GM plans to create its own fleet of delivery trucks to keep a strong flow of finished vehicles shipping to its dealerships in 2023, The move is prompted by significant improvements in vehicle production.
Leading personnel from the Chevrolet brand and from Chevy’s dealer council said The General expects to almost regain its full production capacity this year. The company is working to eliminate the last supply chain obstacles, rapidly get parts for partially-completed vehicles, and efficiently get the freshly finished vehicles onto dealer lots.
Restoring production to the near 100 percent capacity typical before the supply chain disruption is critically important, but it’s not the only action GM is taking.
According to a report by Automotive News, GM plans to buy 400 heavy-duty trucks its employees will directly operate to bring vehicles to dealerships. It announced these plans at a meeting with dealer representatives on January 28th, 2023.
The Chevrolet National Dealer Council’s chairman, Keith McCluskey, said “GM people on GM-owned vehicles are delivering our product to us” and that GM is “not going to sit back and just be a victim of the transportation industry” any longer.
McCluskey said GM produced about 500,000 vehicles that only needed a few more parts for completion, with supply chain improvements reducing the number of unfinished vehicles to just 1,000 by late January 2023. He added that “the bad weather, the storm is behind us” and predicted “a very bright future.”
While GM’s new truck fleet will help bypass third-party transportation problems in the United States, there are still more potential bottlenecks to overcome. For example, shipping shortages repeatedly prevented GM from bringing new Buick Envision units into the U.S. from the GMC-SAIC Jinqiao plant in China during 2022.
Still, having 400 of its own trucks ready to move finished vehicles to lots should help GM increase the available inventory back toward the 60 days supply considered optimal pre-pandemic in the U.S. automotive industry. As just one example, 11,000 finished, ready-to-ship Chevy Silverado HD trucks were left parked with no available transport at the Canadian GM Oshawa plant in May 2022.
Clearing the backlog was particularly slow because the size of the HD trucks made it possible to fit only a few on each rail car. GM’s truck fleet will likely lessen reliance on railways and provide more flexible highway-based transportation options for all the company’s brands.