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GM says EVs are the future — but trucks are going to take it there

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In the PowerPoint deck for the

General Motors

Capital Markets Day presentation, one of the more disturbing things comes early on, during


President Mark Reuss’ initial remarks, in an area where he is discussing the company’s overall strength in trucks. The point being made is that GM has a truck for all and sundry. And there it is, a phrase on a slide that should send chills up the spines of those who still pine for the old Bob Seger “Like a Rock” Silverado ads:

“Little bit country. Little bit rock ‘n’ roll.”

That’s right. Donny and Marie.

Somehow the Denis Leary snark in the


ads is all the more appealing.

The Capital Markets Day presentation was chock full of observations about electrification and automation (Reuss and CEO Mary Barra both noted that the corporation’s vision is one of “Zero Crashes. Zero Emissions. Zero Congestion.” Dan Ammann talked about the progress being made at Cruise Automation; Reuss rolled out the plan for an array of electrified vehicles, with

a luxury EV

and a compact SUV being the “Centroid Entries” for the modular bases of many others). But it is worth noting that there is no getting away from the power of pickups in the U.S. market, as that was the central topic in Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara’s comments, with “Truck Franchise” being flanked by “Key Financial Priorities” and “Financial Outlook.”

Clearly, to gloss the old phrase, the truck segment is where the money is.

Suryadevra enumerated how the truck segment is significantly different than other types of light vehicles. Among her points:

  • GM, Ford and FCA have more than 90% of market share.
  • The truck parc has been growing and aging over the past 10 years.
  • Customers are fiercely loyal to the segment—as in 70% of truck buyers are truck buyers.
  • A good number of the vehicles are for commercial use (40 percent).
  • Trucks are “less prone to. . .mobility disruption.”
  • Trucks offer high margins.


  • The segment is one that they’re solidly positioned in.
  • There are lots of old trucks on the road that will need to be replaced by new ones.
  • Perhaps buyers may switch from a Sierra to a Canyon, but it will be a truck.
  • If your livelihood depends on that type of vehicle, even if gas prices go up or the economy begins to go south, you’re going to stick with it.
  • Most of the country isn’t San Francisco, so trucks will continue to be essential.
  • And, well, they’re profitable in the extreme.

So while the future may be electric and automated (at least that’s probably want investors want to hear), getting to the future is going to take trucks, and GM isn’t losing sight of that.

But they really need to rethink that Donny and Marie thing.

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