GM extends EV Bolt production halt but plans to soon resume sales

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A 2019 Chevrolet Bolt plug-in electric vehicle is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) said Tuesday it is extending until early April a production halt to its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle following a recall, but it plans to soon resume retail sales.

The largest U.S. automaker in August widened a recall of the Bolt to more than 140,000 vehicles to replace battery modules after a series of fires in parked vehicles, and halted production and retail sales. GM said in August it had recalled all Bolt vehicles built since it launched production in 2017.

GM said it planned to resume production of the Bolt at its Orion Township, Michigan plant the week of April 4.

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Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was closing an investigation opened in October 2020 into the Bolt fires "in view of the recall actions being taken by General Motors."

NHTSA said it reviewed reports of 24 Bolt fires, while GM said it suspected 18 fires were linked to the battery issue.

GM said it remained committed to the Bolt and the halt to production "has enabled us to prioritize battery module replacements." It felt confident that it could "balance replacements along with new retail production".

The automaker said dealers receiving Bolt vehicles built after April 4 could sell them immediately. Recalled vehicles on dealer lots "will need to have their battery modules replaced before they can be made available for sale."

Last month, GM said it is spending $4 billion to overhaul and expand the Orion plant, which will build different variants of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra electric pickups.

GM is also investing $2.6 billion with Korean partner LG Energy Solution (051910.KS) in a new battery cell plant in Lansing that will supply Orion and other GM assembly plants when it opens in late 2024.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by John Stonestreet

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