Of course, who could have foreseen the current market conditions? 2012 was a very different time—fuel prices were high, Americans were buying smaller vehicles, and the economy was still largely on the fritz. Now, the economy continues to recover and gasoline remains relatively cheap.
In the meantime, consumers have swallowed up larger vehicles and fuel-efficient cars, hybrids and electric cars have largely gone unconsidered. It’s this fact that will keep GM from meeting one of its largest sustainability goals.
GM set a goal to put to 500,000 electrified cars on the road by 2017. Last year, GM reported it had just 243,133 on the road, well below its goal. Again, market conditions and cheap fuel have made electrified vehicles a tougher sell. However, that figure is still rising compared to 2015 and 2014.
“We are now focused on establishing a new set of product commitments that tie performance more closely to our internal capabilities rather than market forces beyond our control,” GM said in its 2016 sustainability report.
However, it did meet a few important ones. GM followed through on doubling the number of vehicles it sells with a 40 mpg highway or more fuel economy figure. GM had two in 2011, it now has 11. It also reached an environmental goal: 150 landfill-free sites by 2020. The automaker met that goal four years ahead of schedule.
Looking well into the future, the automaker has one, all-encompassing goal: be a fossil fuel free company by the year 2050.