General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra speaks to investors at the General Motors Technology Center in Warren, Mich., on October 6, 2021.

Photos by Steve Fecht for General Motors

Detroit- General Motors GM Chief Executive Mary Barra on Tuesday blamed automation equipment suppliers for sluggish growth in GM’s new electric vehicles, after Wall Street criticized the vehicle’s launch for a bold prediction that GM would catch up to industry leaders tesla.

GM shares were down about 4 percent in early trading on Tuesday, even though GM’s quarterly results topped its year-ago performance. Analysts on the call raised questions about the company’s pricing strategy, guidance on electric vehicle earnings and its ability to meet previously announced vehicle targets.

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“Our production capacity was unexpectedly delayed as our automation equipment suppliers have been grappling with delivery issues that have limited module assembly capacity,” Barra said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

GM produced 50,000 electric vehicles in North America in the first half of this year, meeting internal targets but well below many expectations. Most of that was produced for the soon-to-be-discontinued Chevrolet Bolt model, not a new electric vehicle powered by the automaker’s “Ultium” batteries and technology.

Barra, a former plant manager and automotive engineer, said she was “disappointed” with the unnamed supplier, and she was personally involved in problem-solving and updating automated lines. GM was “surprised” at how little progress had been made by suppliers, she said.

Barra said the automaker expects to ramp up production significantly by the end of the year, when (if not earlier) it will “mainly” face constraints.

“I would say we’ve seen a lot of progress over the last four to six weeks; we’re going to continue down that path,” Barra said.

Barra said the company still plans to produce 100,000 vehicles in North America in the second half of this year and 400,000 cumulatively by mid-2024, despite the stall in the battery modules that house the vehicle’s batteries.

“We’re not giving up on any of the goals we set,” Barra said.

Renaissance Bolt

The Chevrolet Bolt EUV on display at the New York Auto Show on April 13, 2022.

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Barra said plans to produce the next-generation Bolt have been fueled by rising consumer demand for the vehicle after a steep price cut last year made it the cheapest electric car in the U.S.

Barra said GM will update the vehicles with technology from its new batteries and software programs, dubbed Ultium and Ultifi, respectively.

GM declined to reveal further details about the next-generation Bolt, such as when, price and where it will be produced.

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