As General Motors carefully manages the rollout of its most important vehicles in recent years, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra, it appears the strategy is working. GM has continued building its previous-generation pickups as production slowly ramps up for the new models. The strategy led to a 0.6 percent increase for pickup truck sales in quarter three of 2018, Automotive News (subscription required) reported Sunday.
Specifically, Silverado sales carried the slight uptick in sales. The increase comes as most GM vehicles posted declines and the automaker reported an 11.1 percent decreases in Q3 sales numbers. Low inventory of pickup trucks has led GM to decrease incentive spending on the Silverado and Sierra by 19 percent and 35 percent.
“Our brands are very well-positioned for the fourth quarter when our next wave of new products start shipping in high volume,” said Kurt McNeil, GM U.S. vice president of sales operations.
While GM has sold down its older trucks in a rather smooth fashion, the next step will be moving new models in high volume without any hiccups to avoid sales dips. Inventory and lower incentives helped Ram outsell the Chevrolet Silverado for the past two months. Overall, Ram pickup sales are on par with 2017 numbers.
GM’s strategy sees unfinished pickups shipped from the Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant to Oshawa, Ontario, for final assembly. The pickup truck assembly helped secure the Canadian plant’s future for now, but it’s unclear how long GM will build the old pickups. Aside from the pickups, GM hasn’t allocated a new vehicle to the assembly plant, but things may change as Canada, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a NAFTA replacement. The new agreement gives automakers a regulatory environment to work around and make longterm decisions.
The first units of 2019 Silverado and Sierra are reaching dealers now, but more volume-selling models will enter production later this year.