General Motors has postponed production of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra electric pickups until 2025, one year later than originally expected.
The delay will force the automaker’s Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, currently building the last wave of Bolt EVs, to close in the coming months, although the facility will reopen once retooled. The factory’s team of roughly 1,000 employees is to be relocated to nearby GM operations.
The two trucks would have helped the company capture market share from the electric pickups segment, which currently is occupied by only a few competitors, namely Ford and Rivian. Although Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised a Cybertruck release slated for 2024, it is still uncertain whether deliveries will start before General Motors begins building the postponed models, given the EV brand’s history of delays.
Kevin Kelly, a GM spokesperson, denied that the decision to idle the Orion Assembly plant was influenced by the ongoing United Auto Workers strike. “This has nothing to do with labor negotiations or the strike,” he noted. Rather, Kelly said the electric pickups were postponed to accommodate disappointing EV sales. “We’re looking at EV demand and the trendline for EVs is stabilizing. It is not rising as fast as originally forecasted.”
While the decision to delay the production of its electric pickups may be coincidental, the United Auto Workers strike is having an undeniable impact on the company’s other plans. On Wednesday, General Motors revealed it would reschedule its yearly Investor Day to sometime in November to give its leadership more time to negotiate with union leaders. Out of all Detroit-Three automakers, GM has been one of the most persistent holdouts in talks with the UAW despite incurring heavy losses from the strike. The manufacturer is expected to release its quarterly earnings report next week.