GM postpones expanding production of electric trucks

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General Motors is putting off adding a second factory for production of its electric pickups until late 2025, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The Silverado EV is now being produced at GM’s Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, where it is built alongside the GMC Hummer EV. The GMC Sierra EV is also set to be built there beginning next year.

But GM had planned to start producing the electric pickups at an additional Michigan factory, Orion Assembly just north of Detroit, as well. That ‘s where the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are made now. Instead, when those electric vehicles go out of production at the end of this year, the factory will not shift quickly to making the trucks.

The decision had nothing to do with the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, GM said, but was to “manage capital” and to better align with “evolving EV demand.” The move involving the Orion Township factory raises broader questions about dynamics and demand in the EV market.

GM’s decision will result in fewer electric pickups being built next year but the automaker declined to discuss the extent of a reduction. UAW workers at the Orion plant will be given the opportunity to work at Factory Zero during the time that nothing is being made at the Orion plant.

Ford recently announced that it was laying off 700 workers building its F-150 Lightning electric pickup citing “multiple constraints, including the supply chain and working through processing and delivering vehicles held for quality checks after restarting production in August.”

Sales of the Ford’s EV truck fell 45% in the third quarter compared to a year earlier, the company reported earlier this month. Ford said it expected to post an increase in sales during the final three months of the year, though, as production capacity increases at the plant. Ford said overall demand for its electric vehicle lineup remains strong.

In the broader EV market, discounts for electric vehicles have been increasing, according to Edmunds.com, and the vehicles have been sitting unsold on dealer lots longer than gas-powered vehicles. These things indicate a slackening of demand for the products. This could be because enthusiastic early buyers have already gotten the vehicles they want, said Joseph Yoon, consumer insights analyst at Edmunds.com.

“A lot of carmakers seem to have tapped out of the early adopters and so I think EVs are starting to sit a little bit,” he said.

GM said, besides needing to align with demand, its engineers had identified improvements that could make the trucks more profitable for the automakers once the factory starts making them.

GM had announced, in 2022, that it would spend $4 billion to convert Orion Assembly to make the electric trucks.

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