Consumers looking to buy the new GMC Hummer EV pickup or SUV will be doing it online with minimal dealer involvement, directly from General Motors, for at least the next two years.
After that, the retail shopping experience will "evolve" as GM rolls out more electric vehicles.
The vehicles will make it to GMC dealership showrooms eventually, but even then, the buying process will change, said Phil Brook, vice president of marketing for Buick and GMC.
"There’s no doubt about that," Brook told the Free Press, though he declined to offer further details.
"This vehicle allows us to take a different approach," Brook said. "The market is evolving and changing and we’re changing, but we are working through the dealers. We see our dealers as a huge competitive advantage for us."
Get in line
GMC revealed the 2024 Hummer EV SUV Saturday evening during the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament in a new commercial film narrated by NBA star LeBron James.
When production begins on the SUV in early 2023, the Edition 1 will start at $105,595. It will have an expected range of 300 miles on a full charge, GM said in a statement.
When equipped with the Extreme Off-Road Pack, the SUV jumps to $110,595, with an expected range of 280 miles on a full charge. GM has not disclosed which plant will build the Hummer SUV.
But the process for consumers to order a Hummer EV SUV Edition 1 is the same as that used when GMC revealed the Hummer EV pickup in October.
At that time, the initial preorders were filled within minutes and there is a long waiting list to get one, Brook said. He declined to say how many preorders GMC has for the pickup, but sources have told the Free Press it is 10,000.
The pickup goes into production at Factory Zero in Detroit and Hamtramck this fall and its Edition 1 starts at $112,595. Subsequent editions will come out starting in 2022,and the cheapest edition starts at just under $80,000.
Here is how the reservation process works:
Go onto GMC.com/HummerEV. Choose a body style and trim level. Choose your preferred GMC dealership. There is a $100 fully refundable reservation fee. Wait for a notice that your vehicle's production slot is upcoming. Finalize the purchase then with the dealer of choice.
"It could be a year or year-and-a-half, but about six months before your vehicle is due to be produced, the dealer will contact you and a formal buyer's order will be entered into," Brook said. "That makes it official."
While there's a waiting list for the Edition 1 pickup, people can reserve an Edition 2, 2X or a 3X. At that time, a customer can enroll for an Edition 1, if it becomes available, Brook said.
"We’re very happy with the process we’ve run to date with the pickup and we’re going to follow the same route with the SUV," Brook said.
Dealerships invest in EVs
So far about 1,200 GMC dealerships out of 1,800 total in the United States have signed up to sell the Hummer EVs, Brook said.
That means those 1,200 dealers will invest in additional charging infrastructure and tools, and in training for employees to sell and service EVs, he said.
"It’s a pretty reasonable investment and it’s an investment in the future," Brook said.
He declined to give an exact figure for a dealership investment saying it varies depending on each delership's current power grid.
Cadillac dealers have been asked to invest $200,000 to $250,000 to sell future EVs. Cadillac bought out about 270 dealers who opted out, leaving Cadillac with about 600 dealers in the United States. GMC is not following that same strategy.
"GM has a plan to transition to EVs in a big way and GMC will be part of that, obviously," Brook said. "This investment is the first step in that process. It’s not a one-and-done thing. It’s the start of a long-term investment."
Luxurious and capable
Brook expects that the Sierra light-duty and heavy-duty internal combustion engine pickups will continue to be the brand's top-selling vehicles for many years. But GMC has prepared its customers for future EVs by offering premium vehicles through its Denali sub-brand.
"We've identified this market opportunity that is premium and capable and we’ve positioned the brand to that," Brook said. "People do want to take their vehicles off-road and have adventures, but do it in a premium kind of way."
The Hummer EV will offer customers that premium capability without stealing sales from the Denali trim levels on GMC's other vehicles, he said.
"We see Hummer being the pinnacle of premium and capable," Brook said. "We see it as a halo and a big strong statement of GMC's future, particularly in the EV space.”
The Hummer pickup and SUV each have some unique off-road features such as CrabWalk, which allows it to move diagonally to slide out of tight spots, and UltraVision's underbody cameras. Brook hinted that those could be offered on future GMC vehicles.
"At this point in time, I don’t want to talk to much about product plans, but anything we do in a flagship, we would look to share across the range at the appropriate time," Brook said. "But nothing to announce now."©2021 www.freep.com. Visit at freep.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.