General Motors expects the large, gasoline-burning pickups and SUVs that are helping to fund its switch to electric vehicles to continue making big money for years to come.
The automaker’s commitment this month of more than $2 billion toward building its next-generation full-size pickups and SUVs all but ensures these internal combustion- powered vehicles will be rolling off assembly lines well into the 2030s.
And, labor experts say, the investment flurry amounts to GM’s opening move in this year’s contract talks with unions in the U.S. and Canada, aiming to assuage concerns that employees won’t have jobs in the future at internal combustion factories.
“We want to find a solution that’s good for our employees, good for the company, because we need to continue to reinvest,” Barra said of union negotiations. “Right now, we’ve made some important announcements about reinvesting in these plants because I think job security is very important. To do that, the company has to be successful so we can continue to develop new products that customers want to buy.”
The large pickups and SUVs built at plants in Michigan, Texas, Indiana and Ontario, are key contributors to GM’s profitability. The automaker did not discuss details or production timing of the redesigned light- and heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra or its Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUVs.
But Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, said next-generation Silverado and Sierra pickup production is projected to start in 2027, with production of the overhauled SUVs to follow in early 2028. Based on a typical life cycle, that timing would keep those vehicles on assembly lines through at least the early 2030s, if not longer, he said, because it will take time to develop electric versions that can accommodate owners’ hauling and towing needs.
“For years, they have been worried about all the rumors that it takes fewer people to build an electric vehicle, so when you hear that as an assembly line worker, you fear for your job,” Fiorani said. Seeing the company invest billions of dollars in internal combustion plants “calms your nerves, at least for this contract.”