GM and LG end plans for fourth U.S. battery cell factory as automaker seeks new partner

GM and LG end plans for fourth U.S. battery cell factory as automaker seeks new partner

GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra and LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Hak-Cheol Shin at the automaker’s battery lab in Warren, Michigan, where the companies announced a new 2-year joint venture .6 billion on December 5, 2019.


DETROIT – General Motors and LG Energy Solution have suspended plans to build a fourth battery cell factory in the United States indefinitely as talks between the two sides recently ended without an agreement, a person familiar with the plans confirmed to CNBC.

The Detroit automaker is expected to continue with plans to build the plant but is seeking another partner, according to the person who asked not to be named because the talks are private.

“We have been very clear that our plan includes investment in a fourth cell plant in the United States, but we are not going to comment on speculation,” GM said in an emailed statement Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reported for the first time As of Friday afternoon, talks stalled between GM and LG, in part because LG Energy executives in Korea were reluctant to commit to the project given the rapid pace of its recent investments with other automakers. as well as an uncertain macroeconomic outlook.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the plans, said GM is in talks with at least one other battery supplier to proceed with the fourth US battery cell plant.

The breakdown in talks comes after GM CEO Mary Barra and other executives said they were set to announce details for the fourth plant, to be built in Indiana, for a time.

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GM and LG originally announced the joint venture for a $2.3 billion plant in Ohio in December 2019, followed by other plants near GM’s operations in Michigan and Tennessee. Only the Ohio plant is currently in operation, while the others are under construction. The joint venture is called Ultium Cells LLC.

A spokeswoman for Ultium referred questions to GM and LG Energy. In an emailed statement, LG Energy said discussions on a fourth Ultium Cells plant “continue between LG Energy Solution and GM, but no decision has been made.”

The relationship between GM and LG Energy is crucial to the automaker’s future plans for electric vehicles, including leapfrogging Tesla and others to become the US leader in all-electric vehicle sales. The Detroit automaker is expected to launch a handful of new electric vehicles this year, including mainstream vehicles such as the Equinox, Blazer and Silverado.

GM, in its statement Friday, said its second and third plants with LG are on track to open as planned in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The company also confirmed that it is on track to reach production capacity of 1 million electric vehicles per year in North America by 2025.

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