- It is not clear how soon the revived Bolt would launch in the US, but it should cover Tesla’s planned insurgency into the Bolt end of the market.
- GM experienced “unexpected delays” in Hummer and Lyriq production ramp-ups, CEO Mary Barra said, because an unnamed automation equipment supplier struggled with delivery issues.
- GM’s average transaction prices reached $52,248 for the second quarter, up $1600 over the first quarter and up $1890 year-over-year.
General Motors will launch a third-generation Chevrolet Bolt/Bolt EUV on the automaker’s efficient brands-wide Ultium battery platform, CEO Mary Barra confirmed Tuesday in a second-quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts.
The Detroit automaker is leveraging much of the vehicle’s current design while it migrates to GM’s dedicated battery-electric vehicle platform, Barra said, but “when the new vehicle comes out, we will say it is an Ultium product.”
Barra last month hinted at the Bolt’s return on American Public Media’s Marketplace radio show. Ultium cuts GM’s costs by 40% compared with the second-generation EV platform underpinning the current Bolt, which goes out of production at the end of this year.
As GM works to expand its EV portfolio to include competition for Tesla’s lineup, the potentially quick return of the Chevy Bolt covers Tesla’s planned insurgency into the Bolt end of the market. Tesla management plans to meet with India's commerce minister this month to discuss an assembly plant there for a new, $24,000 EV model, Reuters reported Monday. Tesla also would have to build such a car in North America, however, to qualify for up to $7500 in federal US tax credits critical for that price range.
Chevy Bolt has a very loyal following, with 70% of its customers new to GM, Barra said. She did not detail timing for the EV’s return, though considering Tesla’s propensity for long, drawn-out new product introductions, there should be a couple years’ cushion to meet or beat the $24,000 car. Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Equinox EV is set to become GM’s new entry-level EV for the time being with an expected base price in the low $30,000s.
In the GM earnings deck EV timeline, production of the Chevy Silverado EV Work Truck is under way, with “deliveries to begin to commercial customers soon,” followed by Blazer EV production later in the quarter. Equinox is GM’s first new EV to begin production in the fourth quarter, followed by the Silverado EV RST First Edition (for consumers), then the BrightDrop Zero 400 van and then the Cadillac Celestiq production beginning before year’s end, about the same time as Tesla’s Cybertruck.
Cadillac will reveal its electric Escalade IQ design on August 9.
Chevy Bolt/Bolt EUV accounted for most of GM’s first-half EV production of 50,000 units, with a few GMC Hummers and Cadillac Lyriqs trickling out of Factory Zero on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan.
“To address pent-up demand among our Hummer EV customers, we are planning to increase second-half production by thousands of units,” Barra said.
GM experienced “unexpected delays” in Hummer and Lyriq production ramp-ups, she said, because an unnamed automation equipment supplier struggled with delivery issues and constrained module assembly capacity. GM manufacturing engineering teams are working on-site with the automation supplier to improve delivery times, and is installing more module capacity at Factory Zero, Spring Hill (Tennessee), Ramos Arizpe (Mexico), and the CAMI (Ontario, Canada) EV plants.
Its target is to double EV production in the second half, to 100,000 units, for a total of 150,000 in 2023. Yes, GM still plans to build EV capacity in North America to 1 million units by 2025 as it cuts battery cell cost to $87 per kilowatt-hour.
GM customers will have access to 30,000 DC fast-charging stations in early 2024. It will integrate with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard beginning in 2025.
Asked whether GM will respond to Ford’s price cut earlier this month of $10,000 for the F-150 Lightning, with the cheapest version starting at $50,000, Barra said the Chevy Silverado EV Work Truck is competitively priced—just under the $80,000 limit to allow for a $7500 federal tax credit—given its 450-mile EPA range and 10,000-pound towing capacity.
GM isn’t going out of its way to sell on price as was its tradition for many years. It claims its incentives were 3.1% of average transaction prices (ATPs) compared with 3.8% for the industry by the end of the second quarter. GM’s ATP reached $52,248 for the second quarter, up $1600 over the first quarter and up $1890 year-over-year. AT4 and Denali trim levels account for 70% of GMC Sierra HD sales, nearly 50% of Sierra light-duty sales, and more than 74% of Canyon pickup truck orders, while 75% of Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUV sales are premium trims.
The company plans to remain disciplined on supply-versus-demand and maintain under 50-days’ supply inventory, which should be enough to maintain first place in US sales while keeping incentives low. In GM’s ongoing efforts to reduce fixed costs, it will cut half the trim levels for both EVs and internal-combustion engine models but will be in 90% of market segments for both EVs and ICEs by 2030, Barra said.
This developing strategy worked pretty well for GM in the second quarter. Revenue was up a whopping 25.1% for the second quarter, to $44.746 billion ($84.732 billion for the half, up 18.1%). Earnings before income tax were $3.234 billion for Q2, up 38% ($7.037 billion, up 10.2% for the first half). These results have prompted GM to raise its calendar-year 2023 guidance for Wall Street by $1 billion to a range of $12-14 billion in EBIT.
How well do you think GM is positioned for an all-electric future? Please comment below.
As a kid growing up in Metro Milwaukee, Todd Lassa impressed childhood friends with his ability to identify cars on the street by year, make, and model. But when American automakers put an end to yearly sheetmetal changes, Lassa turned his attention toward underpowered British sports cars with built-in oil leaks. After a varied early journalism career, he joined Autoweek, then worked in Motor Trend’s and Automobile’s Detroit bureaus, before escaping for Mountain Maryland with his wife, three dogs, three sports cars (only one of them British), and three bicycles. Lassa is founding editor of thehustings.news, which has nothing to do with cars.