DETROIT — General Motors reiterated Tuesday that it is committed to an all-electric future and will increase production of its Bolt hatchback this year to meet worldwide demand.
The company’s sustainability report, presented in conjunction with its annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, said it will launch more than 20 new zero-emissions vehicles in global markets by 2023.
GM has been aggressive this year in its push for electric and autonomous vehicle development, Chairman and CEO Mary Barra noted in meeting with reporters.
“We are committed to an all-EV future and continue to work in that direction,” she said. “Just 10 days ago we had an important announcement of a partnership with SoftBank. So if you look at where we are, it’s a very exciting time.”
GM is not saying by how much volume it will ratchet up Bolt production, which it builds at its Orion Assembly plant in Lake Orion. But GM is “taking a percentage of that production and sending it overseas for example to South Korea,” said GM spokesman Tony Cervone. “We’re trying to fill the pipeline in some of the international countries.”
Cervone said demand for the Bolt is strong and the U.S. will get more of the cars towards year end. Last year, GM sold 23,297 Bolts in the US up/down.
But some shareholders at the meeting reminded the automaker to stay focused on its primary business model of making gasoline-powered cars. Some analysts agree.
“Mary Barra and GM are reinforcing their message and strategy to lead in electric and autonomous vehicles,” said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for AutoTrader in Detroit. “Yet GM’s most important launch comes this fall when it goes to market with the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Those trucks and the beefy profits they produce are the fuel to finance the high-tech future.”
In remarks to shareholders, Barra said GM recognizes the importance of a flawless launch of its new pickups this fall, adding, “These trucks will accelerate our profitability in the coming years.”
The company is on good footing, Barra said.
“We have a strong core business and are in a transformative era. We’re working to address the issues of crash-free and give people the choices of mobility. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of the company and our direction,” Barra said.
The sustainability report said GM now has 180 autonomous vehicles in test fleets in San Francisco, Phoenix and Detroit.
To be a leader in the electric vehicle market, GM said it has been partnering with utility companies, government agencies and other entities that help create the infrastructure to prepare U.S. and Chinese markets for electric vehicles.