General Motors talks about its all-electric future, but it is also paying attention to the present.
The company is bolstering production of full-size pickup trucks essential to the company’s profitability with a new $100 million investment in added capacity for traditional powertrains for internal combustion engines.
GM plans to invest $93 million at the Romulus, Michigan propulsion plant and $7 million at company’s casting plant in Bedford, Indiana, according to the company’s announcement.
“We have strong underlying performance and very strong momentum with customers. In 2020, GM was the full-size pickup sales leader in the United States, thanks to gains by the Chevrolet Silverado and record GM Sierra deliveries, and we plant expand our capacity in early 2022,” GM Chairman Mary Barra said.
New investment boosts transmission production
The investment in the two U.S. manufacturing plants is designed to boost production of 10-speed automatic transmissions used in the two popular pickup trucks that are at the heart of the company sales, GM said.
“Demand for our Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups continues to be very strong and we are taking action to increase the availability of our trucks for our dealers and customers,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president, North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations.
“We appreciate the commitment and hard work our teams display every day at work in Romulus and Bedford, and these investments reflect the importance of their efforts.”
New spending follows earlier investment
The investments in Michigan and Indiana bring to $175 million GM’s recent investment in plants tied to the production of powertrains used in the two pickups.
Last month, GM said it was investing $75 million in the company’s transmission manufacturing plant in Toledo, Ohio to increase the plant’s capacity to build 10-speed automatic transmissions used in the Silverado and Sierra.
The investments announced this week includes spending at Romulus that will add machining capability, while the Bedford investment will increase the plant’s die casting capacity.
Romulus currently builds V-6 engines and 10-speed transmissions used in a variety of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.
Bedford Casting Operations, an aluminum die casting facility, produces transmission casings, converter housings, heads, and small gas engine blocks used in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.
GM shifts semiconductors to trucks
Paul Jacobson, GM’s new chief financial officer, noted GM is taking other steps to protect the protection of its full-size pickup trucks.
GM estimates that the ongoing semiconductor shortage could reduce its 2021 earnings by between $1.5 billion and $2 billion and just this week announced it was extending temporary shutdown of assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, Ingersoll, Ontario and San Luis Potosi until mid-March due to the shortage of semiconductors.
Jacobson told analysts that as part of its effort to work around the shortage of semiconductors, GM, where possible, plans to divert the computer chips it does have so they will be used ensure the production of full-size pickups.