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Even with the shift towards the auto industry to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), many automakers are turning it into a slow burn. We have brands like Kia going full-tilt, and having done so for years, and then we have high-performance names like Dodge that stretched out the gasoline-powered machines as long as they could, ending with the “Last Call” Dodge SRT Demon 170 model. With many vehicles entering a new generation of BEVs, others are still releasing new generations of their favorite internal combustion engine (ICE) models, like General Motors, parent-group of Chevrolet. Investing $1 billion to upgrade two plants in Flint, Michigan, the automaker is preparing for its next generation of heavy-duty pickups, but they’re not electric.
Of the $1 billion investment, $788 million is going towards the Flint Assembly plant to focus on redesigning the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickup trucks. Expanding the body shop and general assembly conveyor, this should help with production and meeting target goals. $233 million is set to go to the automaker's Flint Metal Center, responsible for the production of sheet metal stampings, to construct new stamping dies, press improvements, and equipment. In addition to these investments, the automaker has plans to invest more than $100 million to update its Davison Road Processing Center near Flint. It’s all a part of a $918 million investment announcement for plants in Michigan, Ohio and New York.
"Today we are announcing significant investments in Flint to strengthen our industry-leading full-size pickup business by preparing two plants to build the next-generation ICE HD trucks…These investments reflect our commitment to our loyal truck customers and the efforts of the dedicated employees of Flint Assembly and Flint Metal Center." - Gerald Johnson, GM's executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability
Oh, let it go already, Johnson! The future is electric, but here we are. Investing more than $30.5 billion in its manufacturing and parts distribution sites, GM announced a $579 million at its Flint Engine Operations to build the new sixth-generation small-block V8 engine. We all remember the mid-engine C8, don’t we? Released in 2020, the Chevrolet Corvette C8 become a much sought-after muscle car. Entering the eighth generation, the 2020 Mid-Engine stood out as a 490hp 5.5-liter V8 engine, ending a tradition of 70 years. Able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, however, it ended any doubts real fast.
The next big move is for HD pickup trucks, and after selling 287,869 heavy-duty pickups in the U.S. last year, GM definitely isn’t going to just lay down on that 37-percent increase (from 2021). If anything, that’s even more reason for the automaker to continue selling ICE pickup trucks. Regardless, Chevrolet has plans to electrify many of its old-time favorites, such as the all-new Silverado EV, all-electric Blazer, and all-electric Equinox. So, no, GM and Chevrolet aren’t avoiding BEVs…they’re just following where the money currently is.
Aside from the new generation of HD pickup trucks still being ICE vehicles, GM is reluctant to share details about the trucks or disclose when they should go on sale. Nothing worse than biting off more than you can chew and then not being able to deliver, especially for an automaker, and especially after the semiconductor shortage caused many automakers to miss target production goals or delete new features entirely. We should know more later this year (2023), so follow along with us on NowCar social media to find out when GM shares more information about its next-generation HD pickup trucks.