High US demand compels Detroit 3 to limit summer shutdown

Article by Anita Panait, on May 27, 2013

Every summer, the Detroit 3 – Ford Motor Co, General Motors and Chrysler Group – shut down their manufacturing sites for two weeks across the United States. For this year, however, the Detroit 3 may forego or shorten the traditional shutdown. They could no longer afford to halt production at their assembly plants, as growing demand for their vehicle products have started to tighten inventories.

The Detroit 3 have to produce more pickups, sport utility vehicles and crossovers in order to cater to surging demand for these vehicles, forcing them to either skip or shorten the traditional summer shutdown that historically has coincided with the start of the new model year. In effect, Ford, GM and Chrysler have to suit their production to the command of the vehicle market. For the second straight year, Ford will only be shutting down 20 of its 31 US plants for just one week, instead of the usual two weeks.

According to Ford, the reduced downtime will increase production in North America by 40,000 units. Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North America manufacturing, told Automotive News that they plan to continue match their production capacity to sales demand, noting that at the moment, the carmaker is “tight on just about everything." He remarked that Ford will implement a similar strategy in 2014 if the demand is there.

Chrysler Group, on the other hand, is removing time off at three of 10 assembly sites, all six engine plants and five of six transmission plants. Chrysler is also shutting down four assembly plants for one week. GM, on the other hand, is expected to shut down production in early July as its inventories as of May 1, 2013 were the largest among the Detroit 3, sources told Automotive News. GM, however, will keep open a site producing large crossovers and will just shut down a heavy-duty pickup plant for one week.

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Topics: ford, gm, chrysler, production

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