GM to delay EV truck production at Michigan plant

GM to delay EV truck production at Michigan plant

UAW Local 5960 member Kimberly Fuhr inspects a Chevrolet Bolt EV during vehicle production on May 6, 2021, at the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan.

Steve Fecht for Chevrolet

DETROIT – General Motors said Tuesday it is delaying production of all-electric trucks at a Michigan plant by at least a year to “better manage capital investments” and implement improvements in an effort to make the new EVs more profitable.

GM now plans to begin construction of its next-generation EVs at Orion Assembly in suburban Detroit by late 2025, instead of next year. The factory currently produces Chevrolet Bolt EV models, which GM will cease producing at the end of this year.

The delay is the latest sign of potential trouble for the ambitious, multibillion-dollar plans of traditional automakers to move to electric vehicles. Adoption of EVs, which remain costly to produce and purchase, has been slower than many expected.

“General Motors today confirmed it will retime the conversion of its Orion Assembly plant to EV truck production to late 2025, to better manage capital investment while aligning with evolving EV demand. In addition, we have identified engineering improvements that we will implement to increase the profitability of our products,” the company said in a statement.

The change in plans is not connected to the company’s ongoing contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, according to a GM spokesman. However, the contentious talks do involve EVs, and current contract proposals by the company are expected to be more expensive than those in year’s past. The UAW, which represents workers at Orion Assembly, did not immediately respond for comment.

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The production delay calls into question GM’s previously announced EV goals, including cumulative production of 400,000 EVs in North American from 2022 through mid-2024, which had already been pushed back. GM also has a goal to exclusively offer consumer EVs by 2035.

A GM spokesman late-Tuesday said there’s currently no change in plans to the company’s EV production targets.

New electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra that were supposed to be produced at Orion Assembly will be assembled at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit, the company said. Limited production of the Silverado EV is underway, while Sierra is scheduled to begin next year.

Alongside the Silverado EV, Factory Zero is currently building the GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV and Cruise Origin shuttle.

In January 2022, GM announced it would invest $4 billion to convert Orion Assembly to produce electric trucks. The plant was expected to be its second U.S. assembly plant to exclusively produce EVs. GM said construction includes significant facility and capacity expansion at the site, including new body and paint shops and new general assembly and battery pack assembly areas. 

Roughly 1,000 hourly workers at Orion Assembly will have the option to transfer to other Michigan facilities until the retooling at Orion Assembly is completed.

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