Amiga Trombone shares a report from Insider: With signs of growing inventory and slowing sales, auto industry executives admitted this week that their ambitious electric vehicle plans are in jeopardy, at least in the near term. Several C-Suite leaders at some of the biggest carmakers voiced fresh unease about the electric car market’s growth as concerns over the viability of these vehicles put their multi-billion-dollar electrification strategies at risk. Among those hand-wringing is GM’s Mary Barra, historically one of the automotive industry’s most bullish CEOs on the future of electric vehicles. But this week on GM’s third-quarter earnings call, Barra and GM struck a more sober tone. The company announced with its quarterly results that it’s abandoning its targets to build 100,000 EVs in the second half of this year and another 400,000 by the first six months of 2024. GM doesn’t know when it will hit those targets.
While GM’s about-face was somewhat of a surprise to investors, the Detroit car company is not alone in this new view of the EV future. Even Tesla’s Elon Musk warned on a recent earnings call that economic concerns would lead to waning vehicle demand, even for the long-time EV market leader. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz — which is having to discount its EVs by several thousand dollars just to get them in customers’ hands — isn’t mincing words about the state of the EV market. “This is a pretty brutal space,” CFO Harald Wilhelm said on an analyst call. “I can hardly imagine the current status quo is fully sustainable for everybody.” “It’s clear that we’re dealing with a lot of near-term uncertainty,” said Barra. “The transition to EVs, that will have ups and downs.”
Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda said that people are “finally seeing reality” regarding EVs. “I have continued to say what I see as reality,” Toyoda, who recently stepped down as Toyota’s CEO, said. “There are many ways to climb the mountain that is achieving carbon neutrality,” such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids which have long made up a significant share of Toyota’s EV sales.
“The reason (hybrids) are so powerful is because they fit the needs of so many customers,” Toyota North America’s vice president of sales Bob Carter told CNBC last year. “The demand for hybrid has been strong. We expect it to continue to grow as the entire industry transitions over to electrification later this decade.”