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Is GM Playing Shell Game with New Production Plans?

Maker moves Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, but moves Equinox out.

by on Aug.29, 2014

GM is moving Cadillac SRX production to Spring Hill, Tennessee from Mexico. It failed to mention it's shifting Equinox production from Spring Hill to Mexico.

Everyone’s familiar with the shell game, right? It’s a game commonly associated with the streets of New York City and now possibly General Motors.

In the game, a small ball is place under one of three cups which are then quickly shuffled around. For a few bucks, someone is invited to guess what cup the ball is under; however, it seems GM may be playing the same game with vehicle production moving to the U.S.

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With some fanfare, the Detroit-based maker on Wednesday announced it was moving production of its Cadillac SRX crossover from its plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, to the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. (more…)

GM Idles Chevy Cruze, Buick Verano Production

Why the bad news may be good news.

by on Dec.14, 2011

GM puts Cruze production on hold due to a problem with a suspension strut.

Automakers will do almost anything to avoid slowing or, worse, shutting down an assembly plant.  And that’s doubly true when that factory is rolling out a product as hot as the Chevrolet Cruze which has, in recent months, been running at or near the top of the U.S. passenger car sales charts.

But production has, indeed, been idled temporarily at the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant producing the compact Cruze because of problems with a key supplier.  Production of the new Buick Verano – which shares the same basic platform as Cruze – has also been put on hold.

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The maker has acknowledged the problem is due to the quality of parts provided by a supplier, which a company official said could impact customer satisfaction.  “We are working with the supplier to resume production as quickly as possible,” added a formal GM statement.

Though GM declined to provide details, it appears the problem involves a defect with a suspension strut produced by the Canadian mega-supplier Magna International, according to a report by Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache.

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Some Japanese Car Plants Ready to Reopen

But problems persist and could threaten GM.

by on Mar.16, 2011

Toyota pares back production of models like Camry at North American plants but resumes some Japanese operations tomorrow.

With the lights on the landmark Tokyo Tower darkened due to power shortages across the country, things are anything but back to normal in Japan, but one sign of progress comes from Toyota, which says it will reopen some of its parts plants on Thursday, though the maker will keep assembly lines shuttered until at least the 22nd.

The plants resuming operation tomorrow will supply much-needed parts to vehicles in use in Japan.  Meanwhile, Toyota said, it will resume production, next Monday, of parts needed by its overseas plants.

That’s good news for managers of assembly operations in North America, where the maker late yesterday announced it would trim overtime and Saturday hours because of the threat of possible parts shortages.  Like many so-called “transplants,” Toyota’s U.S. and Canadian assembly lines remain dependent upon many parts and components shipped in from Japan.

“It didn’t make any sense to build vehicles on overtime if we were not sure we would have enough parts,” explained spokesman Javier Moreno.  How long the slowdown will continue remains uncertain.  “We’re not sure how many parts they can send us,” said Moreno.

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Toyota isn’t the only maker worried about the impact on foreign operations.  Subaru has halted production at its Indiana plant.  And even Detroit makers are worried about parts shortages triggered by problems with Japanese suppliers.

Chris Perry, General Motors vice president of marketing, told reporters in Detroit it is possible GM’s production in the U.S. could be hurt. “It’s going to have an effect on all manufacturers,” said Perry adding the impact could extend to GM’s operations in China.

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GM Adding Shift, Rehiring Workers

Ford puts 3,000 on temporary layoff due to parts shortage.

by on Jan.25, 2011

Growing demand from small businesses for heavy-duty pickups leads GM to add a third shift at its Flint plant.

General Motors plans to add a third shift at truck assembly plant in Flint, Mi. to build heavy-duty pickup trucks, largely for commercial customers – a move that should come as good news to 750 workers currently on layoff.

But 3,000 Ford workers at a plant near the company’s headquarters have gotten less positive news, learning they will be temporarily idled, next week, ironically because increasing demand has led to a shortage of key powertrain components.

Mark Reuss, GM President – North America, said the automaker is satisfied demand for the trucks is growing and there are ample customers for the heavy-duty trucks which, in turn, suggest there’s growing movement in the economy.

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“Adding a third shift is a response to customer demand for heavy-duty pickups, which most people use to tow, haul and plow,” said Mark Reuss.

Flint Assembly currently employs nearly 2,100 hourly and salaried employees and operates two production shifts. In 2010 the plant produced 115,000 trucks, the majority of them regular and crew-cab versions of the heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra. Last year, the plant added production of regular and crew-cab version of the light-duty Silverado.

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GM Has Added 6,900 Jobs Since Bankruptcy

Detroit Big 3 boosting jobs, but still far short of past peaks.

by on Aug.05, 2010

GM boosted its U.S. workforce by nearly 10% since last year's bankruptcy, says Girsky.

With demand rising for its latest offerings, General Motors has added 6.900 new jobs since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009, says a senior company executive.

In an interview with a Detroit radio station, WJR, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky also suggested that observers “will be encouraged” by the earnings numbers the automaker plans to report this month.  Inside sources have indicated that GM is waiting for the reaction to its second-quarter earnings before formally announcing the details of its planned IPO.

The long-troubled maker has been seeing a steady rise in demand since it exited Chapter 11 protection, despite the numerous plant closures authorized by the courts – and the sale or abandonment of four of its eight North American brands.  Overall, the maker posted a 5.4% increase in sales during July, even as arch-rival Toyota’s volumes declined.

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Significantly, sales by GM’s four surviving brands rose 25% for the month, and the Buick and Cadillac brands, in particular, saw volumes more than double.

The increases have largely been driven by demand for GM’s newest products, such as the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and Buick LaCrosse sedan.  If anything, the maker has been struggling to keep up with customer orders, dealers having barely a 15-day supply of the Equinox on their lots, in an industry where a 60-day supply is the norm.  That has led GM to bring back some workers on long-term furlough and also hire some new employees.

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General Motors Bumping Up Production

Other makers following GM’s lead.

by on Apr.06, 2010

With some models, like this Chevrolet Equinox, posting triple-digit sales gains, General Motors is boosting production. And other makers, including Ford and Toyota are following, GM's lead.

Stronger sales have prompted General Motors Company to push forward plans to boost production.  (See General Motor’s March Sales up 21%)

The latest signal came this week when GM announced plans to add 100 workers at a transmission plant in Warren, Michigan, which is used for building the six-speed automatic gearbox used in vehicles such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Traverse, Malibu and Impala, Buick LaCrosse, Enclave and Lucerne and GMC Acadia and Terrain.

Through the first three months of the year, U.S. sales for Equinox have risen 130%, compared to the same period last year.  LaCrosse sales are up 197% and Terrain sales are up 245%, compared to the vehicle it replaced, the Pontiac Torrent.

Overall GM’s sales increased 20% but that number is misleading, since it doesn’t account for the fact that the maker has abandoned four brands since emerging from bankruptcy, last year.  Sales at its surviving, core brands, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC, soared 43% in March.

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Susan Docherty, GM’s vice president of marketing, contends the 43% increase demonstrates that the company’s turnaround plan was working.  If nothing else, it means that the maker needs to respond where demand is now exceeding supply.

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GM Aiming to Increase Equinox, Terrain Production

Maker facing a rare problem: more buyers than CUVs.

by on Mar.26, 2010

A rare problem for GM -- more customers than cars -- will be fixed by plans to boost production of the popular Chevrolet Equinox.

Here’s something General Motors hasn’t experienced much of in recent years: a shortage of some of its newest and hottest products.  While the maker has often had to dump thousands of dollars on the hood to get sluggish-selling models, like the Chevrolet Cobalt, to move, dealers can’t keep up with demand for another Chevy product, the new Equinox crossover-utility vehicle.

As a result, GM today announced plans to increase production of both the Equinox and its CUV cousin, the GMC Terrain – a move that will result in the creation of nearly 700 jobs.

The decision to ramp up production of the two high-demand crossovers isn’t as easy as simply opening up a spigot.  It requires a two-step process, starting with the expansion of the body shop at a GM factory in Ingersoll, Ontario.  Once that’s completed, the CAMI plant will ship additional Equinox and Terrain bodies to a nearby assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario.

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Adding a third shift in Oshawa will require GM to recall about 600 laid-off workers.  At CAMI, the maker will require another 70 workers, some to be recalled, but others will be new hires.

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