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GM Is Eyeing A Move Towards Hybrid Production

If you want to know how times change, follow the trends. In the case of the automotive industry, car makers are shuffling and refocusing their production efforts in the wake of declining electric vehicle (EV) sales. Some, like Ford, are repurposing their production facilities to shift towards more internal combustion engine (ICE) production, while others, like Toyota, concentrate on their hybrid vehicles.

According to a report from Motor1, General Motors, who recently closed out their first month of successful hydrogen fuel-cell production in a joint venture with Honda, is looking to focus more on hybrid production.

GM Changes Their Tune On Hybrids

GM President Mark Reuss announced 2018 that his company would not invest in producing hybrid vehicles and would focus their production resources on making EVs instead. It’s a sentiment that Reuss doubled down on in 2021 when he said, “A couple of years ago,” GM decided “that we weren’t going to get into a large hybrid or plug-in hybrid play but rather go right to pure battery electric vehicles.”

However, as market trends shift, so do automaker’s plans, as GM CEO Mary Barra revealed to investors during a briefing this past Tuesday. While Barra did not reveal any specifics about GM’s new hybrid plan, she did hint that to comply with strict federal emissions regulations, they would produce plug-in hybrid electric versions of certain vehicles in North America.

According to Motor1’s report, Barra clarified to the public and investors that GM is still committed to eliminating vehicle emissions by 2035. The shift to focus on producing hybrids for particular segments of their lineup is an interim solution. GM’s Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said of this shift, “We know the EV market is not going to grow linearly. We are prepared to flex between ICE and EV production.”

However, a report from Motor Trend points out that while Barra’s hybrid comments have made a stir this week, GM has not announced any changes to their 2024 release plans. So, GM manufacturing and releasing new hybrid vehicles will not happen before next year and could take even longer than that.

While the only hybrid that GM currently sells in the US is the 2024 Corvette E-Ray, it does offer a plug-in hybrid Chevy Equinox SUV in China that could be a likely candidate for US distribution. There’s also Buick’s Velite 6 plug-in hybrid sedan, available in China, that GM could offer US buyers not looking to purchase a sports car with a six-figure price tag.

It’s worth noting that GM has faced significant EV troubles recently. For example, the company hit the brakes on its Chevy Blazer EV after numerous reports of software issues and, before that, announced that they would be delaying the release of their Chevy Silverado EV by a full year in October due to engineering challenges and dwindling market demand.

Author: Jarret Hendrickson

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