General Motors saw an 18.8% increase in year-over-year sales throughout the second quarter but struggled to capitalize on the increasing demand for electric vehicles.
For the April-through-June period, General Motors sold a combined total of 691,978 new vehicles, 113,471 units more than the 578,507 it sold the previous year. This brings the car manufacturer’s total 2023 sales to 1,295,186, a significant improvement from the automotive industry’s post-COVID slump. However, while the company’s overall performance was admirable, its electric vehicle sales decreased from the first quarter by 24%, reaching only 15,652 units compared to the record 20,670 reported in April.
A closer look at the brand’s EV numbers reveals an even more concerning problem. Of the units sold, the Chevrolet Bolt comprised 89% of the automaker’s total electric vehicle sales. Despite being General Motors’ best-selling battery-powered model and one of the cheapest on the market, the company announced earlier this year that it will discontinue the product before 2024. Although there remains a possibility of the Bolt returning through the car manufacturer’s Ultium platform, the automaker could soon suffer an even greater decline in EV sales if it does not boost demand for its other plug-in cars, which only sold 2,663 units in Q2, or if the new electric models it has planned for later this year prove incapable of attracting the Bolt’s current consumer base.
That being said, even a significant decline in electric vehicle sales is unlikely to affect the car manufacturer’s overall business. The segment only accounted for 2.3% of General Motors’ total sales in the second quarter. Furthermore, although the race to dominate the battery-powered car space is well underway, the company has plenty of time to complete its zero-emission transmission before it begins to see any negative impact. However, as seen with other slow-moving or EV-hesitant brands like Toyota, pressure on the automaker is likely to increase if it fails to convince shareholders that it is taking adequate measures to prepare for the future. The new electric vehicle launches planned for later this year, including plug-in versions of the Equinox and Silverado, will serve as a proving ground for General Motors’ strategy.