Factory ZERO

General Motors (GM) opened is its flagship Electric Vehicle factory, “Factory ZERO” in November 2021.

Factory ZERO is straddling two cities, which are Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan. In fact, the plant is GM’s first fully dedicated electric vehicle assembly plant. Formerly known as Detroit-Hamtramck, it was built in 1985 and has manufactured more than 3 million vehicles over the years.

Today, it’s been transformed into one of the most modern automotive plants in the country. The name Factory ZERO reflects the significant role the facility plays in advancing company’s vision. It is a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Some of the first vehicles built at the plant will be the GMC HUMMER EV pickup1 and SUV. Others will be the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup truck, and the Cruise Origin, a purpose-built electric, self-driving, shared vehicle.

Market selection

General Motors has been experiencing ups and downs during two decades. For example, after the financial crisis, the US government bailed out the company. Of course, it paid $4.7 billion to the U.S. government and $1.1 billion to the Canadian government. It means that the US auto giants have fulfilled its obligation.

GM sold more than 10 million cars in 2016 and was competing with Toyota and Volkswagen for the number of sold cars. However, the company made several big decisions. For instance, it withdrew the European and Indian market, which were causing loss. As a result, the US and Chinese automotive markets become the main market for the company. In fact, the internal share of GM’s number of car sales in the US is from 33.3% in 2013 to 40.9% in 2021. In addition, the same ratio in China is from 32.5% in 2013 to 46.0% in 2021.

Thus, we can see the company’s strategy, which is “from volume to value”. Of course, they were not easy decisions for the company, but they did make them. Furthermore, General Motors want to be transitioning from automaker to platform innovator. Its CEO, Mary Barra, told this story in CES 2022 as well and electrification is a key factor to realize it.


General Motors has already announced its plan to be an Electric Vehicle (EV) maker. It will sell more than 25 types of EV in 2025. What’s more, the company will sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035. However, the reality is almost always different from our thoughts. For example, General Motors has recalled 141,000 Bolts to replace battery packs that can catch on fire because of manufacturing defects.

The recall can be one of the reasons why GM tries to manufacture batteries for EVs by themselves. Also, the company aims to secure local and low-cost lithium as much as it can. In this sense, “Factory ZERO” can be an important factory to realize its transition from automaker to platform innovator. Like a smartphone, an EV can be a hardware to offer several services to a consumer.

General Motors are overcoming several difficulties and tough times by their bold decisions and actions. Thus, we must pay attention to its “Factory ZERO” and how it accelerates its electrification.