GM confirms plan to build electric pickup

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News
General Motors is planning to build an electric pickup truck. The automaker declined to provide details on the new electric vehicle or the timing of its launch.

It's official: General Motors Co. is planning to build an electric pickup truck.

CEO Mary Barra confirmed the Detroit automaker's electrification plans on a conference call with investors Tuesday following first-quarter earnings results.

"GM has an industry-leading truck franchise and industry-leading electrification capabilities. I assure you we will not cede our leadership on either front," Barra said. "We intend to create an all-electric future that includes a complete range of EVs — including full-size pickups."

Barra said GM would share more on the electric pickup "when competitively appropriate." A GM spokesman declined to provide details on the new electric vehicle or the timing of its launch.

The announcement comes after talks between GM and the Plymouth-based electric-vehicle start-up Rivian appeared to fall apart. Crosstown-rival Ford Motor Co. said last week it would invest $500 million in Rivian to develop all-new battery-electric vehicles for the Blue Oval's portfolio.

Pickups are a key profit-driver for GM and its Detroit competitors. In the first quarter of 2019, pricey new GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups drove profits and offset costs.

GM is in the early stages of a plan to release 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. The automaker's next-generation EV architecture — which will debut on an all-new Cadillac model — is designed to support a variety of body styles. It will also be offered in front-, rear- and all-wheel drive configurations.

The Detroit automaker has been slowly restructuring its leadership to ready for this electrification pivot,  promoting former electric-vehicle development chief Pamela Fletcher to the senior leadership team in September and elevating former global product chief Mark Reuss to president of GM earlier this year. The Cadillac brand also moved under Reuss' supervision last year.

Twitter: @NoraNaughton