General Motors executive Steve Carlisle anticipates a year of the vehicle launches. The executive vice president and president of GM North America spoke at the 2023 New York Automotive Forum to an audience of over 400 automotive industry leaders on April 4.
Carlisle leads GM sales, service and marketing across its full portfolio of automotive and connected services brands in North America, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, OnStar, ACDelco and GM Genuine Parts. Carlisle has also stepped in as interim CMO for all brands.
GM has jumped on board electrification, and the results of several years of development are rolling out in what Carlisle characterizes a “breakthrough year.” General Motors has pledged to transition its light-vehicle fleet to electric by 2035. This transformation of its lineup is a “coiled spring being released,” Carlisle said, setting the scene for the OEM to enter “launch mode.”
“It’s a terrific year for product launches,” Carlisle said. “There is an impressive number of EV launches this year, which will bring people into the showroom.”
GM is paying particular attention to truck consumers as they adopt electric vehicles. “We started with Hummer because we wanted no excuses,” Carlisle said. “This vehicle can do anything a truck can do and then some.”
When surveying truck customers in Texas, more than half said they were willing to consider going electric in their next purchase. “[The electric truck] does everything,” Carlisle said. “It has the towing. It has the payload. It has the performance.”
This is GM’s strategy in their transition to electric: no compromises for their customers.
“We don’t want the consumer to make any [trade-offs], that’s the formula,” Carlisle said.
Dealers and consumers alike know that the steady growth of electric requires infrastructure support. Carlisle agrees, “I would acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do. We are putting our shoulder behind the wheel from a consumer point of view.”
He listed GM’s goals to get each customer access to home charging, work with dealers to install community chargers, and partner with companies to create an interstate charger network.
The Affordability Crisis
Carlisle is optimistic about the state of the market today, citing quarterly sales consistent at 15 million and stable used car prices, while recognizing rising prices. “There are affordability constraints out there, and they are a concern in the market,” he said.
Carlisle defends the rising price tags on vehicles in the General Motors family as consistent with the current industry mix but says “that mix will change” and the GM vehicles will be part of that transition. The new Chevrolet Trax’s upcoming launch will have every price point under $30,000, he said, anticipating there will also be products like the Encore GX that will be priced around $20,000.
Improving inventory will help give consumers access to more affordable choices, and Carlisle says GM is still working to fill dealer lots. Their goal is to have two-thirds of inventory grounded at dealerships and one-third in transit. Currently, the ration is reversed.
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