GM scheduled a 21-week halt in operations at three U.S. full-size truck plants

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 26, 2011

General Motors Co. has scheduled a 21-week halt in operations at three U.S. full-size truck plants next year to update its factories to prepare for the production of new pickups that will be launched in 2013. GM spokesman Chris Lee said that the output at GM’s Fort Wayne assembly plant in Roanoke, Ind., will be stopped for nine weeks from January to October.

Meanwhile, the Flint, Mich., factory will be idled for seven weeks from June to November. In addition, GM’s plant in Arlington, Texas, will be suspended for a five-week period from June to December.

GM said that it increased its profit this year by raising the supply of its most profitable vehicles – the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. These pickup plants will be idled while they’re subjected to renovations that make them capable of building the next-generation trucks. GM said that at the end of November, its inventory had 202,720 full-size pickups.

This is a 105-day supply on a selling-day basis. GM said that it is aiming to achieve a 90-day supply for its year-end inventory, equivalent to about 200,000 full-size pickups.

According to a slideshow presentation given on Aug. 4, the U.S. full-size pickup plants of GM will have a capacity in 2012 of about 640,000 units. This is a drop from a “normal” capacity of around 780,000 units. Lee said that the company will confirm after Jan. 1 when its scheduled down time would be for its Silao, Mexico factory, which makes full-size vehicles.

Chevrolet’s Silverado is considered to be the most diverse and the most capable lineup in its segment. And the 2012 edition bolsters this position with enhancements and improvements in its appearance, connectivity, and comfort.

The 2012 Silverado features a new front-end design, heated/cooled seats (on the LTZ models), a White Diamond Edition enhanced comfort and look, and a navigation radio that offers better connectivity. The new car also has an updated screen and an integrated hard drive that gets rid of the need to use discs with map data. What’s more, the new Silverado also boasts OnStar and SiriusXM satellite radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and a Wi-Fi system that is installed by the dealer.

All Chevrolet Silverado 1500s – except the hybrid models – feature Trailer Sway Control, too, as well as Hill Start Assist, both as part of StabiliTrak, which is an electronic stability control system. This enhances performances under various driving and trailering conditions.

Chevrolet Truck’s marketing director, Maria Rohrer, says that Silverado’s reliable V-8 performance as well as its competitive fuel economy and its wide range of models all continue to bring a strong appeal to customers. In fact, she adds, Silverado sales went up by 7% through July this year.

According to Rohrer, the changes implemented for the 2012 Silverado enhance the vehicle with a fresh yet updated design as well as with navigation radio system and Wi-Fi connectivity. All these updates make driving the rugged Silverado more enjoyable and more convenient, she says.

Included in the 2012 Silverado’s new and revised design is a chrome mesh grille that is matched either with a chrome surround on the LS and LT models or with a body-color surround on the LTZ model. Both the LS and LT models have lower bumper fascia that is painted in silver and that has more aerodynamic properties on 2WD models with no tow hooks. These two models also have new chrome-clad aluminum wheel measuring 20 inches in diameter.

Four new colors for the Silverado’s exterior have been added: Mocha Steel Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Graystone, and Carbon Flash Metallic. Meanwhile, two new color combinations for the interior are now available: Dark Cashmere/Light Cashmere and Dark Titanium/Light Titanium.

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