General Motors to Build Two Bolt-based Crossovers, Considers the Data-mining Business

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
general motors to build two bolt based crossovers considers the data mining business

General Motors CEO Mary Barra outlined the company’s vision of the future at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York on Wednesday. While the majority of her speech adhered to GM’s current mantra of “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” we also got a taste of what that thinking might yield on a shorter timeline.

In early October, GM expressed its intention to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. However, we didn’t get any specific details on the matter. That changed this week. Barra claims the manufacturer will introduce three new electric models by 2020, with two of them being crossovers. The trio will share share basic components with the Chevrolet Bolt.

These models will be followed by a new electric vehicle platform in 2021, with cheaper and more efficient battery cells. The EV architecture is intended to serve as a base for at least nine models — ranging from a massive seven-seat luxury SUV to a very compact crossover.

However, GM also speaks of “adjacent businesses.”

The automaker is sticking with plans to evolve its ride-sharing platform, Maven, and intends to make vehicle connectivity commonplace in all of its future models. Both projects provide varied revenue sources intended to make investors drool with anticipation. While Maven is supposed to reach a few major metropolitan areas over the next few years, car connectivity is likely to become ubiquitous sooner than later.

GM sees data acquisition as a huge financial opportunity. By launching 13 million connected cars over the several years, the company thinks it can accrue wealth through an in-car digital marketplace that sells apps and services. Afterward, it can collect driver data (purchasing choices, driving habits, etc.), sell it off to whoever wants it (including insurance companies), and potentially issue in-car advertisements — something it is already pursuing with help from IBM.

While I absolutely hate this idea, it makes smart business sense and could potentially make the manufacturer truckloads of money. It’s also one of the better ways to help field autonomous vehicles, which is another avenue GM is frantically looking to go down and has had some previous success with. Some experts have suggested self-driving cars won’t be totally effective until all cars possess a moderate level of interconnectedness, and General Motors seems to be in agreement.

As the context of the meeting was to entice investors, we have to take everything stretching beyond the next five years with a grain of salt. However, even though Barra didn’t say so explicitly, GM does appear to be shifting its focus toward mobility — streamlining its core business to advance future technologies.

[Source: Reuters] [Image: General Motors]

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  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Nov 16, 2017

    An EV crossover is clearly needed. You can't cry "Midsize sedan deathwatch!" in one sentence and then "GM will fail if they make an EV CUV!" in the next. You just end up sounding like a shill for other carmakers.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Nov 16, 2017

    The Colt and the Dolt?

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.