It has been a long time since anyone took it on faith that what is good for General Motors is good for America. The question raised by GM’s plans to stop making gasoline-powered cars and light trucks by 2035 is whether the automaker has instead tied its fortunes to China.
The Detroit-based automaker’s announcement last week that it aims to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by the middle of the next decade seemed to signal that its legacy car business is headed for the scrap heap much sooner than most industry watchers had imagined.
Such a development would have vast – and mostly negative – implications for North American supply chains, which remain overwhelmingly tied to the manufacturing of gasoline-powered vehicles.
Most components for electric vehicles, including the rare earth minerals needed to build electric batteries, come from Asia.
The GM Bolt EV, which is assembled at a facility in Detroit, contains only one-quarter North American content – far below the 75-per-cent threshold for duty-free treatment set under the Canada-U.S.-Mexico free-trade agreement.