GM plans six-fold increase in 2022 electric truck, SUV production -sources

GM's CEO, Barra, speaks at an assembly plant in Michigan
General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra announces a major investment focused on the development of GM future technologies at the GM Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S. March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

DETROIT, Feb 8 (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) plans to increase production of electric trucks and Cadillac sport utility vehicles this year by more than six times the previously planned output, according to information shared with suppliers.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra told investors last week the automaker intended to accelerate production of electric vehicles, aiming to deliver 400,000 EVs in North America during 2022 and 2023. She did not give specifics for how quickly production rates would grow.

New details shared with suppliers indicate GM intends to increase production of its electric trucks and a new battery-powered Cadillac SUV to a total of 46,000 vehicles this year, up from a previous plan to build just 7,000 of those vehicles this year, according to information shared with suppliers.

GM is also expected to re-start production of its Chevrolet Bolt EVs. The Bolt line has been idledas GM replaces batteries in existing Bolts under a recall.

"As we have said, we have announced battery cell and assembly capacity investments that will give us more than 1 million units of EV capacity in North America by the end of 2025," GM said in a statement on Tuesday. "We now have teams working to accelerate all of our upcoming EV launches, and our target is to deliver 400,000 EVs in North America over the course of 2022 and 2023."

GM told suppliers to its electric GMC Hummer EV trucks to plan for production of 21,000 of those vehicles this year at the automaker's Factory Zero in Detroit, up from the previous plan to build 3,800 vehicles.

GM has reservations for nearly 59,000 GMC Hummer EV pickups and SUVs, Barra said last week. The company has reservations for more than 110,000 of the electric Chevrolet Silverado pickups due to start production next year, Barra said.

GM told suppliers for its Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV to gear up for production of 25,000 of those vehicles this year, up from the previous 3,200 planned, sources said. Barra said last week demand was strong for the Lyriq.

GM is responding not just to consumer demand, but to competitive pressure from long-time rival Ford Motor Co (F.N). Ford has said it plans to expand its EV production capacity to 600,000 vehicles a year by 2023. Ford began shipping electric Transit vans this week, and is aiming to begin delivering electric F-150 Lightning pickups this spring.

Meanwhile, electric vehicle market leader Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) is preparing to start production at its second U.S. assembly complex in Texas. Electric vehicle startups Rivian Automotive Inc (RIVN.O) and Lucid Group Inc (LCID.O) are also ramping up production of their respective trucks and luxury sedans.

(This story refiles to clarify in paragraph 6 that the planned production increase at Factory Zero is for GMC Hummer EVs, removes reference to Chevrolet Silverado trucks.)

Reporting by Joe White in Detroit Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Joe White is a global automotive correspondent for Reuters, based in Detroit. Joe covers a wide range of auto and transport industry subjects, writes The Auto File, a three-times weekly newsletter about the global auto industry. Joe joined Reuters in January 2015 as the transportation editor leading coverage of planes, trains and automobiles, and later became global automotive editor. Previously, he served as the global automotive editor of the Wall Street Journal, where he oversaw coverage of the auto industry and ran the Detroit bureau. Joe is co-author (with Paul Ingrassia) of Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American Automobile Industry, and he and Paul shared the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting in 1993.