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GM Rolls Dice on New Midsize Pickup Truck

Automaker breaks ground on addition to existing plant where it will build next Chevrolet Colorado.

by on May.22, 2012

General Motors showed this Chevrolet Colorado concept when it announced last fall that Wentzville would be expanded to handle its production.

General Motors broke ground Monday on a $380 million plant expansion to its Wentzville Assembly facility outside St. Louis, to accommodate the production of the newly designed Chevrolet Colorado midsize pick-up, creating or retaining about 1,260 jobs hourly and salaried jobs.

“Our plant could not be successful without strong support from our local community,” GM Wentzville plant manager John Dansby said . “We’re pleased to make this announcement today that strengthens our presence in Wentzville with a significant expansion of our facility that will benefit the local economy.”

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Wentzville currently produces the full-size Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo and passenger vans.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon talks to media at a ceremony where General Motors broke ground on a new $380 million plant expansion to its Wentzville Assembly facility Monday.

GM builds the existing Colorado and its sister truck the GMC Canyon, at a plant in Shreveport, La., which is slated to close.

The Wentzville plant – currently 3.7 million square feet – will grow by another half a million square feet.

A UAW official told the St. Louis Dispatch that some of the new hires at Wentzville will come from Shreveport, but estimated 80 percent of the 1,260 jobs will be filled by new hires from the St. Louis area.

A version of the truck slated for the Wentzville plant is already in production in Thailand.

Click here to read TheDetroitBureau.com’s First Look at the 2012 Colorado.

GM is gambling that sales for smaller pickup trucks will grow, precisely the opposite of Ford’s strategy. Ford ended production of its small Ranger pickup last year and won’t sell its replacement stateside. Ford has said small pickup trucks have grown so much that there’s little differences between them and their full-size brethren. And those who bought the Ranger as a work vehicle or because it was simply the cheapest new vehicle in the Ford showroom have other options such as the TransitConnect and Fiesta.

 

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2 Responses to “GM Rolls Dice on New Midsize Pickup Truck”

  1. r123t says:

    I think Ford is wrong. Not everyone has the room i their garage for a full-size pickup, including me, but a smaller pickup would fit nicely. Talking to my elderly father about the same subject the other day, he mentioned that he would love to replace his 1999 S-10 with a new truck, but that he didn’t feel comfortable with a full-size.

    My opinion is that there is a market for smaller trucks; I don’t need a work truck, and I don’t pull a trailer. I do a lot of personal yard work, and go to Lowes a lot. When the articles I need to purchase are going to be a bit larger, such as a small tree or perhaps mulch or gravel, I end up borrowing Dad’s truck, which is inconvenient. I just don’t need or want a big truck, but something smaller, a handyman’s truck if you will, would sure be nice.

    Maybe GM could partner with Lowes and Jimmy Johnson to do some advertising for the new truck, showing the merits of this truck for the weekend gardeners.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Personally, I agree. While there are numerous advantages to the F-Series, it is a big, honking truck and a lot of folks I know who’ve moved away from pickups might be more willing to come back with something a little more compact — were the alternatives not dated products like the old Ranger.
      Paul A. Eisenstein
      Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com