GM cancels more Saturday pickup shifts

GM cancels more Saturday pickup shifts
Mike Colias
Automotive News | August 24, 2011 – 4:31 pm EST

DETROIT — General Motors has canceled overtime shifts at another one of its truck plants because of high pickup inventories.

GM is cutting five Saturday shifts that had been planned for September and October at its Flint, Mich., assembly plant, which makes Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, including heavy-duty models.

Spokesman Tom Wickham said GM decided to cancel the shifts “strictly to make sure that our inventory remains at the appropriate level, as opposed to producing too many vehicles.”

Earlier this month, GM also canceled Saturday shifts at its Fort Wayne, Ind., pickup plant for the remainder of the year.

GM has seen stocks of its full-sized pickups swell in recent months as higher gas prices and a weakening economy cooled sales.

GM’s pickup inventory hit a 122-day supply in June before falling to 115 days at the end of July. Analysts say an 80-day inventory is typical for full-sized pickups.

This month, GM’s vice president of sales, Don Johnson, acknowledged that GM’s pickup inventory was larger than GM normally would like. He said GM had been anticipating an uptick in demand during the second half of the year.

GM also is trying to build inventories ahead of next year, when the plants will be down for several weeks as GM prepares to build the next-generation pickup, which is scheduled for a 2013 launch.

This month Flint added a third shift in response to growing demand for heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra models. There’s been no change in the schedule for that shift, Wickham said.

Flint Truck also has started pre-production of 2012 full-sized trucks as it changes over from 2011 models, Wickham said.

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