Following the recall of 14,000 Bolts due to a fire hazard, GM wants US customers to know Chevrolet is back in business. Chevy announces the return of the all-electric Bolt sedan and utility vehicle with two national ad campaigns slated to debut Thursday to coincide with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.
General Motors announced that retail production for both the Bolt EV and SUV resumed Monday after eight months of idleness and that dealerships have been given the green light to sell. Chevy ceased manufacturing the Bolt last August, with a brief repeat in November to focus on battery module replacements for model years 2017 through 2022.
Now that production is up and running, the hard work begins – winning back customers’ trust.
“We don’t see any massive reputational damage,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s assistant marketing director, in a briefing. “We will definitely remain humble. We’re going to think we have a great product and we’re just going to try to convince America that this is the right electric vehicle at the right time.”
As the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, the brand will present the commercials at every MLB game nationwide. As part of the turnaround, Chevy is offering buyers of 2022 models a free home install for a 240-volt charger.
According to Majoros, the ads are intended to reassure potential buyers. “Honestly, they feel right for the kind of people we need to reach,” he said. “We’ve talked about onboarding early adopters, but those days are gone, so we need to have high volume.”
But it remains to be seen whether two traditional TV ads, timed to reach baseball fans, can both persuade customers to return to Chevy and attract new EV buyers in an increasingly crowded segment that’s set to launch later this year Crowd of new battery electric models expected.
The first spot highlights that the Bolt’s 247-mile range outlasts a phone call to the driver’s talkative mother in her 20s.
The second spot shows a misunderstanding between a nervous mother-to-be and the technician who is completing her house installation. “Oh don’t worry, it’s a no-brainer,” says the tech, referring of course to the ease of owning a Bolt, not imminent parenthood.
Next quarter’s sales reports will reveal whether the commercials have helped draw customers back to the Bolt.
The brand’s decision last summer to focus on recalls rather than new sales “put the safety of our customers first and allowed us to focus all of our energy on the limited battery supply we had at the time while we ramped up battery production.” ‘ said Majoros. “It really was a Herculean task.”
He declined to comment on the speed at which Chevrolet is replacing batteries, but said there are still many dealer and customer orders to be filled. Priority will be given to customers with orders for the 2022 model year, he added. The brand plans to switch to 2023 models in July.