GM Pledges to Spend Big Bucks on Autonomous Driving
General Motors is making a big play in the self-driving vehicle space.
The company expects to spend $2 billion this year on autonomous driving subsidiary Cruise, TechCrunch reports. Cruise is planning to roll out a fleet of robotaxis in San Francisco and early next year will begin mass production of its Origin AV early next year.
GM has not specified exactly where the money is going. In March, the company announced that it had bought China’s SoftBank out of a more than $2 billion stake in Cruise. At the time, the company said it would spend another $1.35 billion on Cruise this year. But GM’s chief financial officer Paul Jacobson said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call the following month that the figure was more like $2 billion.
“We continue to believe our investment represents an extraordinary opportunity for creating long-term shareholder value,” GM Chair and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in a statement as part of the March announcement. “Our increased investment position not only simplifies Cruise’s shareholder structure but also provides GM and Cruise maximum flexibility to pursue the most value-accretive path to commercializing and unlocking the full potential of AV technology.”
Cruise is awaiting final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to begin charging for robotaxi services. That would likely mean that self-driving taxis would hit the streets. It would also potentially mean an influx in revenue for Cruise, which has yet to bring in any profits.
Cruise reported a $325 million dollar loss in the first quarter of this year, up from a $229 million loss in the first three months a year earlier.
While that permit would be statewide, Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt says the company is focusing on cities. An urban setting is "the only kind of place where early AV robotaxi fleets are going to be a viable business,” Vogt reportedly said during a call with analysts.
GM Recalls, Safety Risks and California Car Owners’ Rights
Meanwhile, GM and other major auto manufacturers continue to have a hard time ensuring that the cars of today are safe to drive.
The company announced in April that it is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles with defective windshield wipers that could make the cars tough to drive in wet weather. Around the same time, the company said it was calling back certain electric Hummers equipped with malfunctioning taillights.
Fortunately, car owners and lessors in California have some important rights and options under the state’s lemon law.
The lemon law generally requires carmakers to perform various repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces them to buy back covered vehicles that they are not able or refuse to fix. A car manufacturer can instead offer to replace the vehicle, but it is up to the owner to decide whether to accept or reject this alternative arrangement.
Speak with a California Lemon Law Attorney
At Bickel Sannipoli, our California lemon law attorneys have assisted hundreds of clients across the state stuck with defective or malfunctioning vehicles.
We are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney today.