(Jan 25): General Motors Co (GM) said Tuesday (Jan 25) it will invest US$7 billion (RM29.33 billion) in Michigan, much of that aimed at dramatically boosting production of full-size electric pickups, intensifying a battle with Detroit rival Ford Motor Co for EV supremacy in North America.
Both US automakers, however, will have to contend with current leader Tesla, which will soon open a second US plant in Austin, Texas, and is on pace to sell more than one million electric vehicles globally in 2022.
GM said its Detroit-Hamtramck and Orion Township plants will be able to build more than 600,000 electric trucks a year by late 2024, with three other plants in Tennessee, Ontario and Mexico boosting the company’s total North America EV production capacity to more than a million units by late 2025.
In January, Ford said it will have the annual capacity to build 600,000 electric vehicles, including 150,000 F-150 Lightning pickups, within 24 months, when it aims to become “the clear No 2 electric vehicle maker in North America” behind Tesla.
Last year, Ford said it would invest more than US$11 billion in new electric truck and battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, along with Korean partner SK Innovation.
In a statement, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra on Tuesday said GM’s latest investment “solidifies our path toward U.S. EV leadership by mid-decade”.
The investment includes US$2.6 billion with Korean partner LG Energy Solution in a new battery cell plant in Lansing that will supply Orion Township and other GM assembly plants when it opens in late 2024.
GM also is spending US$4 billion to overhaul and expand the Orion plant, which will build different variants of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra electric pickups, President Mark Reuss said in a media briefing.
Reuters previously reported many of the details of the new investment in Michigan.
Reuss declined to provide details on incentives provided by Michigan to secure the GM investments, which include more than US$500 million in two Lansing plants that currently build combustion-engine vehicles. Michigan officials said the state contributed US$824 million in incentives, in part to support 4,000 new GM jobs.
He also declined to say how much longer GM plans to build the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV at Orion. A GM press release said production of the two electric vehicles “will continue during the plant’s conversion”.
The Lansing battery cell plant will be the third US plant built by Ultium Cells, the GM-LG joint venture, which is also constructing similar facilities in Lordstown, Ohio, and Spring Hill. A fourth North American battery plant is planned.
GM said last June it would boost electric and autonomous vehicle spending to US$35 billion through 2025, a 30% jump over its prior forecast.
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