DETROIT -- General Motors is taking more steps to boost production of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain at the Canadian assembly plant that makes the popular crossovers, GM and a union official said today.
GM is adding as many as 100 workers and will adjust the assembly line speed at its CAMI Automotive Inc. plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, said Dan Borthwick, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 88, which represents workers at the plant.
GM of Canada spokeswoman Faye Roberts confirmed the plans to add as many as 100 workers at the plant "to meet demand for the hot-selling Equinox and Terrain."
The move will increase production by more than 50 vehicles a day, to more than 1,100, Borthwick said in an e-mail to Automotive News. The plant has been running three shifts and Saturday overtime shifts for nearly two years to meet high demand, Borthwick said.
The Equinox and Terrain remain in tight supply despite persistent efforts by GM to ramp up production.
The latest plan to squeeze out at least 50 more units daily from the CAMI plant marks the fifth time GM has lifted production of the crossovers since 2009, when it launched a redesigned Equinox and an all-new Terrain.
Dealers turn 'em
On Monday, Don Johnson, GM's U.S. sales chief, acknowledged that Equinox and Terrain remain in tight supply but would not comment on any plans to increase production.
"I'm continually impressed by our dealers' ability to turn those vehicles extremely quickly," Johnson told analysts and reporters during a conference call.
Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper first reported GM's plans to increase capacity, citing industry sources.
The crossovers are among the stars of both Chevrolet and GMC's lineups. Chevy sold 15,497 Equinox units last month, up 33 percent from September 2010, and has sold 145,035 units this year through September, up 46 percent from the same period in 2010. Terrain sales totaled 6,910 last month, up 45 percent, and are up 59 percent over the first nine months, at 63,451.
Stocks still tight
GM's most significant bid to increase production came in September 2010, when it began transporting Equinox bodies built at CAMI about 125 miles to its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant for final assembly.
But the crossovers remain tough to get for dealers. As of Sept. 1, GM had a 33-day supply of the Equinox and a 42-day supply of the Terrain -- two of the thinnest stocks among GM's high-volume vehicles.
It's unclear whether GM has longer-range plans to increase production of the Equinox and Terrain. CAW officials have expressed concern that spillover production could move to GM's former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., which GM plans to reopen as part of its recently inked labor settlement with the UAW.
GM officials are considering the Spring Hill plant to produce more Equinox and Terrain vehicles, according to media reports. The company refuses to comment.