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GM announces EV pick-up plant investment

$A3.25b investment to see GM produce all-electric pick-ups from 2021 onwards

28 Jan 2020

GENERAL Motors (GM) has announced a $US2.2 billion ($A3.25b) investment into its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which will be used to build a range of all-electric pick-ups and SUVs for the brand.


The American auto giant has signalled that its first zero-emissions vehicle will be built at the Michigan plant in 2021, taking the form of a pick-up truck.


While GM is yet to detail which pick-up will receive the EV treatment first, there are a number of potential candidates in the Chevrolet range such as the Colorado mid-sizer, or the larger Silverado workhorse that ranges from the most light-duty 1500 up to the tow-friendly 3500HD.


Given that HSV manufactures the Silverado 2500 and 3500 for right-hand drive at its factory in Melbourne, there is also the chance that at some point in the future, a pure-EV version could join the production line.


The plant will also help to build a number of other electric vehicles across various body styles, starting with the Cruise Origin self-driving electric shuttle, whose platform will be used to underpin multiple other EVs.


Other brands under the GM umbrella will also have EVs built here, such as Cadillac which has an EV planned for 2021, or GMC which produces the Sierra, a rebadged version of the Silverado.


The rumour mill has also been going into overdrive that the GM-owned Hummer brand will be reborn as an EV truck manufacturer, which is expected to be announced via a Super Bowl commercial featuring NBA superstar LeBron James.


Along with its considerable investment, GM will also set aside an additional $US800 million ($A1.18b) for supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of the new electric pick-up.


Significant upgrades will be made to the plant, which is currently being used to build the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala and has produced over four million vehicles since opening in 1985.


The renovations will begin at the end of February, which will stay idle for several months while the upgrades are put in place, including significant improvements to the plant’s paint and body shops.


Once reopening, the plant will increase its manpower from 900 employees to 2200, creating what the company calls “good-paying US manufacturing jobs”.


The recent manufacturing investment comes hot on the heels of GM’s announcement that it will invest $US1.5b ($A2.18b) securing the future of its mid-size Colorado pick-up, including a $US1b ($A1.45b) upgrade of its Wentzville plant in Missouri.


It also announced a joint-venture partnership with LG Chem in December worth $US2.3b ($A3.37b) to mass-produce low-cost batteries for future EVs.


GM president Mark Reuss said the latest investment brought the company closer to its long-term goal of zero-emissions motoring.


“Through this investment, GM is taking a big step forward in making our vision of an all-electric future a reality,” he said.


“Our electric pickup will be the first of multiple electric truck variants we will build at Detroit-Hamtramck over the next few years.”

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