GM says self-driving cars will arrive this decade, generate $50 billion in revenue
GM is betting at autonomous cars will arrive this decade, and could earn the company almost $50 billion in revenue.
Mary Barra, CEO of the Detroit-based carmaker, told a conference that she saw a "giant growth opportunity" in the company's autonomous vehicle unit, dubbed Cruise, before adding that personal self-driving cars would likely hit the market before 2030.
She estimates GM's Cruise division could earn as much as $50 billion a year, even though the unit is currently losing $2 billion annually. Not everyone is this optimistic: Last year, Ford and Volkswagen closed down their self-driving car JV Argo AI.
Cruise itself had to recall all of its self-driving vehicles last year after one vehicle in San Francisco was unable to turn left, leading to a crash that injured two people.
Barra was also critical of GM's attempt to launch electrical vehicles in China, saying the company had moved too slowly. She added that Chevrolet and Cadillac – both GM brands – had EVs launching over the next 18 months, whose performance would be critical to rebuilding market share in the Middle Kingdom.
GM is retooling plants in China and expects half its production capacity in the country will be for EVs by the middle of this year. The company could face idle factories with capacity for as many as 3 million passenger vehicles lying unused unless it transitioned to EVs faster, according to one estimate.