General Motors (GM) believes it has the manufacturing capacity within its existing network as the transition to EVs heats up. The automaker does not plan to close or open new plants as it looks to maximize efficiency within its current footprint.
GM’s top manufacturing executive, Gerald Johnson, told Automotive News in a recent interview the company looks to use its existing manufacturing network as it converts its lineup to electric.
After selling over 20,000 EVs for the first time in Q1, GM anticipates a breakout year with several new high-volume electric models launching.
Although the American automaker is discontinuing its bestselling Chevy Bolt EV and EUV models at the end of the year, GM is preparing for an all-electric future based on its Ultium platform.
Chevrolet is launching several new Ultium-based EVs later this year, including the Silverado EV (deliveries starting this quarter), Blazer EV (launching this summer), and the Equinox EV (launching this fall).
Unlike rival Ford, who is building an all-new $5.6 billion EV mega-campus in Tennessee, GM plans to convert its plants as it shifts to EVs.
GM will convert plants amid EV shift, no closures planned
GM revealed in 2020 that it would convert its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center into its first dedicated EV assembly plant, Factory Zero.
During the announcement, Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America Manufacturing, said, “Factory Zero will serve as GM’s flagship assembly plant in our journey to an all-electric future.”
Some of the first EVs built at the factory include the GMC Hummer EV and SUV, which will soon be joined by electric Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
After ending production of the Chevy Bolt EV later this year, the Orion Assembly plant will support future EVs built on the Ultium platform.
At its Spring Hill, Tennessee, facility, GM is building the electric Cadillac Lyriq as it phases out gas-powered models. GM also invested nearly $500 million into its Marion Metal Assembly plant to prepare the facility for an all-electric future.
Johnson said this week in an interview at Flint Assembly:
I’m sure we will do more all-EV plants, but we assess every plant based on its infrastructure and what it can handle and what we can convert, [refurbish] or maybe even just expand slightly so that we can accommodate what we need for EV production and for ICE production.
GM’s manufacturing leader added he does not see the automaker closing any facilities. Instead, they are working on using them as efficiently as possible. He said, “Right now, we believe we have the right bandwidth to support the balance,” although he clarified forecasting is not a perfect science and adjustments may need to be made.