General Motors has blamed “evolving EV demand” for its decision to delay production at a second plant for its Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV by 12 months.
But GM had planned to also start producing the two dedicated electric pickup trucks at its Orion Township plant in Michigan in late 2024, to satisfy demand for electric pickups that appears to be dissipating.
The American automaker told Reuters the delay will allow it “to better manage capital investment while aligning with evolving EV demand”.
It recently confirmed battery production at its Ultium joint venture plant in Ohio has been affected by delivery issues with its automation equipment supplier, but told Reuters this latest move doesn’t impact its battery plant plans.
It also confirmed the strike action by the United Auto Workers union didn’t impact its decision to delay production at the Orion Township plant.
GM still plans to add a new shift next year at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that also builds the GMC Hummer EV.
It says it still aims to have tallied 400,000 EVs built from 2022 through the first half of 2024, 100,000 of which it expects to roll off the line in the second half of this year.
The company is busy scaling up its electric vehicle (EV) program. It delivered 36,024 EVs in the US in the first half of 2023, but only 2365 of those were its latest Ultium-based models such as the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV.
The vast majority were more affordable Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV models, which will soon exit production. GM has, however, confirmed it will introduce a new-generation Bolt with its Ultium batteries, though it hasn’t specified launch timing.
Reuters reported in July the EV market in the US continues to grow, but not quickly enough to prevent dealer lots filling up with unsold EVs.
As of June 30, for example, Ford had 86 days’ worth of F-150 Lightnings on hand, above the current industry average of 52 days’ supply. That was still better than the Mustang Mach-E SUV, however, which was sitting at 113 days.
This flagging demand led to Ford announcing this week it was cutting a work shift at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center where it manufactures the F-150 Lightning.
Late last week The Wall Street Journal cited a memo from a UAW leader regarding how demand for the F-150 Lightning electric pickup is faltering in the US.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our sales for the Lightning have tanked,” said the UAW leader, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Ford began producing the F-150 Lightning at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Centre facility in April 2022 after around 200,000 orders were taken.
The company has increased the production target at the facility twice, to an annual production rate of 150,000 vehicles.