Along with having to compete with the discount rates of current competitors, an axle supply shortage is hindering the production speed of General Motors’ regular and double cab 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks, according to a report from Automotive News.
As a result, GM has to temporarily cut production of the pickups at its Fort Wayne, Ind. plant from 1,500 to around 1,300 Silverados and Sierras a day. The axles are being shipped from an American Axle & Manufacturing facility in Silao, Mexico, who haven’t kept pace with GM’s planned production rate, a union official at the Fort Wayne plant told AN.
Suppliers have been working closely with GM for the last few years to ensure adequate quality and production rates for the launch of GM’s new pickup trucks and line of SUV’s, possibly its most important vehicle launches since the company declared bankruptcy in 2009.
GM spokesman Jim Cain confirmed to AN that production at the Fort Wayne plant has been cut back. He declined to comment on specific components or identify suppliers, but did add that slowed production will be made up for in coming weeks and there will be no net loss in production for the pickups.
Dealers say they are awaiting the allocation of more regular and double cab pickups after receiving large quantities of crew cab models, which were the first of the new line of pickups to roll off assembly lines in June. All crew cab models are built at GM’s plant in Silao, Mexico, which hasn’t been affected by the axle shortage.
GM is desperate to get enough axles to the Fort Wayne plant and its plant in Arlington, Texas, which builds its line of full size SUV’s. Older versions of the SUV’s are currently being built, those models do not share a platform with the new line of pickups, and so different axles are needed. As a result, American Axle says the product overlap has slowed production at their plant.
Another factor is the unexpected demand for the 5.3 liter V8 in the pickups. More customers are opting for the larger V8 as opposed to the 4.3 liter V6, thinning the supply of the heavier duty axles used on V8 models.
GM pushed back the production of its new line of SUV’s by three months so as to not negatively affect the launch of the pickups, GM North America President Mark Reuss told AN in May.