There’s a quote attributed to Japanese Admiral Yamamoto at the end of the film “Tora, Tora, Tora” wherein, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he mourns what is to come by saying “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” He was talking about America and he was absolutely right (even if he probably only wrote it). Is General Motors a sleeping giant, finally filled with a terrible resolve? It’s a question I’m pondering this morning as we look at a mix of news from the automaker.
Plus, an update for BMW owners and a little tease of Chrysler’s future.
GM Revises 2023 Income Forecasts Up
Who, in this scenario, would be the Japanese? Arguably Tesla, which has ignited a price war with the world and already put automakers on notice by proving electric cars could be both marketable and extremely profitable. GM had a lead in EVs and didn’t really leverage it to its fullest potential because GM, much like pre-WWII America, was mired in complacency.
No more. General Motors is moving fast to be the automaker of the future and, in spite of numerous legacy problems at the automaker, is big enough not to ignore. To paraphrase former President Bill Clinton: There’s nothing wrong with GM that can’t be fixed by what’s right at GM. Specifically, GM has some of (if not the) best engineers in the world. [Editor’s Note: I consider GM to have the most engineering talent of any automaker on earth, bar none. Yes, none. When GM puts its mind to something — specifically a product with a narrow focus and not some watered down crossover that has to be everything to everyone — it can build world-beaters like the Camaro ZL1 and C6 Corvette. We’ve seen it time and again; GM can out-engineer everyone if it can aim its resolve in one clearly-defined direction. -DT].
After years of automakers telling us they planned to make less money, quarter after quarter, it’s newsworthy to see upward revisions. Here’s GM CEO Mary Barra’s letter to shareholders:
Once again, we delivered strong earnings thanks to healthy customer demand for our vehicles, our intense focus on operational excellence, and great teamwork between GM, our dealers, our suppliers and our unions. I want to thank everyone for their efforts.
Great examples include the way the GMI team has pivoted from restructuring the business to earning record profits, excluding China. It’s exciting to see early orders for the new Chevrolet Trax in Korea and the Chevrolet Montana in Brazil come in at a record pace.
In the U.S. market, we led the industry in retail and fleet deliveries, commercial deliveries and truck sales. We also earned the largest year-over-year increase in market share of any automaker with strong production and inventory discipline, and consistent pricing.
In addition, we delivered more than 20,000 EVs, thanks to the third consecutive quarter of record Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV deliveries and rising Cadillac LYRIQ sales. We are now #2 in the U.S. market, and we increased our EV market share by 8 percentage points.
As we look at the performance of the business and the opportunities ahead of us, we’re able to raise our full-year 2023 earnings guidance to a range of $11 billion – $13 billion.
Ok, let’s break this out:
- “excluding China” – We’ve touched on this already, but China is currently a disaster for foreign automakers. GM’s Q1 2023 “China equity income” dropped 65% to just $83 million, compared to 234 million in Q1 2022. Still, the rest of the world is looking alright.
- “Restructuring the business” – The company offered buyout packages to basically everyone worked there and 5,000 employees accepted. Assume most of those positions will not be filled.
- “In the U.S. market” – America’s back baby!
- “third consecutive quarter of record Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV ” – Ahh… hmmm.
A General Motors with more money to invest and an actual plan is something to behold, possibly. Buckle up.
GM Recalls 40,000 HD Silverados Over Risk Of Fires
If you own a big ol’ Chevy work truck (4500HD, 5500HD, 6500HD) built between 2019 and 2023 you might wanna check and see if you are part of a recall. Here’s the skinny on the wide trucks, from The Washington Post via The Detroit News:
The issue is tied to the vehicle’s brake pressure sensor assembly, which could allow brake fluid to leak into the brake pressure switch and cause an electrical short-circuit. That in turn could overheat the circuit, creating a fire risk whether the vehicle is being driven or parked.
Chevrolet dealers are to replace the cylinder pressure sensor and inspect the wire harness, replacing it if necessary. Any replacements should occur free of charge, the federal agency said.
That’s not terrible as far as recalls go. We’ve seen much worse.
Chrysler’s New Big Sedan Will Be An EV
Credit to Chrysler for stretching the Chrysler 300 from 2005 to this year, which is a long time (I graduated college in 2005, so it feels extra long). What will replace it? Who better to go inside Mopar than the folks at Mopar Insiders, who filed this juicy report:
At its recent dealer meeting in Las Vegas, Stellantis presented a preview of its upcoming products to its dealers in a secure, electronics-free environment. Among the products showcased was a new electric sedan from Chrysler.
According to several dealer sources, the upcoming Chrysler electric sedan resembles the images teased during Stellantis’ EV Day 2021 presentation. The presentation featured silhouettes of a sleek, fastback coupe-like sedan with Chrysler logos on the wheels.
Who knows how accurate this image from the Stellantis EV Day 2021 presentation is, but it’s an interesting thought. The fastback-y sedan is the general shape of all of these EVs and it makes sense to see the company leaning on its heritage. Chrysler is the farthest behind of all domestic U.S. legacy brands in terms of electrifications, though it’s the leader in plug-in hybrids thanks to the Jeep Wrangler.
If You’ve Got An Android Phone And A Newer BMW You Can Now Use Your Android Phone As A Key
Android users have it tough. They’re the green bubbles. The ruiner of text groups. Even worse, Android users don’t buy apps or subscriptions in the same way Apple users do, so they’re often last to new apps and technology. Rejoice, however, as BMW’s Digital Key Plus is now available on Android phones.
Just as a reminder of what this technology is, from BMW:
A smartphone with Digital Key Plus completely replaces the vehicle key with extended functionality made possible using ultra-wideband technology (UWB). This is a digital radio technology for close range with high bandwidth, which features very precise localisation with the maximum possible security. The precision of UWB also ensures that the risk of relay attacks, where the radio signal is jammed or intercepted, is virtually eliminated. The BMW Group worked in collaboration with key partners like Google to develop the corresponding specification with partners and established it as a global standard for the automotive industry via the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). The CCC is the global driving force for vehicle connectivity for all smart mobile devices.
The kicker here, of course, is that this same technology has been available on Apple phones since 2021. Poor green bubbles.
Is General Motors the automaker of the future or are they never gonna get it together?
Photos: GM, BMW, Stellantis
- Man Shares Photos Of His Honda S2000 On Bricks In His Own Garage, Says Thieves Busted A Hole Through The Wall
- Here Are All The Production Cars That Could Be The First To 300 MPH
- The Renault 5 Is Exactly The Kind Of Cool, Small EV The World Needs
- The Ineos Fusilier Is An All-Electric Or Range-Extended EV 4×4 Made For Big Adventures