GM’s 4Q16 earnings
So far in this series, we’ve seen how General Motors’ (GM) revenues rose but margins disappointed in 4Q16. The negative trend in its margins was primarily due to currency headwinds in the company’s international markets. In contrast, GM’s increasing retail vehicle sales in the US continued to have a positive impact on its margins. Now, let’s find out if GM is planning to expand its EV (electric vehicle) portfolio globally.
GM in EV segment
To demonstrate its potential in the EV segment, GM began first deliveries of its all-electric model, the Chevrolet Bolt EV car model in December last year. The production of this car model began in 4Q16 at the company’s Orion assembly plant.
The car will be sold under the brand name Opel Ampera-e in the Europe market. Chevrolet Bolt EV has a 238-mile driving range on a full charge. In the US, the car is sold with an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $36,620 before federal incentives. With this pricing, Chevrolet Bolt falls in a similar price bracket as Tesla’s (TSLA) upcoming Model 3.
Note that the Chevrolet Bolt is a mass-targeted EV, and it is already available in the US market, much earlier than Tesla Model 3. Tesla has promised to begin first deliveries of Model 3 towards the end of 2017.
During the 4Q earnings conference call, Mary Barra, GM’s chair and CEO, suggested that the company is receiving positive customer feedback for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. She added that this positive feedback “gives us the foundation to really push forward in electrification and be very successful from an electrification perspective leveraging our global scale, so that’s something that I think is a huge opportunity.”
This statement reflects GM’s intention to go global with its EV portfolio in the near future. However, it will be interesting to see how soon the company can act to capture a large EV segment market share globally.
Read on to the next part where we’ll discuss some key updates for GM’s autonomous vehicle development.