After recalling 14,000 Bolts due to a fire risk, GM wants U.S. customers to know that Chevrolet is back in business. Chevy is announcing the return of the all-electric Bolt sedan and utility vehicle with a pair of national ad campaigns set to debut on Thursday to coincide with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.
General Motors announced that retail production for both the Bolt EV and SUV restarted on Monday after idling for eight months and that dealers have been given the green light to sell them. Chevy halted manufacturing the Bolt last August, with a brief reprise in November, to focus on replacing battery modules from model years 2017 to 2022.
Now that production is underway, the hard work begins – winning back customers’ trust.
“We don’t see massive broad reputational damage,” Steve Majoros, vice present of marketing for Chevrolet, said in a briefing. “We’re certainly going to stay humble. We’re going to think we’ve got a great product, and we’re just going to try to convince America that this is the right EV at the right time.”
As the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, the brand will showcase the commercials on every MLB game nationwide. As part of the turnaround, Chevy is offering buyers of 2022 models free home installation for a 240-volt charging unit.
The ads aim to put prospective buyers at ease, according to Majoros. “Frankly, they feel right for the kinds of people that we need to reach,” he said. “We have talked about bringing in early adopters, but those days are over, so we’ve got to have high volume.”
But it remains to be seen whether two traditional TV spots timed to reach baseball fans can both convince customers to return to Chevy and attract new EV shoppers in an increasingly crowded segment expecting a bevy of new battery-electric models later this year.
The first spot underscores that the Bolt’s 247-mile range outlasts a phone conversation from the 20-something driver’s loquacious mother.
The second spot features a miscommunication between a nervous mother-to-be and the technician completing her home installation. ‘Oh, don’t worry, it’s a piece of cake,” the technician says, referring, of course, to the ease of owning a Bolt, not impending parenthood.
Next quarter’s sales reports will show whether the commercials helped lure 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 put all of our energy into the limited battery supply we had at the time while ramping up battery production,” Majoros said. “It’s been a really a Herculean task.”
He declined to comment on the rate at which Chevrolet is replacing batteries but said that there are still a lot of dealer and customer orders to fulfill. Priority goes to customers with orders for the 2022 model year, he added. The brand plans to change over to 2023 models in July.