In a ringing endorsement of the effectiveness of the “Cash for Clunkers Program” General Motors Company announced this afternoon that it will add 60,000 cars and trucks to its production schedule for the balance of the year.
The press conference occurred less than one hour after CEO Fritz Henderson approved the reinstatement of 1,350 UAW and CAW jobs, and the addition of work shifts to GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant, where Chevrolet Cobalt models are assembled; and the CAMI, Ontario, Canada, plant that builds Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers. The CAMI increase puts it at maximum three-shift capacity indefinitely.
The GM production increases were much more aggressive than Ford Motor Company’s announcement last week that it was adding 10,000 vehicles to its back of the year production schedule. Chrysler, whose sales are off almost 42% year-to-date, has not announced any such adjustments to its production since its plants came back online at the end of July, when it had only a 42-day supply of vehicles. GM, like Chrysler, basically stopped producing vehicles when it filed for bankruptcy back in June in an attempt to get inventories down to about 500,000. It now has about 300,000 vehicles on the pavement at its dealers.
“We wanted to run lean, but we are just way too lean right now,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. Sales. “Our dealers continue to request more vehicles than we are producing,” LaNeve added. “A big chunk of the increase is attributable to the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program,” said LaNeve, who claimed, perhaps disingenuously, that thus far the company is not losing sales.