GM Ready to Stem the Flow of Old Pickups, Just Not Quite Yet
Production of crew cab and double cab variants of GM’s full-size 2019 pickups is already underway, but the automaker won’t fully turn off the taps on the older-generation models until after the middle of next year.
GM provided a run-down of its pickup production plans Wednesday, assuring those who aren’t fans of the new Silverado’s styling that there’ll be a toned-down alternative available for some time.
According to chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara, via Automotive News, production of the older K2 Silverado and GMC Sierra crew cabs will cease early next year, with double and regular cab models wound down starting in the “early second half” of 2019.
Production of new-generation (T1) pickups kicked off with the crew cab version at GM’s Fort Wayne, Indiana plant in July, with double cabs models coming online in October. Starting in January, the company’s Mexican truck plant will begin assembly of regular cab models, in addition to more of the all-important crew cabs.
Suryadevara said, without actually saying it, that the roll-out of new pickups was in no way similar to the botched launch of Ram’s next-gen 1500. Some 45,000 next-gen GM full-sizers found buyers in the third quarter of 2018, she said.
GM credits the successful concurrent production of both models on a train of unfinished double cab trucks sent to GM Canada’s Oshawa plant for final assembly. Known as the “Oshawa shuffle,” the transfer of some older-gen trucks across the border frees up capacity at Fort Wayne. While already tasked with building the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala, Oshawa’s pickup line got a boost last summer with the arrival of heavy-duty models in need of final assembly. A second shift was announced in June.
It’s good times for a plant once feared to be on the verge of closure. That said, the phase-out of the older-gen trucks will undoubtedly lead to a decreased need for hourly workers. Kim Carpenter, a spokeswoman for GM, told Automotive News that the older-gen final assembly program is expected to “run into late 2019 based on market demand.”
[Image: General Motors]
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