Loophole provides an opportunity to make a few bucks.
Chevrolet’s Bolt-related woes started in August 2020 after a Bolt caught fire for no apparent reason. It wasn’t a one-off incident, and a pattern soon emerged. Following 12 fires and three injuries, Chevrolet issued a recall.
In short, Chevrolet had to replace the entire lithium-ion battery pack in every one of the 147,000 Bolts produced to date.
This recall is going to cost Chevrolet a lot, though no official figure has been released yet. A scandal like this usually kills a car’s reputation, but the Bolt is emerging from this scandal in even better condition due to a unique set of circumstances. Even Chevrolet’s dealers are repurchasing Bolts above the retails cost charged just a few short months ago.
Why? Well, first, you need to understand the current demand in the used car market. The semiconductor chip shortage makes it nearly impossible for manufacturers to deliver new cars, so customers have no choice but to wait it out or get an almost-new used car. Since the chip shortage could last into 2023, many customers are opting to go the used route.
Manheim Auctions predicts that the Bolt will lose no more than $100 of its value over the next 12 months. Couple that with Chevrolet replacing the battery pack for free, it makes sense for dealers to scoop up as many Bolts as possible. The car's value isn’t going down, the GM Mothership is taking the financial hit, and dealers will have Bolts with new batteries and updated software to sell to the hungry car-buying market.
This is quite a unique situation, considering how easily a scandal can kill a business. Ford, Audi, Toyota, and Volkswagen were all caught up in scandals that nearly ended them.
The most recent was Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal, which cost them billions, and effectively killed diesel-powered sedans, crossovers, and small SUVs. A few executives even went to jail, and rightly so.
The difference between VW and Chevrolet is that Chevy accepted its mess, sent out a warning, and is in the process of rectifying it. Sadly, not all customers listened to Chevy when it sent out the fire warning.