When General Motors closed numerous plants last year and announced the discontinuation of many of its passenger car models, the automaker said it would be filling the void by selling more crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks.
That transition is now fully underway. GM announced a major investment in its Fort Wayne Assembly plant today to “further increase production of the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups,” it said in a statement, adding that it would be focusing on ramping up production of Crew Cab models in particular.
“We are building Chevrolet and GMC crew cab pickups at record volume and mix levels to meet customer demand and the $24 million investment will allow us to build even more,” GM CEO Mary Barra said during a visit to Fort Wayne today. “The team here at Fort Wayne has done an outstanding job helping us satisfy customers throughout this launch. Our product ramp-up was very smooth and the quality has been exceptional. Crew cab sales have been very strong, and we are expanding customer choice with new models, more cab choices and innovative new powertrains.”
The $24 million investment will go toward enhance the plant’s conveyors and upgrading other tooling that will enable increased production speeds. The work is expected to be complete by the end of this summer.
GM says sales of its Silverado and Sierra 1500 Crew Cab models are up 20 percent in the first-quarter of 2019 compared to last year. The automaker is predicting another major jump in sales for Crew Cab models the second-quarter as well.
GM made a number of changes to the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra powertrain lineups for the 2020 model year, expanding availability of the 10-speed automatic transmission to certain 5.3-liter V8 equipped models and offering the L87 6.2-liter V8 on less expensive versions of the trucks.
Update: a previous version of this article listed an incorrect investment amount in the headline.