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Commentary & Voices

Cox Automotive Commentary: GMC Hummer EV Launch


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Update – During Game 1 of the World Series last night, General Motors was hoping for a win as they showed for the first time the all-new GMC Hummer EV. GM is already calling it “the world’s first all-electric supertruck” and intends to have it in showrooms within a year, a fall 2021 launch. 

In fact, the new Hummer EV is just one of many EVs coming down the road in the next 36 months. It’s certainly not the only EV planned by General Motors. Far from it. GM is directing serious money toward a collection of new EVs and advanced battery technology. Ahead of the Hummer EV launch, GM confirmed a $2-billion manufacturing investment, with much of that money directed toward the Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant to support Cadillac’s newest EV, the Lyriq, which will launch in 2022. Spring Hill will be GM’s third plant in the U.S. capable of producing EVs.

This year, according to a count by our Kelley Blue Book team, there are 19 EVs for sale in the U.S. By 2023, there will be 62, a three-fold increase. Electric pickups are a big part of the story. In addition to the new GMC truck, the market has fresh EV pickups coming from Ford and Tesla, and there are a number of startups as well, although those plans seem to change frequently as Nikola founder Trevor Milton might tell you.

We asked our analysts and experts their thoughts on the GMC announcement. Here’s what they had to say.

Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader
The Hummer EV proves what I’ve been saying all along – legacy automakers are in the best position to own the future of personal transportation and mobility. They have the R&D, the manufacturing experience and strong retail and distribution channels. They have real product experience. Two features on the Hummer EV prove this – Super Cruise and the MultiPro tailgate. Both are next-level tech, both leverage the long reach and MASSIVE experience wielded by GM. Who else has true hands-free driving right now? Tesla? Nope. Cadillac. Regardless of how the Hummer EV sells, this thing just laid down the first stripes on the road to the future.

Allyson Harwood, associate editor, Kelley Blue Book
According to the initial specs provided by GMC, the Hummer EV has the performance that truck people are interested in. If it’s as capable as similar gas-engine trucks off-road, and has a real-world range that buyers expect, this could be a significant step in enticing truck buyers to buy an EV.

Zo Rahim, manager, economic and industry insights, Cox Automotive
The past decade has seen the rise of light trucks, with the rapid growth of utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The decade ahead will be all about electrified light trucks. Perhaps reluctantly, OEMs have realized the future is electric and look to light trucks as a bridge to get there. GM’s investment into an electric Hummer is testament that American muscle and power doesn’t have to mean a large engine – it can be a bad-@ss battery as well.

Eric Ibara, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book 
Total Cost to Own continues to be one of the big stories with EVs. Currently, traditional gas-fed vehicles have the edge because of lower vehicle depreciation levels, but that could change as a new generation of EV models come to market with better technology and better range. In terms of operating costs, EVs are a much better solution, particularly in markets were gasoline is more than $3 per gallon.

Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, Cox Automotive
The path to success for electric vehicles will be built on strong brands. Tesla’s success is largely a brand story, with owners and fanatics alike forgiving product shortcomings, blinded by brand love. And Ford is lending the Mustang name to give its upcoming EV SUV a branding edge. Now GM resurrects the Hummer name to give it some branding oomph. Younger consumers may have little or no experience with Hummer, but the brand is likely still powerful with mature customers – those likely in a financial position to drive a new GMC Hummer EV. GM can build a capable EV. The Hummer brand will help sell it.

For further analysis of the EV market, check out The EV Decade Has Arrived.

If you would like to speak with one of the expert analysts from Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or any member of the Cox Automotive Industry Insights team, please contact us.

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