May Colombia Be 1st Nation To Construct GM EVs In Latin America?


“Dedicated to creating Colombia the primary Latin American nation to assemble our EVs?”

That was the query Shilpan Amin, President of Basic Motors Worldwide, requested Colombia’s GM group throughout his go to to this nation on February 2 after listening to them say that Colombia’s authorities was dedicated to the power transition. A small query, and but, it has a whole nation dreaming.

Automotive-Free Day

Mr. Amin’s go to to GM Colmotores Plant, positioned in Bogota (capital of Colombia), occurred on February 2nd, which had been declared a “Automotive Free Day.” That is essential as a result of it served to painting Colombia’s dedication to different mobility, but additionally as a result of it meant Mr. Amin might solely transfer round in an electrical automobile, particularly a Chevy Bolt EUV, which has solely been offered within the nation for a pair months.

The go to concerned checking the manufacturing traces for the Chevrolet Pleasure (sadly, an ICE automobile), speaking about future investments within the nation, and, in fact, taking the chance supplied by the Automotive Free Day to current alternate options for transferring round with out burning oil. The go to ended with the query that we talked about in the beginning.

The response contained in the nation was large. Each single information outlet revealed an article claiming Colombia would grow to be Latin America’s first nation to supply GM EVs domestically. Some went so far as saying that GM Colmotores could be the primary Latin American plant in any respect to supply EVs, which is in fact unsuitable, as that honor belongs to Ford’s Cuatitlan Plant, positioned in Mexico DF. Regardless, for a rustic that has by no means had a big car-manufacturing base (and that misplaced certainly one of its three automobile meeting crops in the course of the previous decade), the chance to grow to be the primary one to supply GM’s EVs in South America is just not going to be met with indifference.

However, if that is to occur, how precisely wouldn’t it look?

Picture courtesy of Shilpan Amin, Senior Vice President of GM, President of GM Worldwide

GM Colmotores

GM has had presence as a producing chief in Colombia since 1979, when it bought the Colmotores manufacturing unit beforehand owned by Chrysler. After the oil shock of 2014, it ceased to supply private autos and targeted on vans and buses, solely restarting car manufacturing in 2023 with the Chevrolet Pleasure.

From Colmotores, GM towers over a moderately minuscule automobile market: a mere 250,000 vehicles are offered yearly in Colombia. Due to this, the plant capability stands at a paltry 36,000 vehicles a yr, and even then, most of those will go to different international locations (solely 30% are anticipated to be offered domestically). Which means that even when Colombia is main the EV revolution in Latin America to date, the market itself is within the low lots of (most of that are offered by Chinese language manufacturers). To supply an concept of the scales we’re speaking about, solely 16 Chevy Bolts had been offered in the course of the first month of 2023.

The explanations range, however essentially the most urgent one might be worth. The Chevy Bolt is at present being offered at 205,089,570 COP ($42,000 USD) regardless of having no tariffs and solely a 5% VAT. A tough comparability is normally made between the Chevy Bolt EUV and the equally sized Chevrolet Tracker (ICE) that prices half the value (100,000,000 COP or $20,500 USD). That makes it exhausting for individuals to think about the Bolt an reasonably priced automobile in any respect, extra so in a comparatively poor nation (and area) the place most new vehicles are priced underneath $20,000 USD.

Which means that if GM is to construct (or assemble) an EV in its Colmotores plant, it’ll want to meet a number of of those situations:

  • A vastly cheaper price for the automobile, maybe not rather more costly than the Chevrolet Pleasure ($13,000 USD).
  • A give attention to exports, offering this automobile to the whole lot of Latin America from Colombia.
  • The means for manufacturing a low variety of autos whereas sustaining profitability.

My guess is that, if it occurs, it’ll be a combination between decrease costs and exports. Nevertheless, since GM to date has not introduced something cheaper than the $30,000 USD Chevrolet Equinox EV, I feel it might take some time. Or, maybe, GM is engaged on cheaper choices for growing nations. One can dream.

Oh, and in case you’re questioning, the response given to Mr. Amin’s query was a convincing

“Sure, sir.”

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