With the unexpectedly harsh winter of 2013-2014, rail service was hit for much of the U.S. and Canada. Even though all the snow has melted, there are rows of cars and crossovers fresh off Lansing-area assembly lines filling lots across town.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the backlog began to grow in March, with PHH Arval, a Sparks, Maryland-based fleet management firm stating that there was a rail-car shortage of 2,500 cars—up from 1,000 a year ago.
General Motors has agreements with owners of lots to store their vehicles there during the backlog, plus GM is making use of property that it once owned, such as the old Fisher Body plant. The property is now owned by RACER Trust, which was created during GM’s 2009 bankruptcy to manage the company’s closed or demolished plants.
General Motors spokeswoman Erin Davis says GM has relied more on trucks than trains to move its products during the spring. She adds that vehicles destined for local and Michigan dealerships already are trucked from Lansing, but it’s possible dealerships out of state that rely on rail have experienced shortages. Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia crossovers, and Cadillac ATS and CTS models are the ones affected.
In a statement, General Motors said it is “taking steps to ensure that our dealers and more importantly our customers are not affected by this situation” and expects the backlog to be “mostly cleared” by July.