By on July 15, 2020

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, General Motors’ truck plants now resemble Tesla plants on the eve of the end of a fiscal quarter.

The need to crank out as many pickups as possible — essential for replenishing a depleted inventory while boosting flagging sales figures — has apparently brought both management and laid-off workers to the assembly line.

The report claims GM plans to call back hundreds of formerly laid-off workers in August to offset a manpower shortage born of several reasons, one of them being COVID-19. Freep says Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana is shy about 1,000 workers, some 200 of them because of the coronavirus. Extra workers are also needed in Flint, Michigan, and Arlington Assembly in Texas.

The once-unemployed GM workers would be walking into permanent jobs, union leaders have been told.

It seems the need is most pressing at Fort Wayne, however. The plant, which builds the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty pickups, is in danger of not meeting its daily targets, one source claimed, with plant staff apparently going to great lengths to ensure the line doesn’t grind to a halt.

“They’re at full schedule, but they have every single person on that assembly line, including management, and management is not supposed to be on the line,” the source told Freep. “It’s all hands on deck, just to build trucks.”

News of the worker call-up will be music to the ears of employees expected to be laid off at the end of the month at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant, home to a brace of Cadillac crossovers and the GMC Acadia. There, GM’s cutting a third shift to align production with tepid demand. Same goes for workers laid off from Detroit-Hamtramck.

While the automaker wouldn’t admit to management joining workers on the assembly line, it did say problems persist due to COVID-19.

“We are operating our plants as efficiently as possible while accommodating team members who are not reporting to work due to concerns about COVID-19 in the community,” GM spokesman David Barnas told the publication.

[Image: General Motors]

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14 Comments on “The Call Up: GM’s Truck Plants Are ‘All Hands on Deck’...”


  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    Keep rolling rolling rolling
    Though the streams are swollen
    Keep them do

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Because what the country needs is more ugly trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      dukeisduke

      When you see one coming up in your rear view mirror, you should move to the right.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      @dukeisduke,

      More likely because some exec needs his fat bonus.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Midyear Truck sales in U.S.
        Fseries down 18%
        RAM P/U down 18%
        Silverado/Sierra up 6%

        Looks like GM exec’s deserve their bonuses.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Maybe that’s because there are more available Silverados/Sierras on the lots. GM also has a history of overpricing their vehicles, then slapping cash on the hood to move the metal.

          • 0 avatar
            1500cc

            @Lorenzo

            Before COVID hit, Ford had 114 days supply of F-Series on the lots while Chevy had 72 days of Silverado. So that’s not it.

            I think people are warming up to the initially controversial styling of the Silverado (I know I am). And if Ram ever stops selling their previous generation trucks, I’ll bet you’ll see a lot of buyers go back to Ford/Chevy.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            There is a massive shortage of Silverado and Sierra trucks nationwide. Dealers near me that would normally have 50 on the lot might have 5 today… if they are lucky.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          Just from TTAC alone, it seems the full-size trucks are in demand. People want trucks.

          Ford and FCA (P-FCA) have the same challenges.

          Do they want a truck, ANY TRUCK, more than they want a Ford, GM, or FCA truck? That is the question.

          I think they do….

          And I think the GM and the other two think the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The GM truck numbers look as good as they do because they were down so low the first half of last year.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Around half of Silverados/Sierras are built in Mexico, which kept building them for about 6 weeks after US plants were shut down.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          In my town the Ford and Chevy/GM lots are almost empty while the FCA lot is jam packed with new trucks.

  • avatar
    AVT

    I think a lot of it has to do with credit lending for these items. Since covid, getting an auto loan (especially if your credit was not in the good range) became a lot more difficult. In general, ram buyers tend to be lower on the fico spectrum than buyers of Ford and chevy’s. I know an individual who was looking at a 2500 Laramie but got rejected on the loan once covid happened. Ford got hit hard with supplier shortages as part of covid (in particular they’re aluminum supply chain). My guess is they are prioritizing f150’s over HD’s until they get back up to speed. Chevy is a decent middle ground between price, performance, and features. Having that balance is what is allowing them to move the metal (that and an apparently highly dedicated workforce if they got management working hand in hand with everyone else to build product). I wonder if ford or fca will do something similar?

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