The Detroit giant recently started production of the long-awaited Lyriq SUV/crossover, the car meant to compete with Tesla’s (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report Model Y SUV and Ford (F) – Get Ford Motor Company Report Mustang Mach-E SUV.
The Lyriq, Cadillac’s first electric vehicle, is ahead of schedule: GM intends to start delivering the first units before midyear.
The automaker will also resume production of its entry-level EV on April 4. Production of the Chevy Bolt sedan and Chevy Bolt EUV SUV has been suspended for several months over battery issues. The company had decided to halt production of the two EVs while it replaced defective batteries in cars that already had been sold, according to a recall notice.
(In fall 2023, the Bolt no longer will be GM’s entry-level EV. That distinction will go to what will be the Chevy Equinox EV.)
Yet another catalyst for GM: Demand for electric versions of the Hummer are exceeding the automaker’s most optimistic projections. In particular, reservations accelerated during March.
Reservations for the Hummer EV Speed Up
“Reservations are growing every day,” Chad Lyons, a spokesperson for GM, told TheStreet on Wednesday. “Today reservations are at 66K+ to be more precise.”
The reservation totals include the pickup and SUV versions of the Hummer EV, as well as the various trims, which consumers have been able to order for months.
The surge in electric-Hummer reservations coincides with the start of an advertising campaign with National Basketball Association star Lebron James as an ambassador.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra told analysts in February, during the fourth-quarter-earnings call, that GM had received more than 59,000 reservations for the GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV.
“Not surprisingly, some of the first owners (of the Hummer) are very prominent figures in the sports and entertainment industries, and their initial feedback has been just incredible,” Barra said at the time.
A few days ago, Duncan Aldred, global vice president of GMC, said the reservations totaled more than 65,000 units for electric GMC Hummer pickups and SUVs.
“Production’s actually slightly ahead of plan and we’re putting things in place now to actually expedite that as well, so we can deliver these reservations quicker than we originally thought,” Duncan told CNBC. “We’re seeing momentum building.”
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“Reservations are surpassing expectations, but I won’t quantify by how much,” the spokesperson confirmed to TheStreet.
The percentage of people converting their reservations into orders to buy the Hummer pickup — about 95% — is also higher than expected.
GM Ramps Up Production to Meet Demand
GMC, one of GM’s four brands, began producing the Hummer EV last year in Detroit and delivered a single unit in the fourth quarter. Deliveries were expected to ramp up this year.
The company is continuing to take reservations. But “if you reserve today, you’d see your vehicle delivered in 2024 because we have to build ahead of all the orders that have been placed by folks since October 2020, when we revealed the pickup and began taking orders,” the spokesperson said.
The company is “working hard to expedite deliveries as we ramp up production,” he added. Deliveries began in December 2021 “and continue to ramp up.”
He declined to say how many units GM currently produces and delivers each month, but the carmaker should disclose that data on April 1, in its first-quarter-delivery figures.
As we reported in February, GM told suppliers to its electric Hummer and Chevrolet Silverado trucks to plan for production of 21,000 of those vehicles this year. That’s more than five times the previous plan to build 3,800 vehicles.
Like other automakers, GM is facing disruptions in its supply chain and a surprise rise in the prices of raw materials, like nickel, palladium and aluminum, after Russia”s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is a major producer of nickel, a key element in the development of batteries.
The Hummer EV’s main rivals are Rivian’s (RIVN) – Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report R1T pickup, Ford’s long-awaited F-150 Lightning, and Tesla’s cybertruck. Tesla has pushed back output of the cybertruck several times.
The Hummer EV is initially available in a top-of-the-line $110,295 model, Edition 1, but GM planned to offer three cheaper variants with starting price at $80,000, $90,000 and $100,000.
The 2022 Hummer EV Edition 1, whose limited copies have long been reserved, has almost all the equipment available in addition to offering an extreme off-road package.
Like the 2023 EV3X Hummer model, its battery powers three electric motors that together generate close to 1,000 horsepower, enough to accelerate from 0 to 40 mph in just over three seconds.
In short, even in a 100% electric form, the Hummer remains a monster, as much by its physical bulk as its skills. The range is up to 329 miles.
The Hummer EV pickup will be followed by the Hummer EV SUV in 2023. The reservations for the first model, Hummer EV SUV Edition 1, with a starting price at $105,595, are full, according to GM. There are three variants with starting price at $80,000.