Bolt.
Two weeks ago, patiently waiting Tesla customers woke up to a rude awakening. Deliveries on their much anticipated Model 3s had been delayed again. Now, instead of getting their coveted plug-in vehicles sometime in the spring, some of them might not take delivery until the first quarter of 2019.
Tesla continued to struggle with producing the Model 3 in volumes that keep up with demand. They have an ambitious target of producing 5000 cars per week, but only delivered 4100 cars in the entire month of January. This means that more and more customers are forced to wait for their Model 3 to arrive in their driveways.
All those delays mean that environmentally conscious consumers are looking for an EV they can get behind the wheel of today rather than a year from now. The Chevrolet Bolt isn’t quite the four-door sedan that everyone is talking about, but it’s a stylish plug-in electric car that people can take home today rather than many moons down the line.
Speaking to AutoBlog, Chevrolet dealer Yev Kaplinskiy admitted that he sold 15 Bolts the weekend after Tesla customers received news of yet another delay on their Model 3s. "We're getting the Tesla people who wanted their Model 3," Kaplinskiy said. "We ask them, 'What other cars are you interested in?' They're mostly Tesla. But they want the car now. They don't want to wait."
RELATED: TESLA MODEL 3 ORDERS DELAYED AGAIN
Tesla customers are feeling more than just a bit impatient as there’s also a tax credit time crunch. In California, the largest EV market in the US, there’s a $7,500 tax credit available for hybrid and electric cars. However, that tax credit disappears once the manufacturer moves 200,000 cars. Tesla is fast approaching that 200,000 limit on sales of the more expensive Model S and Model X SUV, and if they hit that mark before the Model 3 arrives then it suddenly costs more for the end consumer.
Chevy is also approaching the 200,000 limit, selling 170,000 EVs, including Bolts, Volts, and other olt-like cars since the tax credit came into effect. The difference is you can buy a bolt and take delivery next week rather than next year. This makes a Bolt a sure thing for a tax credit, and definitely a cheaper overall car.
Sonoma Chevrolet General Manager Ken Scholl perhaps put it best: "If I had 50 (Bolts) in December, we would have sold every one."