Bruised Cruise Adjusts Strategy For Robotaxi Comeback


Cruise, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of General Motors (GM), is implementing a new strategy to rebuild its business and regain trust after a series of setbacks. The company’s executive team, led by President Mo Elshenawy, is taking a measured approach that focuses on cash preservation and improving safety culture.

Key Takeaway

Cruise is adjusting its strategy to rebuild its autonomous vehicle business. The company will focus on its current robotaxi platform and delay production of its custom-built Origin shuttle. Cruise aims to rebuild trust with regulators and communities by relaunching in one city and proving its performance and safety before expanding. The company is also addressing employee concerns regarding the share-selling program suspension.

Shifting Focus to Realistic Plans

In an internal email sent to employees, Elshenawy outlined the first steps of Cruise’s rebuilding plan. The company will pause production on its custom-built Origin shuttle, opting instead to concentrate on its current robotaxi platform, the Chevy Bolt AV. While development of the Origin program will continue, the vehicle will not be produced until 2024. Cruise is also reviewing its layoff plans and will provide an update in the coming weeks.

The decision to focus on the Bolt-based Cruise AVs is rooted in the company’s commitment to rebuilding trust with regulators and communities. Cruise intends to relaunch its operations in just one city initially, allowing it to prove its performance and safety before expanding to other locations.

Employee Share-Selling Program and Suspension

The internal email also provided clarification on Cruise’s employee share-selling program. The program, which was suspended for the fourth quarter, has caused discontent among employees. However, the email stated that employees who own restricted stock units from the beginning of the year to October will be eligible for a new tender offer to assist with tax qualifications.

Challenges and Suspension of Operations

Cruise’s rebuilding efforts come in the wake of CEO Kyle Vogt’s resignation and a recent suspension of the company’s permits to operate self-driving vehicles on public roads. The suspension was imposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles following an incident in which a Cruise robotaxi hit and dragged a pedestrian. Cruise faced increasing opposition from San Francisco city officials, and the incident led to investigations and pressure to halt operations.

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