After having to delay the 2020 C8 Corvette due to the month-long United Auto Workers strike earlier this year, GM is blaming the union again for delaying the reveal of a new electric vehicle that was originally planned for next month’s CES.
The Corvette delay made sense, as there were no workers to upgrade factory production lines to build the new car, but it’s harder to see how the strike could have impacted the internal development schedule of a new electric car.
But here’s what GM had to say about the delay, from MotorTrend:
The original plan was to show a vehicle at CES, but that was before a lengthy strike during negotiations with the United Automobile Workers union (UAW).
“We had a plan to go to CES and frankly we can’t go to CES without putting our best foot forward and we could not get the models done that we wanted to get done with the strike, frankly,” explained spokesman Tony Cervone. “We had a plan, we worked like hell,” he said, but the automaker was not going to cross picket lines to move concepts out of studios or take dies out of plants to get the vehicle ready. “So we had worked as hard as we could with the infrastructure we had,” Cervone said. But time was not on their side and the automaker did not want to go to CES, which is a huge technology stage, with something that was not ready.
“We want to do it right because we’ve got a very powerful story to tell,” Barra told MotorTrend in an interview.
The new EV reveal was likely to be either some sort of Chevy Bolt-based autonomous car developed within GM’s Cruise—the driverless ride-sharing startup that GM acquired—or the as-of-yet unnamed electric crossover from Cadillac that was teased at last year’s Detroit Auto Show.
MotorTrend claims the latter may be the more likely candidate, as there’s already another event planned later in January for Cruise’s latest technology.
GM is also expected to debut an updated version of Super Cruise, the “hands-free” driver assistance technology currently only found in a handful of Cadillacs. The updated tech is expected to now feature automated lane changes, among other semi-autonomous features, but is still in no way intended to be completely “hands free” for the driver.
The MotorTrend story also features Barra confirming GM is moving past hybrid and plug-in hybrid models as fast as possible, as GM doesn’t think customers want to pay for the combined tech. (GM’s troubled history with hybrids, from Silverados to Volts, maybe points to this being more of a GM problem than a hybrid problem.) Instead, the company is pursuing electric cars as fast as possible. Just not at CES this year.