GM has been having a time of it lately with the Chevy Bolt, issuing recall and then recall because of potential fire due to its batteries. Its current advice is for owners to park their Bolts outdoors, which according to a new report, has some of them hopping mad and demanding a buyback.
The Detroit Free Press says that, in some cases, Bolt owners have been successful in getting buybacks from GM. The Freep talked to multiple Bolt owners, who are in various stages of mad. My favorite is that of Durham Smith, a South Carolina man who is engaged in a high-stakes showdown with GM and his local dealership.
Smith, 74, is determined to get a buyback. He said he refuses to pay on the vehicle, he is considering contacting a lawyer and he might run a full-page ad in his local newspaper telling his story.
On Aug. 5, Smith and his wife, Cyndie, bought a 2022 Bolt EUV — the all-new compact electric SUV — for about $40,000. The couple wanted to be environmentally conscious, plus it was fun to drive and, “I loved the car, it was just wonderful,” Cyndie said.
But on Aug. 20, their new vehicle was part of GM’s recall. Four days later, Smith returned the vehicle to the dealership, hoping to exchange it for a Buick Envision SUV, he said. But the dealership offered them $29,900 for it and the Envision was $39,900, Smith said.
Frustrated, Smith decided rather than park the Bolt on his tree-lined driveway or in his garage, he left the Bolt, with the keys in it, at the dealership and called a taxi to take him home. His first payment for it is approaching and the car remains at the dealership.
“I am looking at a couple of options, none of which are paying on it because I feel that would be to acquiesce and it’d be an admission of ownership,” Smith said. “I see it as unethical on General Motors’ part to leave the car on the market.”
Smith has submitted all required paperwork to the automaker seeking a buyback, he said, and now he waits for a response.
A lifelong GM customer, Smith said if GM and LG figure out a fix, he will still likely want a buyback because “GM’s actions thus far have done nothing to instill confidence in either their capacity to fix the problem nor in any veracity in a statement about having done so.”
A full-page ad in his local newspaper! Parking the car at the dealer and taking a taxi home! Lifelong GM customer! I love all of it.
Anyway, the Freep also talked to GM, which admitted that it was giving buybacks to some Bolt customers but declined to say what the criteria is and how much GM is buying back the cars for. I also emailed GM, and a spokesman declined to elaborate, saying that, “As I mentioned to the Free Press reporter, we’re not going to get into the specifics and will continue to consider buybacks on a case-by-case basis.”
All this suggests to me that this is a squeaky-wheels-getting-the-grease situation, so if you are a Bolt or Bolt EUV owner and are sufficiently mad, feel free to take your complaint up the ladder to maybe get some satisfaction. I’m sure Durham Smith will be getting his, as I think talking to a newspaper reporter probably constitutes sufficient noise. That, of course, is how it has always been with dealers and automakers.