Report: U.S. Ramp-up of GM Pickups Paused As Parts Prove Precious

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
report u s ramp up of gm pickups paused as parts prove precious

While General Motors earned the right to resume production in Mexico on Thursday, parts procurement in the gradually reopening North American economy remains a serious roadblock.

U.S. plants came online May 18th following two months of pandemic-prompted downtime. Of topmost importance to all members of the Detroit Three are their hot-selling pickup lines, though UAW- and state-approved health protocol calls for a slow ramp-up, with all plants operating on reduced shifts. Parts supply will dictate those ramp-ups; in GM’s case, boosted pickup production in the Midwest will have to wait.

After reporting on GM’s Mexican restart Friday, Reuters cited a source claiming two key plants in the U.S. will have to leave a second shift on the back burner. Those sites are GM’s Fort Wayne, Indiana and Flint, Michigan truck plants, responsible for Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra, and their HD counterparts.

Like at the company’s Silao, Mexico truck plant, parts supply for the full-size pickups remains limited for the moment. It was hoped that a second shift could be added at the U.S. facilities on Monday, the source claimed. Instead, the extra cohort likely won’t arrive to bolster output until late in the week.

One GM facility cranking out large products will reportedly see a second shift added on Monday, however — that being Michigan’s Lansing Delta Township facility, home to the Chevrolet Traverse (Chevy’s third best-selling model) and Buick’s range-topping Enclave.

Getting big-margin, big-volume pickups back in production has been a desire since the earliest days of the lockdown. Even during the darkest days of late March and early April, most most dealers shuttered in some way or another, weekly sales of this segment never fell more than 25 percent below pre-virus forecasts, according to data from J.D. Power. It’s no wonder Ford made a big show of its restarted F-150 plant in Dearborn this week.

There’s no clearer sign of a reopened U.S. economy than big pickups rolling off the line.

Still, the buoyant popularity of full-size trucks, even in the midst of a health crisis (Ford sales and marketing boss Mark LaNeve said Detroit Three full-size pickups made up 21 percent of industry-wide light duty vehicle volume in April), caused inventory problems for the companies that depend on them. Production is only just now trying to meet up with demand.

Mentioning that “strong” demand, GM spokesman Dan Flores told Reuters “we are certainly exploring ways to add production and will do that when it makes sense.”

[Images: General Motors]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 22, 2020

    First picture: Now with four dedicated marker lights to highlight the squared-off wheelwells [2020 Sierra HD]. The sheet metal arch over the front wheel is gone for 2020 (compare 2019 Sierra HD), but the bed side now has a vestigal stamped-steel echo of the squared-off wheelwell as a last middle finger to anyone who dares to question 'GM Design' (aka Styling). [Compare also the 2020 Silverado HD treatment vs. this 2020 Sierra HD.]

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 24, 2020

      In the old days, they'd add or rearrange the chrome or stamped aluminum trim from year to year. Now they're making chnges in the sheet metal. That sheet metal is getting pretty thin, enough so to make me wonder if they use flimsier stamping equipment that needs to be changed more often, allowing subtle year-to-year changes.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 22, 2020

    GM ran out of Chinese parts. They are waiting for that slow boat from China. As for looks that is subjective, but I hate to think of what the 2021 Colorado will look like.

  • Allamericanred Interesting that as a car design nut that hates most American Suv designs that I think it is a pretty good design that stands apart but is not odd. The color really impacts how it looks to me. Some just do not work
  • NormSV650 I had a 2014 Vsport back in the day. It have a quiver feeling over some bumps in turns. Currently have a 2018 CT6 it is very solid and a great driver's car for the size.
  • NormSV650 I had a 2014 Vsport back in the day. It have a quiver feeling over some bumps in turns. Currently have a 2018 CT6 it is very solid and a great driver's car for the size.
  • MaintenanceCosts I saw my first IS500 out in the wild today (a dark-grey-on-black example) and it struck me that it was much more AMG-like than this product. (Great-looking and -sounding car.)
  • ToolGuy