GM Pauses Full-Size Truck Production to Keep Market Hungry

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

gm pauses full size truck production to keep market hungry

With production pauses becoming commonplace during the pandemic, automakers realized they could effectively starve the market while demand reached dizzying highs that allowed the industry to trim overhead and forego factory incentives. Unfortunately, this also meant consumers were given less choice and often had to pay more – whether or not they found what they wanted on dealer lots.

Many automakers have stated that they won’t be going back to robust vehicle inventories and would instead continue attempting to run lean in order to maximize profitability. With exactly that in mind, General Motors has opted to suspend production at its Fort Wayne, Indiana truck assembly facility. The pause will last two weeks (impacting the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra) and help the company “maintain optimal inventory levels.”

The shutdown is scheduled to commence on Monday, March 27, and is reported by Autoweek to be in accordance with provisions of both national and local UAW bargaining agreements. Though the outlet noted that some of those updated provisions weren’t particularly well-liked by union members – as they effectively encouraged more downtime.

"That [jobs banks] program had required automakers put employees who would have been laid off into a program where they still got full pay," Cox Automotive Executive Analyst Michelle Krebs said. "Eliminating that program gave the domestic automakers more flexibility to idle plants when inventory was high or for whatever reason."

While those changes made life harder for people working the assembly line, it seems to have worked out well for automakers and arguments have been made that it’ll likewise help the industry avoid another crash like the one witnessed in 2008. But inventories that are considered high by modern standards are significantly smaller than what would have been considered normal just a few years ago. GM CFO Paul Jacobson, previously said the company would target 50 to 60 days' inventory through 2023 – roughly 30 days shy of what would have been normal in 2019.

For now, the automaker’s other full-size truck plants (located in Michigan, Canada, and Mexico) will continue operations while Indiana goes on hiatus. General Motors has said that it would constantly review and adjust production schedules to see if subsequent idling would be necessary. But has no plans beyond the two-week shutdown at present.

[Image: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock]

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2 of 46 comments
  • Dave Dave on Mar 02, 2023

    These are short sighted gains. Soon people will be upside down on car loans twice as long as they used to be due to the inflated prices. This will keep them out of the car buying market longer than in the past. Then automakers will cry bankruptcy again and try to get free loans from the taxpayer only we will say no. The failure of GM is on the horizon and they are hastening it.

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 02, 2023

      Dave--Good points. Those who will be upside down on their loans will be out of the market longer. There is always a possibility of another bankruptcy but this time it could be Ford and GM. I believe Stellantis has enough funds to ride out a recession and it is incorporated in the Netherlands from the merger of PSA France and Fiat Chrysler.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 05, 2023

    Chevrolet had the perennial 1/2 sales leader for decades. Ford always beat them in HD sales. I see mostly Ram's and Fords now. Make a truck people want to buy and you won't have a 100 day inventory.

    The new Colorado/Canyon saw a huge jump in price and crewcab shortbox is the only trim.

    Smart.. real smart.

  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.
  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?