Cruise unveiled the Origin robo-taxi earlier this week, but the company was coy on when the vehicle would go into production.
Cruise CEO Dan Ammann teased an announcement was coming soon and it appears he’s true to his word as Automotive News is reporting GM President Mark Reuss will make a major announcement at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant on Monday.
Citing an e-mail from Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing, The Detroit News is reporting the company will announce a $2.2 (£1.7 / €2.0) billion investment into the facility which was originally slated to close last year. The e-mail said the funds will be used to build electric pickups, SUVs and autonomous vehicles. It also said production of an electric pickup will begin in late 2021 and the investment will create more than 2,200 jobs.
While the e-mail only makes a possible reference to the Cruise Origin, AutoForecast Solutions told Automotive News that the robo-taxi will be built at plant starting in late 2022. That could be possible as when we attended the Origin’s unveiling in San Francisco, it sounded like the biggest remaining issue was some legal wrangling over what were presumably liability issues related to autonomous vehicles.
If the Origin does go into production in 2022, it would be a major milestone as the vehicle has the potential to disrupt the ride-hailing business as we know it. Since the vehicle doesn’t need a driver and is projected to have a lifespan of over 1,000,000 miles (1,609,344 km), Cruise estimated the “average San Franciscan household driving themselves or using ridesharing, will, on average, see up to $5,000 (£3,823 / €4,533) back in their pocket every year.” The company believes these affordable fares and a consistent user experience will get riders hooked.
Besides the Origin and a Hummer pickup, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant will reportedly build electric versions of the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Sierra. Both of these models are slated to go into production in 2023.