By on October 5, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox red - Image: GM

It was another hot month for the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in September, especially when contrasted with last year’s sales. U.S. sales last month amounted to an 80-percent year-over-year increase, with 27,512 vehicles sold, while Canada’s 2,079 vehicles sales represented a 27-percent increase, year-over-year.

Both countries’ year-to-date tallies are on the upswing, outranking last year’s total by 22 percent in the U.S. and 27 percent north of the border. Good news for General Motors, but worrisome when you consider the main Equinox production line shut down over two weeks ago. Workers at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are still on strike. Meanwhile, the amount of Equinoxes in GM’s inventory is dropping steadily.

It’s not a crisis yet, but if GM and its unionized plant workers don’t reach an agreement soon, it could turn into one.

In July, GM enjoyed a well-above-average 74-day supply of Equinox crossovers. That wasn’t a concern, as this summer was a scorching period for crossover sales — the Equinox included. The supply shrunk to 53 days’ worth at the beginning of September. Then, late in the day on September 17th, workers dropped their tools and picked up picket signs in Ingersoll, leaving Equinox production to two low-capacity Mexican plants that can’t generate nearly the same volume as CAMI.

One Canadian GM transmission plant churned out trannies for another week following the shutdown, leaving it with a stockpile (and currently a reduced workforce).

With GM and the workers’ labor union deadlocked, and with strong sales continuing, Equinox inventory shrunk to a 41-day supply at the beginning of October, according to the Automotive News Data Center. That’s far less than the ideal 60-plus-day supply for that particular model. What’s worse is that sales typically pick up in the final quarter of the year.

If GM is feeling nervous, it’s keeping those jitters well hidden.

“We believe we have sufficient inventory and production to meet demand while negotiations continue and we continue to work closely with dealers to ensure customers continue to be well served,” the company said in an email to Automotive News. A number of Chevrolet dealers have told AN they’re concerned about the strike, especially given the quick pace at which Equinoxes are leaving dealer lots.

It isn’t known just how many Equinoxes are rolling out of Mexico, which makes predicting when the supply will reach zero difficult.

As for the strike, there’s little to report. In its latest update, Unifor Local 88 claims it is “still waiting for a positive response.”

“We remain far apart on Economics and Job Security and await a response from GM Detroit on these outstanding issues,” said Local 88 president Dan Borthwick in a blog post. “Unifor has been in contact with GM Detroit daily, attempting to resolve our issues.”

“We are currently waiting for GM Detroit to respond to our outstanding Economic and Job Security items, with this being the case the Company and the Union have agreed to take a break over the weekend and reconvene on Tuesday, October 10 for a status update.”

Borthwick claims the union’s bargaining committee and national representatives are ready to meet with any GM official at a moment’s notice.

[Image: General Motors]

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11 Comments on “Chevrolet Equinox Inventories Dwindling, But No One’s Panicking Just Yet...”

  • avatar

    So it looks like they’ll be out of work until after Thanksgiving, hopefully GM decides to make a deal with them soon.

    I read somewhere (maybe it was TTAC) that Mexico had assembled around 40000 Equinoxes since they started building them there. Not sure what CAMI’s daily output is, but it doesn’t seem like Mexico can pick up the slack for the time being.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, hopefully GM gives in soon. *eye roll*

      Maybe it’s the union that should compromise to get the workers back on the job, for the sake of keeping the plant viable for the hand that feeds them? Nahh, its always the big bad corporation that needs to give in, all they want is to not be killed 4 times a day, like what happens in every non-union plant in the southern U.S..

      I think its a bit ironic that they are worried about job security, yet they have a very important launch going on with the (popular) product that they do have. Talk about cutting your nose to spite your face: Let’s make GM stumble out of the gate with a very important product in a very important segment, that will surely do wonders for our future. It can’t lose!

      I could see their concern if they were only building the Spark or some other vehicle that isn’t in demand and isn’t likely to be in demand anytime soon. They’re just trying to force GM’s hand because they think GM needs them more than they need GM.

      All GM would have to do is expand CUV production in Mexico (which takes time and money, I get that), and be better (financially) for it in the long run. I dunno, if it was my job and I knew I could (and likely would) easily be replaced by someone in another country making 1/10th what I make, I’d try not to make waves in order to save my own job.

  • avatar

    Equinox inventory isn’t dwindling at the Chevy dealer by my house. They have a green one right up front (like the color in the story) and I have to say, that green is gorgeous. It is “green.” Think Crayola Crayon, 8 pack basic color set, green.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m so glad that greens are coming back. If only VW would resurrect Alaska Green or Baltic green for the Golf. Those were some nice colours in the early 2000s.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if this hot product was destroyed by a union strike?

    If GM can’t build them fast enough in Mexico (due to capacity constraints), and can’t retool another plant quickly, customers might simply go elsewhere for their SUV – and there are plenty of options.

    You can bet GM is sweating.

    • 0 avatar

      I guarantee you the union is sweating more. GM might stand to lose a few million dollars in profits, but the union members stand to lose their livelihoods. And you can bet most of those employees won’t be able to get a replacement job that pays nearly as well as the one they’re striking against.

      I fully believe GM is taking the long view on this and won’t be held hostage by the union. If the cost is a diminished Q4 2017, it beats paying for a union-forced compromise for the next decade.

  • avatar

    So where are they building the RHD variant for export?

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Mexico. And you can guarantee that plant is running three shifts to meet north american demand.

      The fact that GMH is advertising the Captiva again heavily gives you pretty good indication that the Equinox won’t be coming here soon.

  • avatar

    Good points John Taurus.

    On the other hand, by several measures, internal and external, CAMI has done an excellent job, and is one of GM’s better plants.

    The vehicle they make is a good seller.

    So, their reward is….lay-offs!

    Also, recall that the govt of Canada, as well as Ontario, helped to bail GM out. So, as a matter of principle, at the very least, GM should preserve what they have in Canada.

    CAMI was not making Azteks that no one wanted. They were not making crappily-built cars. And yet…”it’s the business”.

    BTW, GM CEO made $26 million. Top 4 execs probably pull another $30-$40 million between them.

    Toyoda runs a better company and he makes LESS THAN $3! Let’s outsource GM’s top mgt to Japan, lol.

    These things are easier to accept when a company makes it on its own.

    GM owes it’s existence to the US and Canadian, and even Ontario govt.

  • avatar

    Is Mexico building the RHD version?

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