PHOENIX — General Motors has received more than 65,000 reservations for its electric GMC Hummer pickups and SUVs, as the automaker attempts to expedite production of the vehicles to meet demand.
The reservations number is higher than the automaker’s initial expectations, according to Duncan Aldred, global vice president of GMC. The number of people converting their reservations into orders to buy the Hummer pickup, about 95%, is also higher than expected, he said.
“Production’s actually slightly ahead of plan and we’re putting things in place now to actually expedite that as well, so we can deliver these reservations quicker than we originally thought,” he told CNBC here during a media event. “We’re seeing momentum building.”
The Hummer EV pickup is for sale, but new orders would not likely be fulfilled until 2024 due to the number of current reservations, Aldred said. The SUV, which GM unveiled last year after the pickup, isn’t expected to arrive until 2023.
Reservations for the electric Hummers have largely been for the pickup because it was launched first, but newer reservations have been more evenly split between the truck and SUV, according to Megan Hart, assistant marketing manager for Hummer. The company declined to provide a specific breakdown between reservations of the pickup and SUV.
March has been the best month for reservations aside from when the vehicles were unveiled, Aldred said. GMC started advertising for the Hummer EV pickup late last month with NBA star Lebron James acting as a celebrity spokesman for the vehicle.
“What we’re looking at now is how can we build the maximum amount and how can we deliver, fulfill these reservations as quickly as possible?” Aldred said. “We’re doing all the studies on that and we’re confident we can go a lot quicker than we originally thought, but it still means a reservation now probably means delivering in ’24.”
Aldred said work to increase production includes obtaining additional supplies of key components, including battery cells.
GM is still in early days of production of the Hummer pickup at a plant in Detroit. Legacy automakers and new EV start-ups have conducted slower production ramp-ups of new electric vehicles than previous ones to conduct significant safety and quality control efforts.
GM sold one Hummer EV pickup in December. The Detroit automaker is expected to report its first-quarter sales, including Hummer EVs, on Friday.
The company is on track to produce more vehicles than it originally planned to, Aldred said. “And then similarly next year, we’re going to build quite significantly more than our original plan.”
The Hummer EV pickup is an important vehicle for GM. It is the first to include the Detroit automaker’s next-generation battery cells and platform, known as Ultium. It’s viewed as a new flagship product for the brand and company.
Due to the price of the vehicle, volumes are lower than other trucks, but it’s still profitable, Aldred said. GM is currently building a limited “Edition 1” launch version of the pickup that starts at $110,295. Other, lower-priced versions — ranging from about $80,000 to $100,000 — will follow.