Product Postponement: Everyone's Worried About GM Strike Delays

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
product postponement everyones worried about gm strike delays

Industry analysts are becoming concerned that General Motors’ ongoing row with the United Automobile Workers will negatively impact its production commitments. Officially, the automaker has a surplus allowing it to endure strike conditions for a few more weeks. But it’s also supposed to preparing SEMA vehicles and readying production of the new, mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette Stingray — none of which have any back catalog to draw from.

While GM had 80 days worth of inventory at the start of October to help tamp down any panic, numerous models aren’t included in that pool. The C8 Corvette is supposed to launch this year, with volumes ramping up through early 2020. But orders for the outgoing C7 are backing up due to the UAW strike, requiring the automaker to finish those before retooling Bowling Green Assembly for the C8. That could further stall the Stingray’s arrival date, which was already a little nebulous.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Speaking with Automotive News, LMC Automotive expressed fears that the next-generation GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban could also be delayed by a month or more:

Assembly lines have been idled since 11:59 p.m. Sept. 15, when roughly 46,000 hourly workers walked off the job in the union’s first national strike against a Detroit 3 automaker since 2007. Both sides continued to negotiate Wednesday, the 24th day of the strike, as issues remained around wages and job security, among other topics.

“It just affects the ability of a plant to get to launch,” Jeff Schuster, president, Americas operation & global vehicle forecasting at LMC, told Automotive News. “These are not going to do massive damage to margin or affect consumer loyalty, but any further delays because of an extended strike do start to get costly.”

GM has attempted to assuage concerns by suggesting it’s too early to start freaking out. “As we recently said during the convertible reveal, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe goes into production at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly in late 2019, with the convertible following in late first-quarter 2020,” explained the company in a statement. “It’s too early to speculate on potential impacts to launch timing for any of our products.”

If the strike wraps up soon, then we’re inclined to agree. But if it continues through this month, there’s little hope of the Stingray making it here before Christmas.

Concepts intended for SEMA are operating on an even shorter timeline. The tuning trade show opens on November 5th and General Motors had plans to bring several modified vehicles, including its latest products, to the event. While the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 appears ready, Muscle Cars & Trucks reported insider sources as saying several other models are in danger of being incomplete or absent come showtime.

One source said the UAW strike is “affecting everything.” Teams tasked with the SEMA builds are citing issues with the availability of parts, shipping, and receiving. They’ve also lost members with union ties who were required to walk out on the projects when the strike order was given. General Motors, again, said it was too early to speculate when questioned on its SEMA concepts.

While missing product at SEMA and Corvette delays could be high-profile blunders, GM would actually be hurt more by those late SUVs. Regardless of how all that pans out, the manufacturer will also be impacted by the strike itself. Anderson Economic Group, a market research and consulting firm, estimated that the walkout had already created a $660-million profit hit for GM and over $412 million in direct wage losses for all employees by the third week.

[Images: General Motors]

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9 of 19 comments
  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Oct 10, 2019

    Hey, GM, just move HQ to China or Mexico and be done with it, already. As things stand now, the assembled in U.S. vehicles of MUCH HIGHER USA-MADE PARTS CONTENT of HONDA, TOYOTA, NISSAN, ETC PUT GUANGZHOU-GUADALAJARA MOTORS (GM) TO SHAME.

    • See 6 previous
    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Oct 11, 2019

      @Peter Gazis "ToddAtlasF1 The Buick Envision was designed in Detroit at a cost of anout $700 milllion. The people building it in China get paid by GM of China. The U.S. dollars people spend on it here goes to GM U.S.A. Suk eggs troll!" Are you enrolled in special classes? The Envision is on the D2UX/XX platform, which was developed by Opel in Germany before GM paid Peugeot to take GM's European operations. And do you really think the commies send Envisions to the US out of the goodness of their hearts? Read the Chinese content label on any GM vehicle. That where much of any GM purchase price goes. I'd rather buy a Japanese-made Japanese car any day, but I'm also happy with my Ohio and Canadian made Hondas.

  • RS RS on Oct 11, 2019

    It's GM. It's unions. I can't care.

  • FreedMike I'll welcome as many cars like this as I can, but I think Acura's "right move" was to put the Accord Sport's 2.0T in the base model and sell it for thirty-five or so. That's a pretty compelling performance / value proposition.
  • Wjtinfwb I'll certainly admit to a bit of nostalgia that drives my appreciation for these 70's yachts, but there's more to it than that. It was an era that the Big 3 ruled the luxury market with the German's and British nothing but a beer fart in the marketplace. That changed drastically as the early '80s crept in but in 1977, a Mark V or Seville was where it was at. No rose colored glasses, they were not great cars, what they were was a great living room that you could ride to the office in. I grew up on a diet of Cadillac's, Lincoln and one big Chrysler before dad made the move to a 280SE in about '77. Impeccably built and very road worthy, dad initially didn't like the firm seats, clunky automatic transmission and very weak A/C. The exorbitant maintenance costs didn't help. But he enjoyed the driving characteristics enough to get another Benz, then a 733i, an Audi 5000S and a Jag XJ6. Compare these to today's Cadillac's (non- V) and Lincoln's that with the exception of the Escalade and Navigator, are boring and probably even more pedestrian than the Eldorado, Seville and Mark's were.
  • FreedMike I was lucky enough to grow up in a household with the two best German luxury sedans of the time - a manual '81 733i, and a '75 Mercedes 450SE. The BMW was a joy on back roads, and the Benz was a superb highway car. Good times. And both were dramatically better than the junkheap American luxury cars Dad had before.
  • Wjtinfwb A Celebrity Diesel... that is a unicorn. Those early A-bodies were much maligned and I'm sure the diesel didn't help that, but they developed into very decent and reliable transportation. Hopefully this oil-burner Chevy can do the same, it's worth keeping.
  • Wjtinfwb After S-classes crested the 40k mark in the early '80s, my dad moved from M-B to a BMW 733i Automatic. Anthracite gray over red leather, it was a spectacular driving car and insanely comfortable and reassuring on long interstate hauls. My mom, not really a car person, used the BMW to shuttle her elderly Mom back home to Pennsylvania from Miami. Mom and grandma both gushed with praise for the big BMW, stating she could have driven straight through the car was so comfortable and confidence inspiring. A truly great car that improved through the E38 generation, at which point the drugs apparently took hold of BMW styling and engineering and they went completely off the rails. The newest 7 series is a 100k abomination.