Mary Barra, President and CEO of General Motors, addresses investors October 6, 2021 at the General Motors Technology Center in Warren, Michigan.

Photo by Steve Ficht for General Motors

Detroit – general motors Chief Executive Mary Barra on Tuesday blamed a supplier of automation equipment for the slow increase in new electric vehicles from General Motors, after Wall Street slammed its rollout amid bold predictions that the company would catch up with the industry leader. Tesla.

Shares of General Motors fell nearly 4% in morning trading Tuesday despite quarterly results that topped last year’s performance. Analysts on the call questioned the company’s pricing strategies, EV profitability guidance and the ability to meet previously announced goals for the vehicles.

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“We experienced unexpected delays on the ramp because our automation equipment supplier was grappling with delivery issues constraining unit assembly capacity,” Barra said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

GM produced 50,000 electric vehicles during the first half of this year for North America, in line with internal targets but much slower than many expected. The majority of that production was outgoing Chevrolet Bolt models, rather than new electric cars that used the automaker’s “Ultium” batteries and technologies.

Barra, a former plant manager and automotive engineer, said she was “disappointed” with the unnamed supplier, and that she was personally involved in resolving problems and upgrading the automated lines. She said GM was “astonished” at how little progress the supplier had made.

The automaker expects significant production improvements through the end of this year, Barra said, with the constraints “essentially” behind the company by then, if not sooner.

“We’ve already seen a lot of improvement from, you know, the last four to six weeks; we’re going to continue down that path,” Parra said.

Despite the disruption in the battery modules, which comprise the vehicle’s battery cells, Barra said the company still plans to produce 100,000 vehicles in North America during the second half of this year, resulting in a cumulative 400,000 vehicle production by mid-2024.

“We’re not straying away from any of the goals we’ve set,” Parra said.

Revival Bolt

GM said those upcoming electric vehicles will eventually include a version of the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt EV.

In April, GM said it would end production of mainstream Bolt EV models by the end of this year to move production from the factory where they’re produced to electric trucks.

The Chevrolet Bolt EUV on display at the New York Auto Show, April 13, 2022.

Scott Mill | CNBC

Barra said plans to build the next-generation Bolt follow increased consumer demand for the vehicles after deep price cuts last year that made the cars the least expensive electric vehicles in the United States.

Barra said GM will update the vehicle with technologies from its new battery and software, known respectively as Ultium and Ultifi.

GM declined to release additional details about the next-generation Bolt, such as timing, price and production location.


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