After a rather dismal first quarter sales result for its new 2019 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, GM is investing $24M into the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant. This should help!
The investment, due to be completed this summer, will help improve the tooling and conveyors system in hopes of speeding up production times. GM says this will especially affect crew cab pickups.
GM has been saying its new pickups, especially the crew cab variations, have been strong sellers compared to the prior model and the strong production mix of crew cabs is partly to blame for losing market share to Ram in the first quarter.
They will now improve production of the crew cab pickups as well as keep double cabs, which started production in the first quarter, rolling off the assembly line. Improving the product mix on dealer lots should help with sales and will force the issue with who is #2 with Ram later this fall.
Finally, the push for crew cab sales is really about popularity and profits with the latter helping GM invest in emerging technologies like electric vehicles and autonomous driving.
Here is the official release:
Roanoke, Ind. – General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is making a new round of upgrades to its Fort Wayne Assembly plant to further increase production of the all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups – especially crew cab models.
“We are building Chevrolet and GMC crew cab pickups at record volume and mix levels to meet customer demand and the $24 million investment will allow us to build even more,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. “The team here at Fort Wayne has done an outstanding job helping us satisfy customers throughout this launch. Our product ramp-up was very smooth and the quality has been exceptional. Crew cab sales have been very strong, and we are expanding customer choice with new models, more cab choices and innovative new powertrains.”
Combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickups, which launched in the second half of 2018, were up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2019 versus a year ago. GM is projecting another significant increase for the second quarter. Customer deliveries of the double-cab models built in Fort Wayne began during the first quarter.
The $24 million will be invested to further enhance the plant’s conveyors and other tooling to support the increased production. The work will be completed this summer. With today’s announcement, GM has invested more than $1.2 billion in the plant since 2015.
Since 2009, GM has invested $23 billion in U.S. manufacturing – more than one-quarter of every dollar spent by automakers.