Sales of Chevy's electric car, the Bolt, tank 41 percent during the third quarter

  • Chevrolet Bolt sales are down 41 percent over the same quarter last year.
  • Every one of GM's brands saw sales decline year over year.

Sales of Chevrolet's electric car, the Bolt, are tanking.

Bolt sales plunged 41 percent during the third quarter from the same time last year and are down 17 percent since the beginning of the year, General Motors said Tuesday.

"The decline is more a function of us diverting production to Canada and South Korea, coupled with low stocks in the U.S.," GM spokesman Jim Cain told CNBC in an email. "We're still proceeding with the Q4 production increase we announced in the last sales release." Cain added that investors should expect lower U.S. sales for 2018 but higher global sales.

Billed as a compact crossover, the Bolt is GM's foray into electric vehicles, touted as a potential rival to cars such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Nissan Leaf. Its base model lists a starting price of $37,495.

Sales of several models across GM's brands saw declines in the quarter, while others saw gains.

GM's total sales are down 11 percent over the same quarter last year and 1.2 percent this year. Chevrolet saw a year-over-year decline of 11.4 percent, GMC saw a decline of 11.3 percent, Cadillac lost 10.7 percent and Buick lost 7.3 percent.

The Bolt is not to be confused with the Chevrolet Volt, a hybrid, which actually saw a year-over-year increase of nearly 23 percent in sales.