By on April 13, 2017

lansing assemblyl

General Motors will be idling multiple North American plants for 10 weeks this year to allow for the factory retooling necessary to build upcoming models. It also provides a buffer for the overabundance of product it currently has. At the moment, GM has a 97-day supply of vehicles. That’s well above industry average and substantially higher than its domestic peers. As of April 1st, Ford Motor Co. had 80 day’s worth of product and FCA had 82.

“Our inventory is high because we’re going to take 10 weeks out in the back end of the year as we’re modifying our plants, particularly with pickup trucks,” Alan Batey, GM’s head of North America, explained to reporters after GM unveiled a redesigned Buick Enclave.

Despite overall demand being lower than anticipated for this year, Batey says GM is exactly where it wants to be in terms of inventory and sales. He explained to Automotive News earlier today that GM intends to leave 2017 with roughly the same vehicle reserve as it entered it with. However, it will stall production further if the market takes a turn for the worse. “If we need to balance supply and demand, we’ll do it,” he said.

While the 10 week reprieve should help, odds are good that GM will need to idle factories anyway. General Motors terminated production shifts at two plants in Michigan and one in Ohio in 2017’s first quarter. That helped to bring inventories down from a 123 day supply in March to 101 days in April. However inventory of some models, like the Chevy Silverado, have remained abnormally high.

That’s most likely due to a product changeover for next-generation pickups sometime between now and 2018. GM hasn’t confirmed anything yet but Batey said that trucks will comprise a large portion of this year’s factory retooling. “I’m not going into details,” Batey said, “but we have some exciting things coming out.”

GM will begin depleting its 925,000 unit surplus in the second quarter of this year, when retooling begins in earnest. Assembly changeover will account for the next-gen Chevrolet Equinox in March and updated versions of the the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, and GMC Terrain sometime in autumn. Pickup trucks are expected to follow in 2018.

[Image: General Motors]



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35 Comments on “GM Works Ten Weeks of Downtime into 2017 for Factory Retooling...”

  • avatar

    Does any of this ominous surplus production extend to pickups or C/SUVs?

    Hard to imagine any of those rotting on improvised storage lots.

    Are sedans & coupes the ugly fat needing trimming?

    • 0 avatar

      As stated in the article, yes, that extends to pickup trucks.

      It’s at least partially due to the next generation coming out next year and would be customers are holding back until then. Also found in the article.

    • 0 avatar

      I seem to remember predictions of doom and gloom from a former EIC who was a bit too cozy with Japanese competitors when GMT900 production flooded dealers lots with inventory.

      Oh clearly GM was stuffing the channel.
      Oh based on current sales rates it will take 2 years to sell that inventory.
      Oh the new GMTK2XX trucks are ugly, overpriced, don’t over TURBOS, and won’t sell at all.

      A year later the GMT900 inventory was long gone, and the GMTK2XX was selling fine.

      There is nothing to see here folks. Memories are short, and this dance music played before. Build inventory, put cash on the hood on the GMTK2XX vehicles that were introduced in April 2013 as a 2014 model. Yes, they’ve been around that long.

  • avatar

    However inventory of some models, like the Chevy Silverado, have remained abnormally high.

    Right in the article OMP.

  • avatar
    No Nickname Required

    ‘”I’m not going into details,” Batey said, “but we have some exciting things coming out.”‘

    Yes! A redesigned Silverado built from… wait for it… ALUMINUM!! And somehow I have a feeling it still won’t score as well in crash tests as the F150 does. So much for the steel bear cage. Those “real people, not actors” will be wishing they had run to the aluminum cage.

    • 0 avatar

      Up here in the northeast, we watch those commercials showing the concrete blocks, tooboxes, etc. being dropped in the truck beds…and start to mentally calculate what the damaged steel bed and the damaged aluminum bed will look like in three years of winter driving.

      Starting to see that 2-year-old F150s up here is rock salt country are commanding more $$ at resale or trade-in time…and that’s even with no paint scraped off of the sheet metal…

    • 0 avatar

      If I had tons of money, I would wait for GM to release ads for their aluminum trucks. Then I would buy advertising space for the sole purpose of re-running ads from their “aluminum iz bad” campaign.

      I’d hate to be in their marketing department right now. They are rolling from the aluminum attack campaign straight into the “just kidding, aluminum is good” campaign.

      • 0 avatar

        ^T H I S^

      • 0 avatar

        Ford has historically taken the high road and ignored GM’s increasingly desperation-tinged attack ads (remember the one where the guys in F-150s didn’t survive the apocalypse, or something?). I’d like to see them blast GM for their hypocrisy (maybe some ‘real people, not actors’ sneering about GM being ‘late to the party’). But, if they want to stay the high road that’s fine, too.

      • 0 avatar

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the next-gen pickups had a steel floor in the beds, perhaps welded to aluminum sides using GM’s new aluminum-to-steel welding process. Or maybe just simple adhesive bonding. The weight penalty would be relatively minor, especially given GM’s historically better weight management in pickups, while still giving real world (and marketing) advantages.

  • avatar

    What are the workers in the picture doing? The air tools in their hands look far too small to be lug wrenches. Plus, I would expect the wheels to be fastened with one of those big machines that installs all lug bolts at one.

    • 0 avatar

      Obviously wearing a duck dynasty t-shirt. Work clothes, start supplying them GM, you can afford it.

    • 0 avatar

      The guys in the photo are setting up front end alignment, castor, toe in etc.

      Every worker is allowed to order coveralls,or shop coats on a as needed basis. Many choose not to.

      • 0 avatar

        “coveralls,or shop coats”

        Those sound too hot & sweaty. If that’s all that’s available I’d dress like those guys, too.

      • 0 avatar

        Jebus, GM but a pair of GM branded work pants and a couple of branded shirts for every line worker. It looks so much more professional and your potential buyers doesn’t have to thin about the political or entertainment leanings of the people building the car. Also belt buckets in a car factory?!?!

        • 0 avatar

          “Also belt buckets in a car factory?!?!”

          That boy needs him some suspenders ’cause them pants ain’t stayin’ up on their own no how.

          And he’s nowadays comparatively svelte for a middle-aged hourly.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah some kind of high tech pants up keeping technology might be needed but a belt buckle seems like a great way to fudge up the paint.

          • 0 avatar

            Reminds me of selling guitars.

            “Take off your belt before you touch anything in here.”

        • 0 avatar

          To what value does this provide to shareholders.

          GM is not a charity, nor is any automaker. They exist to make profit. Uniforms don’t make profit.

          For example, Toyota doesn’t provide uniforms for their workers either…at least in Kentucky they don’t…

  • avatar

    I see the car companies having tough times, seems a lot of canaries are dying right now.

    • 0 avatar

      I see a shift in the “tastes” of what buyers will plunk down money for: more SUV/CUVs in the future. Fewer sedans. And pickup trucks will always be in demand as long as gas is cheap.

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