- General Motors said Tuesday it’s delaying the production start of electric trucks, including the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV, from 2024 until late 2025 at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan.
- The automaker said it’s delaying production at the facility to align its capital investments with electric vehicle demand and implement vehicle engineering improvements to boost profitability. The delay is unrelated to the United Auto Workers strike, GM said.
- GM will offer Orion Assembly employees roles at other facilities in Michigan, including its Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, the company said in an email. Orion Assembly employs nearly 1,300 people.
The Orion Assembly plant currently produces two Chevrolet Bolt EV models, both of which are being discontinued. GM said the Orion facility will finish production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV at the end of 2023 as planned.
Production of GM’s other EVs will remain on schedule at Factory Zero, where the GMC Hummer EV, Chevrolet Silverado EV and Cruise Origin multi-passenger shuttles are manufactured. Factory Zero will also build the forthcoming GMC Sierra EV and Cadillac Escalade IQ next year.
In January 2022, GM announced it was investing more than $7 billion in four Michigan manufacturing sites to boost battery cell and EV manufacturing capacity. The massive investment included $4 billion in Orion Assembly to add electric truck capacity, including battery assembly areas.
But GM, along with rival Ford, has struggled to boost EV production, profitability and sales. Although GM’s U.S. deliveries jumped 21% year over year to 674,336 vehicles in the third quarter of 2023, the automaker reported deliveries of just 18 Silverado EVs and 19 Blazer EVs in Q3. GM delivered 1,167 Hummer EVs and 3,018 Cadillac Lyriq SUVs in Q3.
In contrast, GM’s best-selling EVs are the Bolt models. GM delivered 15,835 Bolt EVs in Q3, up 7.7% from 14,709 in the same period last year. Combined year-to-date deliveries of the two Bolt models is 49,494, compared to 22,012 units for the same period last year. It’s a 124.9% year-over-year jump in Bolt EV sales. Still, GM is sticking with its decision to discontinue both Bolt models, betting that customers will pivot to replacements like the Chevy Equinox EV, which launches this fall with an estimated MSRP of around $30,000.
In July, GM CEO Mary Barra blamed issues with its automation equipment supplier for the automaker’s slow EV ramp up. Barra said GM experienced “unexpected delays” because an unnamed supplier could not deliver automation equipment for producing battery modules.
Ford is also reevaluating its EV plans. Last month, the company said it was pausing construction on its $3.5 billion battery plant in Marshall, Michigan.
“We’re pausing work, and we’re going to limit spending on construction at Marshall until we’re confident about our ability to competitively run the plant,” a Ford spokesperson told The Detroit News in September.
Ford sold just 3,503 F-150 Lightning pickups in Q3.
Despite GM’s updated EV production timelines, the automaker plans to have more than 1 million units of EV capacity in North America by the end of 2025. GM says it will switch 50% of its North American assembly capacity to EV production by 2030.
In addition to the EV production delays, GM also canceled its investor day event on Nov. 16 to allow company leaders to focus on ongoing labor talks with the UAW. The event will be moved to early next year.