Previously, General Motors awarded the Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant much-needed new product. At the time, we simply understood that the Canadian plant will build the outgoing versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Oshawa is actually part of an intricate plan to reduce lost production as GM prepares to launch the 2019 Silverado and 2019 Sierra.
The Motley Fool reported last Thursday that GM will tap the “Oshawa Shuttle” to keep lost Silverado and Sierra production to a minimum. As GM works to retool its various production facilities in the United States and Mexico to build the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra, the automaker expects to take a drastic hit—a 120,000 production figure hit.
In a market hot for pickups, that’s a lot of lost sales. However, by shipping partially assembled pickups to Oshawa for final assembly during the transition period, GM hopes to reduce that figure to just 60,000. It’s not an ideal situation, but it will put GM in a better position amid retooling.
GM said it’s already begun retooling and changes at its factories around the holidays, but there’s no avoiding the extensive work needed to build the next-generation Silverado and Sierra. The pickups ride on a new platform and incorporate more aluminum, which calls for changes to the assembly process.
If GM’s master plan pans out, it could recoup any lost profits from lagging production later this year when the new trucks launch. The 2019 Silverado and 2019 Sierra are more profitable than the pickups they’ll replace.