GMC says a full-size electric pickup is on the way

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — GMC confirmed Monday that it will offer a full-size electric pickup, though General Motors Co.'s premium truck and SUV brand didn't provide timing on when to expect the vehicle. 

"Not only will we be offering electrification in the form of the Hummer truck and SUV, but we'll also be revealing and confirming a GMC electric version of the pickup truck, as well, in due course," GMC Global Vice President Duncan Aldred said during a business update call with media. 

The news comes as GMC is prepping GM's Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center for production of the GMC Hummer EV truck to start later this year. The plant will also make an SUV version of the Hummer, an electrified Chevrolet Silverado and the Cruise Origin, an autonomous, electric shuttle.

It also comes as other automakers — including rival Ford Motor Co. — are planning production of their electric trucks for a segment that could have as many as 10 entrants in the next few years.

Other details about the GMC-branded pickup — whether it will also be called Sierra, its price, and where it will be built — were not revealed. 

AutoForecast Solutions expects production of the electric GMC pickup to start in September 2023 at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, less than a year after the forecasting firm says the Silverado will start production there in November 2022, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast.

GM has not said when production of the electric Silverado will start, but has confirmed it will be made at the Detroit plant. 

The GMC electric truck will hit the market with several others already out there. Startups Rivian and Lordstown Motors Corp. are supposed to deliver electric trucks this September. Ford plans to start selling its electric F-150 Lightning by mid-2022. And Stellantis NV recently confirmed it would have an electric version of its Ram pickup by 2024.

The electric trucks are coming even though right now they are an "unproven market," Fiorani said. 

"However, the commercial market seems to be nicely suited for electric vehicles," he added. "Having truck users who drive back and forth between construction sites ... they tend to know where they're going, that they're going to be on a short route and going to be heading back home every night to charge. It seems to be the perfect use for an electric vehicle at this point."

Aldred noted that the truck segment is big, representing about 15% of the retail industry and doesn't have many entrants compared with other segments.

"We're already showing our excellence in terms of electrification — we've done that through Hummer EV. Obviously that's going to give us a real platform of knowledge with our dealers, and beginning to get our customers aware of it," he said. "We've already shown what we can achieve over many, many years in terms of product excellence within pickup trucks, and so you add the two together and I'm very confident GMC will be a big winner in this space."

In 2021, GMC had its best first-half retail sales (245,099 units) and market share (3.5%) since 2005, 

despite low inventories due to the semiconductor shortage plaguing the industry. Generally, GMC has been running on inventory levels of between 10-to-15 days' worth this year, Aldred said, when typically there would be 90 days. 

"With the chip-related shortages and ... just the levels of demand that we've seen, we've remained at that low level of inventory, but the fantastic thing is, as with any strong brand in any industry, you can basically adapt to the situation," Aldred said. "Customers really want the product and they're prepared to to wait for the product in some instances, and our dealer network has also become very adept at selling vehicles way before they actually arrive in the dealership."

Twitter: @bykaleahall