Chevrolet Offers Bolt Owners Money If They Waive the Right to Sue
With the Chevrolet Bolt gradually losing its competitive edge as more all-electric vehicles take the field, and the car on the hook for a high-profile recall relating to battery fires, General Motors opted to reduce its price by six grand this year in a bid to make the 2023 model year more appetizing to consumers. Prior to the Biden administration pushing to renew EV tax credits as part of the "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022" (basically a tweaked version of Build Back Better), GM had little hope of its vehicles benefiting from continued government incentives that it had already exceeded its sales quota for and needed a remedy. However the sudden price cut didn't sit well with customers who had just purchased a Bolt EV (or EUV) at the earlier price point, so the automaker attempted to cut them a semi-Faustian bargain.
Introduced in July, the assumption was that GM would offer simple cash rebates to last year's customers as a way to say it was sorry. But Bolt owners have started leaking to the press that the deal also includes a contract where beneficiaries would have to waive their right to sue General Motors (or any other involved company) in the event that the Bolt catches fire.
According to Jalopnik, those attempting to take advantage of the offer found themselves confronting a step in the process where they had to submit their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and were then required to agree to "forever waive and release all claims, damages, or causes of action" before continuing. So, if the car experiences a bout of thermal runaway and burns down your garage or some other catastrophic issue takes place, GM is legally protected.
"By nonetheless agreeing to this Release, I — both on my own behalf and on behalf of my heirs, agents, servants, beneficiaries, legal representatives, assigns, wards, executors, successors, and administrators — forever waive and release all claims, damages, or causes of action, either known or unknown, regardless of the legal or equitable theory, that I may have now or in the future arising out of or in any way relating to my Bolt vehicle(s), the battery defect, or the battery recalls, and including any claims or rights that I may have in connection with the class action, including any right to participate as a class member," explains the texts. "This release is in favor of and includes General Motors Company, General Motors LLC, General Motors Holdings LLC, LG Chem, Ltd., LG Energy Solution, Ltd., LG Energy Solution Michigan Inc., LG Electronics, Inc., and LG Electronics USA, Inc. as well as all of their respective officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, subsidiaries, parent companies, insurers, authorized dealers, suppliers, divisions, predecessors, successors, heirs, and assigns."
Jalopnik has a transcript of the entire agreement if you're interested, but the above basically tells you everything you need to know. Buy taking GM's money now, you're effectively making it and the battery supplier exempt from any legal action you might take later. That'd be a little more palatable if the automaker hadn't framed this in a way to appease owners that felt a little hoodwinked after Bolt prices came down by $6,000.
GM has extended the "deal" to vehicles from the 2020-2022 model years that were purchased last year. Leased models are not eligible and there appear to be some restrictions regarding trim levels, based on leaked dealer memos.
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