|GM's Detroit-Hamtramck will be the home of electric pickup trucks / Photo Credit: Smile Fight (via Shutterstock)|
General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant has a 35-year history of being a cutting edge automaker, albeit with mixed results, wrote Sam Abuelsamid of business news platform Forbes. GM hopes to break that late next year as soon as its factory officially becomes its first electric vehicle only facility. Detroit-Hamtramck will also be the home of electric pickup trucks, SUVs, and its Cruised Origin automated vehicle. Detroit-Hamtramck would also build its electric pickup truck after GM settled a six-week strike with the United Auto Workers. In 2019, GM announced that the products being manufactured in Detroit, including the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac CT6, would cease. Under the new union contract, GM agreed to build electric pickups in Detroit, which has been extended to include SUVs and Origin.
When the plant first opened in 1985, then GM CEO Roger Smith considered it as a “showcase for the future of the company.” The plant was designed as “one of the most highly automated car factories in the world” with automated guided vehicles moving around delivering vehicles and parts to assembly stations. When Elon Musk attempted to over-automate Model 3 assembly at Tesla’s factory years ago, things didn’t go so well.
GM has learned new things since then. It now hopes that the $2.2 billion investment in the plant known within the firm as DHAM will have a better return. Presently, the plant is down to just one shift of production with 900 employees manufacturing the CT6 and Chevrolet Impala. Once it has been re-tooled for assembly of electric vehicles and battery packs, GM hopes to hire 2,200 people on multiple shifts. GM’s new electric pickup trucks are slated to begin production at DHAM in the second half of 2021 followed by SUVs and the “purpose built” automated vehicle for Cruise. GM also reportedly thinking of reviving the dormant Hammer brand for its electric trucks and utilities.
Nevertheless, GM’s new EVs will be entering a crowded and unproven market for electric trucks along with vehicles from Ford, Rivian, and Tesla, which are all in production. GM’s plant is a joint venture of LG Chem and GM.