DETROIT -- General Motors Co. plans to boost third-quarter North American vehicle production by 35 percent over second-quarter levels.
The automaker said today it will build 210,000 cars and 325,000 light trucks in the three-month period.
Until today, GM has not issued any third-quarter production estimates.
The 535,000 vehicles GM plans to build this quarter is down 42 percent over its 2008 third-quarter production of 915,000 vehicles but is notably higher than the 395,000 vehicles it built in the second quarter. GM made 371,000 vehicles in the first quarter.
The production increases are good news for GMs financially beleaguered North American suppliers. So far this year, at least 17 major auto suppliers have filed for bankruptcy protection in U.S. courts. This doesnt include smaller suppliers or companies that have gone out of business without filing bankruptcy.
Many of the suppliers -- including Cooper-Standard Automotive, which filed today -- blamed low North American production levels for their financial predicaments.
GM sold 188,156 vehicles in July, down 19.4 percent over July 2008, but it was GMs lowest decline of the year. GM sales for the year to date plunged 37.7 percent compared with the same seven months last year.
The federal governments cash-for-clunkers program not only helped dealers finish the month with a flurry, it also lowered GMs inventory to a 76-day supply, or 466,000 vehicles, said Mark LaNeve, GMs sales chief.
GM carried 82 days of U.S. inventory on July 1 and 91 days on June 1, according to the Automotive News data center.