Poised for Pickups: Mexican Restart Can't Come Soon Enough for GM

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
poised for pickups mexican restart can t come soon enough for gm

Production at General Motors’ Mexican assembly plants could start up next week, following a go-ahead from the country’s leadership to resume factory activity. The faster GM’s able to come back online south of the Rio Grande, the better.

In an earnings briefing last week, GM, like its rival Fiat Chrysler, pointed to a declining inventory of lucrative pickups — a segment that proved extremely resilient over the past two months, even during the depths of the coronavirus lockdown. With U.S. plants resuming work on Monday, a concurrent Mexican restart is what the company needs.

Sources tell Bloomberg that GM’s three Mexican plants could see production return next week, as long as the automaker meets conditions set by the government.

Mexico, much to the chagrin of UAW and Unifor, is a crucial manufacturing base for GM, which builds the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra at its Silao facility. Tied to that plant is a propulsion facility building V6 and V8 engines for light-duty trucks, commercial vehicles, and sports cars, as well as six-, eight- and 10-speed transmissions.

Out of the Ramoz Arizpe facility comes the Chevrolet Blazer midsize crossover, along with small-block V8s and High-Feature V6s. The automaker’s San Luis Potosi plant builds the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain compact crossovers (GM also builds the Equinox in Ontario, Canada), as well as six-speed automatics bound for FWD and AWD models.

GM’s Mexican output took a hit from last fall’s UAW strike, with the automaker forced to idle plants amid a parts shortage. That hampered pickup production. Then came the pandemic and March’s continent-wide production halt. Pickups continued to sell in strong numbers, however, draining a pool of trucks that couldn’t be replenished. In March, GM reported an 87 days’ supply of Silverado models.

With pickup sales already back to normal, GM’s half-ton cupboard must be getting close to bare.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • El scotto El scotto on May 14, 2020

    Why not offer GM and FCA tax credits to bring pick-up truck production back to US plants? Big business tax cuts? A sop to the UAW? It'd be worth it just to watch the umbrage. A possible 500 comment post.

    • See 3 previous
    • RHD RHD on May 15, 2020

      @ttiguy Job stealin' strawberry pickers, dagnabbit!

  • 1500cc 1500cc on May 14, 2020

    Are we still calling GM's DOHC V6s "high feature"? GM hasn't produced a "high value" (i.e. OHV) passenger car V6 in 7-8 years, we can probably do away with the distinction.

    • AthensSlim AthensSlim on May 15, 2020

      “High Feature V6” isn’t just a colloquial term, it’s the name of the engine family. Until the General designs a replacement (unlikely anytime soon), that’s the name it’s stuck with. Having said that, I think the only V6 that comes out of Ramos is the small block based OHV 4.3. The HFV6 is made in Romulus and mayyyyybe still St Catharines.

  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.
  • El scotto Pondering if he has a clean brandy snifter. Well but, ah, I mean the original Grand Wagoneer was fully loaded and had a V-8. The original Grand Wagoneer had an almost cult-like following with a certain type of woman. Attractive, educated high earning women; or those that put on the appearances of being that way.Our esteemed HerR DOKtor Perfessor again shows how ignorant he is of the American market. What he deems "bread-vans on stilts" are highly coveted by significant others that are also highly coveted. The new Grand Cherokee with the new well engineered V-6 will sell as well as the ones from the 80s some of us get wistful over. The only real question will be: LL Bean or Orvis edition?
  • El scotto Well, I've had cats that are smarted than a great many members of congress. I rather doubt that any of the congresspeople Matt named are engineers, finance people or project managers. Ya know, professionals you call in to get a job done.Today is Wednesday, this will be out of the 36 hour news cycle by Friday. Oh it might get mentioned again on OCT 6. Unless there are cute animals to put on TV that day.
  • El scotto Oh My Good Lord Yes! Gents, this is a Caddy that carries on the soul of Caddy. Loud, brash, and apologetically American. Also large and in charge and one of GM's best evah engines. What used to be a flash roll is now bottle service.Can't deal with that reality? There are plenty of excellent SUVs/CUVs on the market. I'm a former Escape owner. The Escape was a sensible lil CUV, this Caddy is just way over the top.Canyon carver? Not a chance, this is based on a Silverado frame. Easy to park? Toss the valet the keys. Will some of the other high-end SUVs have better "soft touch" materials that make car journalist get tingly all over? Of course.This Caddy is designed to eat up huge and I mean huge amounts of American interstate miles. Four people and their luggage? Easily.