GM Is so Desperate to Keep Tahoe Deliveries on Time They Are 3D Printing Parts

The Chevy Tahoe is one of the most popular SUVs on the market, but while that is usually a good thing, the Tahoe’s popularity has become a double-edged sword for Chevy and GM. Usually, a popular car means a lot of sales for an automaker, but due to COVID and supply shortages, it also means that GM is having trouble producing Tahoes. Here’s a look at the Chevy Tahoe and how GM has started using 3D printed parts to keep making deliveries. 

Many automakers are facing a supply shortage crunch

A silver Chevy Tahoe parked indoors on a black stage with a black background.
Chevy Tahoe | Getty Images

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a significant impact on the lives of everyone. One of the pandemic’s most notable impacts has been on the auto industry. The chip shortage is infamous for causing many automakers to delay production or, in some cases, even pause or cancel production entirely. As a result, the chip shortage led to a spike in car prices for new and used vehicles. 

However, the chip shortage isn’t the only shortage hitting automakers during these trying times. For example, the coronavirus and a variety of other factors have impacted other industries, creating a shortage in some of those industries. Some of those industries were used to supply automakers with things like batteries and other small parts. 

Like with chips, any substantial component shortage can lead to delayed deliveries. One way to stop that is with 3D printing, and that’s precisely the tech GM is using to get Tahoes out the door faster.

General Motors is using 3D printed parts to build the Tahoe

According to CNET, this investment from GM is very recent, and it only started in earnest in 2020 when GM set aside 15,000 square feet of space for the facility. It’s officially called the Additive Industrialization Center, and it’s essentially an extensive 3D printing facility. This was an excellent time for GM to invest in the tech because a year after the investment, GM put it to good use.

The 2022 Chevy Tahoe had a late addition to its design, and that addition needed a new part. According to CNET, the Tahoe needed a “flexible spoiler closeout seal,” and under normal circumstances, it would’ve forced GM to delay 30,000 Tahoes to build those parts with regular tools. This is where 3D printing came in clutch. 

GM worked with  GKN Additive Forecast 3D, experts in the field, to rapidly print out those parts. The company used HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers, which are advanced 3D printers that are very different from the 3D printers that most folks are aware of. Since each Tahoe needed two of those new parts, GM needed 60,000 of those parts in total. Thanks to 3D printing, GM got those parts in just five weeks, which is half the time it would’ve taken GM to build those parts with regular tools.

An overview of the 2022 Chevy Tahoe

At a starting price tag of over $51,000, the Tahoe won’t be a cheap SUV. That said, it comes with many features that should make it worth its price tag. Since the Tahoe is a full-size SUV, it can come with up to eight seats, and it should be spacious and comfortable for anyone sitting in them.

On top of having some good standard tech, such as an 8.0-inch touch screen and several smart safety features, it’ll also come with a powerful engine. The Tahoe starts with a 5.3-liter V8, and this gets 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

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