Depending on market conditions, GM says it expects to build 200,000-300,000 electric vehicles this year.
The automaker’s portfolio of EVs for 2024 includes the Chevrolet Blazer EV, Chevy Silverado EV RST and GMC Sierra EV, Cadillac Escalade IQ and Celestiq, and he Chevy Equinox EV.
GM also reiterated its commitment to developing autonomous vehicle tech through its Cruise brand, though it’s reducing expenses this year by $1 billion.
General Motors expects to build 200,000-300,000 electric vehicles in 2024 but is “prepared to meet customer demand as market conditions evolve” for both EVs and internal combustion engine vehicles this year.
While neither CEO Mary Barra nor Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson repeated during the company’s 2023 earnings call with Wall Street analysts Tuesday the longstanding goal to reach a 1-million EV annual rate by next year, a spokesman via email confirmed the automaker still expects to reach that milestone by the end of 2025.
Barra came under fire late last year for GM’s big investment in EVs—even raising speculation she might have to step down as CEO—but she said the automaker “remains committed” to becoming all-EV by 2035. While consumers wait for the nation’s EV recharging infrastructure to be built up, GM will add plug-in hybrid versions of its ICE vehicles in the coming years.
“We know the targeted segments we’re going to apply (PHEVs) to,” Barra said, but that will come later, she said, as EV ramp-up remains GM’s focus this year.
Chevrolet Blazer EV production launched in the fourth quarter is currently ramping up and the Chevy Silverado EV RST, GMC Sierra EV, Cadillac Escalade IQ, and Cadillac Celestiq are scheduled to launch in 2024. The Chevy Equinox EV (photo at top) begins production, too, with a starting sticker price of $34,995 (plus delivery), though the launch edition is priced at $48,995.
In the first half of this year, 15,000 Tesla Superchargers will open to GM customers. A collaboration with Pilot Company and EVgo will add an expected 3000 public DC fast chargers by the end of the year.
Touting its combined ICE and EV assembly plants in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, and Spring Hill, Tennessee, and its Factory Zero all-EV truck plant with separate lines, GM said it has the flexibility to change with the sales ups and downs of either type of powerplant.
New and updated ICE models this year include the upcoming Buick Enclave and the updated Chevrolet Traverse, with its new Z71 off-road trim level and optional Super Cruise driver assistance technology.
Regarding a question about dealers’ days’ supply, which dropped dramatically during the pandemic, CFO Jacobson said GM is pursuing a 50- to 60-day supply by the end of the year. That’s better for the automaker than pre-pandemic levels of 80 days or more for many high-volume models. This helps maintain “discipline” in regard to incentives, Jacobson said, which in turn means consumers shouldn’t expect heavy sticker discounting of the past.
Barra also came under fire last year for GM’s $8 billion investment in the Cruise autonomous car subsidiary, which suffered high-profile accidents and incidents in 2023. Barra promised new financial targets and a new “roadmap” for its future, coming this year.
“We are committed to Cruise,” Barra said. “The foundation of the technology is sound. Cruise is already safer than a human driver. … We’re working on a detailed plan on how to go forward.” The automaker will work closely with local, state and federal regulators, as well as first-responders to develop that new roadmap “in the coming weeks.”
After a high-profile crash last October in which a pedestrian was dragged repeatedly under a confused Cruise taxi, GM fired its CEO and other key leaders, and on Tuesday the automaker said it is reducing expenses by an estimated $1 billion this year, “and slow down the cash burn to align with a narrower focus in 2024.”
Cruise withdrew its robotaxis from the streets of San Francisco after the October accident.
An independent review by Quinn Emmanuel released by Cruise January 25 said Cruise’s failings following that accident was the result of “poor leadership, mistakes in judgment, lack of coordination, an ‘us versus them’ mentality with regulators and a fundamental misapprehension of Cruise’s obligations of accountability and transparency to the government and the public.” But it says Cruise leadership and employees did not “intentionally” mislead or hide details of the crash from regulators.
Barra said in the earnings call that GM will work closely with local, state, and federal regulators as well as first-responders to develop a new plan for Cruise “in the coming weeks.” After withdrawing from San Francisco last year following the October accident, Cruise backed off plans to quickly expand to as many as 20 cities across the US.
The pressure on Barra also follows a fiscal year in which GM’s US sales rose 14.1%, driving market share to 16.2%. Net income last year was $10.1 billion off $43 billion in total revenue despite, Jacobson said, the autumn United Auto Workers’ strike that cost it $900 million and lost the company an estimated 95,000 units of production.
For 2024, GM will spend $10.5 to $11.5 billion in capital expenditures, including joint-venture battery development. Jacobson said the company expects $12- to $14 billion in adjusted earnings before income taxes. The automaker expects the US industry will sell 16 million new cars and trucks this year, 10% of them EVs.