Biden’s electric Hummer test drive helped boost bookings

US President Joe Biden gestures after driving a Hummer EV during a visit to General Motors’ Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan on November 17, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

DETROIT – President Joe Biden’s visit last week to a General Motors plant that produces the GMC Hummer electric pickup has caused a noticeable increase in bookings for the truck, the automaker said on Tuesday.

Duncan Aldred, global head of GMC, said bookings for the vehicle were up to a seven-fold increase from an average day, with traffic to the brand’s website increasing by around 230%. He said the event led this month to record the most bookings for the Hummer, including an SUV version, aside from when the vehicles debuted separately.

“It just shows that intrigue, interest and willingness to buy from customers remains very high,” Aldred told reporters in a briefing Tuesday.

Aldred declined to disclose the specific number of reservations, which require a refundable deposit of $ 100. He said the automaker had more than 125,000 “hand lifters” who requested information about the vehicle on its website. He hopes to convert “most of them” into buyers.

Biden’s visit on Wednesday included a tour of the factory as well as the commander-in-chief zooming in the truck with GM CEO Mary Barra outside the factory. Biden also made several comments favorable to the promotion of the vehicle during a speech at the facility, including calling it “one hell of a vehicle.”

Aldred confirmed on Tuesday that GM plans to start shipping a special “Edition 1” version of the vehicle for around $ 113,000 by mid-December. That delay would mean the Detroit automaker has delivered the new flagship truck on time since its unveiling in October 2020.

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, in Detroit.

Evan Vucci | PA

“It really culminates on what has been an incredible two-year trip. It’s the fastest program ever achieved by General Motors,” Aldred said. “Not only is it a monumental effort, but considering that it’s not a vehicle, it’s the world’s first supertruck, that’s a pretty incredible achievement.”

But the vehicles will have slightly less electric range than initially expected at 329 miles, down 6% from around 350 miles.

Aldred cited the amount of features in the “Edition 1” models as the reasons for the inferior range. He alluded to less equipped versions of the vehicle having longer range in the years to come.

Much of last week’s event at GM’s Factory Zero was aimed at promoting bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs law and Biden’s Build Back Better law, which includes tax incentives of up to ‘to $ 12,500 per vehicle to stimulate consumer demand for electric vehicles.

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