General Motors Co. wanted to trim down its pickup inventory and so it has reduced the output of its truck assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Ind. Last Wednesday, UAW Local 2209's Web site revealed that Saturday shifts at this plant were canceled for the rest of the year. The reason given was the sufficient number of trucks it had in its inventory.
This facility manufactures full-sized Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The local represents hourly workers at Fort Wayne.
The posting had disappeared from the site on Thursday. An insider said that since the beginning of 2011, the plant had worked a Saturday shift for about half the time. Several analysts have turned their attention to the U.S. automaker’s pickup inventory.
In June, GM had a 122-day supply but towards the end of the July, it fell to a 115-day supply. For full-sized pickups, there typically is an 80-day inventory. GM U.S. sales chief Don Johnson said last July that he estimates that by the end of the year, the pickup inventory will drop to a 90-day supply, amounting to about 200,000 units.
He said that GM will not be using huge discounts to sell the trucks. Instead, GM will “match demand with [its] production decisions.” Johnson explained that the inventory became unusually high because GM had expected a surge in demand during the second half of 2011.
In addition, GM is attempting to beef up inventories as the plants will be shut down for several weeks next year. During this period, GM will be preparing to produce the next-generation pickup, which is set to be launched in 2013.