Just when the traditional car companies thought nothing more could go wrong with their EV plans, something did. The Wall Street Journal torched GM for a laundry list of problems with the new Chevy Blazer EV.
Problems with the Blazer EV and customer complaints reached a level at which GM pulled the vehicle from the market. The company did not indicate if it would resume production.
Quality problems are not unique to legacy car makers. Tesla has been criticized for design flaws by customers and the media. Reuters reviewed a lengthy list of complaints about part deficits on Teslas. Tesla said many of these reports of part deficiencies were due to mistakes made by owners operating the cars.
Car quality issues and recalls have been a regular part of the industry for decades. Recalls in the hundreds of thousands are not unusual. Occasionally, those numbers rise into the millions. A recall of airbags made by Takata reached 67 million, which is a record.
Defect problems with EVs may hurt the industry more than those related to gas-powered engines. Many Americans are already wary about battery range, charging time, and the number of charging stations.
GM’s CEO Mary Barra, who took this job ten years ago, remains, despite the company’s EV issues, one of the most widely admired executives in the world. She navigated the recent UAW strike well. She steadied GM’s financials during the COVID-19 pandemic when sales dropped sharply because of supply chain problems. GM’s vehicle quality tends to rank above average but is still not at the level of most Japanese brands.
Governments in developed countries have told all global car companies that they must reach targets for fuel efficiency to help improve greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers have not cooperated as they continue gravitating to large SUVs and pickups, particularly in the US. Whenever an EV problem is reported, greenhouse gas reduction goals are harder to reach.
Chevy.com does not list an EV option for the Blazer. That means the company has little confidence that it has a solid date for the vehicle’s return to dealerships. However, Chevy does have four models for sale. Each has a gas engine.