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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
poised for pickups mexican restart cant 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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7 of 14 comments
  • 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.

  • FreedMike Bicyclists.
  • FreedMike But will it have a badge?And maybe I don’t understand this whole truck thing, but isn’t 430 hp out of 7.3 liters a bit low? That’s not a whole lot better than the Coyote engine in the Mustang. I don’t see that as a selling point.
  • Goatshadow My favorite Lambo ever. It's gorgeous..
  • DenverMike Column shifter in all trims? Thank god someone is listening. The console shifter is just the stupidest thing ever. Frick just make the whole area useful utility. Luxury means something different in trucks. Definitely removable and I’ll make my own work station.
  • Joh65689020 1. Drape/ Masking-tape paint.2. Blue Coral (or any brand) chrome polish on PowerBall with cordless drill-driver.3. Buff lightly with microfiber towel to crystal clear finish.