General Motors Moving Van Production To Make Way For More Pickups

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

General Motors may contract production of its commercial vans to AM General to free space to build its popular Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon midsize trucks, Automotive News reported.

In a note to Wentzville, Missouri workers obtained by Automotive News, production of cutaway versions of the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana, which are used for ambulances and moving trucks, could be moved to Indiana-based AM General. According to the report, about 30,000 cutaway vans will be made this year at GM’s Wentzville facility.

The available capacity will be used to build the Canyon/Colorado, which have outperformed expectations this year and sell like hell.

AM General — of Humvee fame — currently produces the Mercedes-Benz R-class that Daimler sells overseas to free up space for that manufacturer to make gazillions of C-class cars in Alabama.

According to the report, the note said van sales were still good — but not great like its truck sales.

“The truck and van continue strong sales,” the note says. “This potential partnership would free up production capacity and allow the organization to capitalize on our ability to build midsize trucks to further satisfy customer demand.”

According to our own Tim Cain, GM sold nearly 8,000 commercial vans last month. Ford’s Transit sold more than 9,300 in the same time period, which led the segment. The Canyon/Colorado twins accounted for nearly 9,500 sales last month, behind the Toyota Tacoma, which sold more than 15,000.

General Motors last contracted with AM General to build the Hummer H2 until 2009.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Nov 25, 2015

    I wonder when Ford will start up the Ranger? By the time they get onto the midsize bandwagon GM, Toyota and Nissan might make life a little tough for Ford. Ford of late have been using some poor judgment with the pickup truck market.

  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on Nov 25, 2015

    I have to ask... why not put a sliding door on the van rather than two conventional barn doors?

  • Kmars2009 Kmars2009 on Nov 26, 2015

    Being a NE OHIO native (In Phoenix now)...I grew up only a few miles away from where the Ford Econoline E Series was manufactured. They couldn't build them fast enough. Now that the new Transit is out, I don't see why GM even bothers to continue building this old awful vehicle. Even Dodge has a better van than this thing. 1996 was a long time ago, and that's when this came out. Why can't they bring out something new? I mean if they really want to be in the market...after all.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 26, 2015

    I think this is more than just the expansion of capacity of the Colorado/Canyon. GM is most likely getting ready to transition to a new van and will probably move it to a new plant. With the Ford Transit and the new Ram van it is just a matter of time till GM brings either a van from Europe over to the US or creates a new van.