GM Delays Production of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra EV Pickup Trucks at Detroit Plant

Chevrolet Silverado EV 1 photo
Photo: Chevrolet
GM decided to push back the start of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV production. The car giant claims the decision has no connection with the ongoing UAW strike. Instead, they plan a factory retooling that will keep the production lines down until late 2025. 
General Motors cites the electric vehicle demand as well as the need for engineering upgrades. Production at the Orion Assembly plant in the Detroit area would thus be halted until late 2025. A spokesperson for GM explained that the move is meant to "better manage capital investment while aligning with evolving EV demand."

The company representatives claim that they have identified engineering improvement that they will need to implement in order to increase the profitability of the products it rolls out. Both electric pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the GMC Sierra EV, are built around the Ultium battery technology. Therefore, the production center does need a complete reorganization in terms of technical, financial, and human resources to be able to integrate the new tech.

There are around 1,000 employees currently working at Orion Assembly. They will be transferred to other assembly plants in Michigan, with Factory Zero in Detroit being on the list. It is the plant that is already building the Silverado EV along with the GMC Hummer electric pickup and SUV. To ramp up production, Factory Zero was planning to add a second shift in 2024, by the time the GMC Sierra EV will enter production there.

Once the retooling is completed, the employees will be able to return to the Orion plant. The production center will undergo a major makeover in order to be capable of building electric pickup trucks.

The move will take place after the production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV based on the older battery technology, will be phased out before the end of 2023. They will both be resurrected with the Ultimum-based tech, there is no information on when that will happen.

The retooling was originally scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2025. That is when the factory was set to resume production, according to a statement from Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability, for Automotive News.

But GM is now pushing back the date to the end of 2025. This means that production will be down at the plant for approximately two whole years. CEO Mary Barra announced that the employment at the Orion Assembly is expected to triple once it reopens, in order to keep up with the demand.

Last year, GM announced an investment of $4 billion to prepare the factory for the production of the two electric pickup trucks, the Silverado and Sierra EV.
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