GM’s Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson answered investor questions at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference earlier this month and admitted that the automaker had faced some “startup challenges” when it came to EV production.
Fielding a question about the Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq on how it looked like GM was “still attempting to scale both vehicles,” Jacobson said:
“We’ve had some startup challenges… in particular with a supplier [and] the technology around module creation – this is taking cells from module to pack – that’s created a bit of a bottleneck in the process.”
He went onto reassure attendees: “We’ve identified it [the problem], we’ve attacked it.”
In 2022, GM delivered 122 Lyriqs. This July, it delivered over 1,000 Lyriqs, which was below the firm’s expectations. Jacobson said the automaker was trying to drive that volume up.
The Lyriq is Cadillac’s first EV and was sold out in ten minutes when reservations were made available back in September 2021. Buyers were mostly from the younger generation, split between Gen x and Millennials, Bloomberg reports. This is notable since the average age of a Cadillac buyer is in their mid-50s.
However, customers have faced a lengthy wait due to a sluggish start at the Ultium plant in Ohio, US, amid software issues with the vehicle.
“The supply side is taking hold,” Jacobson continued. “It’s certainly been slower than we wanted it to. Any type of startup has growing pains and we haven’t been immune to that.”
On the upside, customer reception was positive, and Jacobson was confident about the outlook. “We feel very good about the demand set that’s coming to market”, he said. “Our biggest challenge is that we haven’t been able to produce them [EVs] fast enough.”
Concerns and criticisms around GM’s EV production have been circling for a while.
Earlier this year, CEO Mary Barry blamed a supplier for GM’s electric vehicles being slow out of the starting block.
The automaker produced 50,000 EVs in H1 2023 for North America and is still targeting to make 100,000 vehicles for the region for H2 2023. Its target for North America is 400,000 cumulative electric vehicles by mid-2024.