CNET Road Show reports that General Motors has cancelled its planned appearance at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. As cars become more like computers on wheels, CES has become almost as important to automakers as traditional auto shows. General Motors chose to introduce the Chevy Bolt at CES three years ago rather than at the Detroit auto show, for instance.
GM CEO Mary Barra was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the show this year, but those plans have been scrapped. In a statement, GM told Road Show, “There was a plan for GM to have a presence at CES 2020, but plans changed and while we will still support the event, our overall involvement has been reduced from our original plans.” The company declined to discuss what the subject of that speech was supposed to be.
Axios reports that Barra was supposed to feature several electric car prototypes expected from General Motors in coming years. But GM says the recent 6-week strike by the United Auto Workers prevented those prototypes from being completed in time for the show.
Electric Pickup News
The internet is buzzing with news about electric pickup trucks from Tesla, Ford, and Rivian. Now Forbes says The General is thinking of relaunching its Hummer brand to offer an electric pickup of its own. Jeff Schuster, an industry analyst with LMC Automotive, told the Detroit News recently to expect a Hummer-branded electric pickup and SUV by late 2021. Readers may recall that GM was considering a partnership with Rivian but broke off those negotiations. Shortly thereafter, Ford swooped in and made a half billion dollar investment in Rivian.
Hummer still has some significant brand equity as a maker of tough, go anywhere (and gas guzzling) vehicles. “Putting a Hummer badge on anything is a great idea for General Motors because half the marketing is already paid for,” says Sam Fiorano, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at Forecast Solutions. He adds the Hummer brand would find more acceptance from truck buyers than vehicles carrying a Cadillac or GMC badge.
In October, Reuters reported on GM’s “BT1 electric truck/SUV” program which will include a $3 billion investment in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant to convert it to manufacturing electric trucks and vans.
We tend to think of General Motors as dragging its feet when it comes to building and marketing competent, compelling electric cars. Could the sleeping giant actually be thinking of joining the EV revolution? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.