Last time we checked up on General Motors’ Wentzville, MO plant, the facility was under “critical event status,” and was working overtime to help meet demand of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups. Little has changed since then, with Automotive News reporting the plant has now cut workers’ unpaid lunch break and gotten rid of a six-minute production delay between shifts in order to increase production capacity.
AN says the lunch break cut and eliminating the six-minute production lull will result in an extra 18 minutes of production in the plants’ current three-shift work day. As a result, an additional 3,500 Colorados and Canyons will leave the production line each year. In addition to this, the plant has also hired on about 1,000 ‘flex’ workers to fill Saturday and Sunday shifts, which in itself could result in an extra 2,000 trucks a month.
According to insiders close to the matter, GM was caught off guard by the demand for the Colorado and Canyon. It was extra difficult to guess how high demand would be for the two mid-size pickups as the segment had been mostly abandoned by automakers and consumers, AN says, and with unexpectedly low fuel prices sticking around, demand for trucks and SUVs are unusually high.
J.D. Power data shows Chevy Colorados are only sticking around on dealer lots for an average of 12 days before finding a home, making it one of the fastest selling vehicles industry wide. One Chicago area dealer told AN they were “asking for 10 times what they’re giving us,” in regards to Colorado inventory, and that store is far from an outlier.