GM Opens the Taps After Strike Depletes Chevrolet Equinox Supply

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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gm opens the taps after strike depletes chevrolet equinox supply

The deal reached with striking autoworkers in Ingersoll, Ontario, last month prevented the supply of hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox crossovers from reaching critical levels, but we now know just how bare the cupboard was.

After a high of 74 days of supply in June, rising sales meant inventory of the newly redesigned compact crossover shrunk to 53 days’ worth at the beginning of September, shortly before the month-long strike began. It plummeted thereafter. With another month of Equinox sales gains under its belt, GM is busy making up for lost production.

According to Automotive News, inventory shrank to a 36-to-38-day supply towards the end of the strike — about half of what the industry considers healthy.

The strike at General Motors’ CAMI assembly plant, which began on September 17th and ended October 16th, came after labor union Unifor demanded assurances that the plant would remain the lead assembly point for the Equinox — its only product. CAMI lost the GMC Terrain to Mexico earlier in the year. After a month of very little progress, a deal was suddenly reached that improved workers’ pay, but didn’t seem to do much for the factory’s future.

Whatever the long-term holds for CAMI, the present is all about cranking out as many Equinoxes as it can. GM chief financial officer Chuck Stevens claims the automaker lost 20,000 Equinoxes due to the strike. While two Mexican plants also produce the vehicle, CAMI provides the bulk of the crossover’s volume.

The company started November with a 39-day supply of Equinox models, and Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president, Brian Sweeney, claims that number has now climbed “just north of 40.”

“The strike hurt us a little from a flow standpoint,” Sweeney said Monday. “We’re starting to recover that.” Steve Majoros, the division’s marketing director, claims production is running at “full speed,” though he admits some markets could feel a supply “pinch.”

The return of workers to the CAMI assembly line is no doubt a relief for GM, as the Equinox recorded a 29-percent year-over-year U.S. sales increase in October. Over the first 10 months of 2017, Equinox sales rose 23 percent compared to last year.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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