General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are extending holiday downtime at several North American assembly plants to keep car inventories in check.
At the same time, Chrysler Group is adding production shifts over the holidays at plants in Ohio and Michigan that build Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups.
Most automakers plan to idle North American assembly plants beginning Monday Dec. 23 and resume output on Jan. 2.
Excess supply is prompting GM to idle two plants for an extra week after the holidays, sources said: The Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan., where the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse are assembled; and the “flex” line at its Oshawa, Ontario, plant, which produces the Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS and Chevy Camaro.
A GM spokesman declined to discuss specific production schedules, saying only that GM will align production with demand.
GM and its dealers had a 148-day supply of LaCrosse models on Dec. 1, up from 98 days a month earlier, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Supply of the Malibu was 71 days, up from 60 on Nov. 1.
There was a 99-day supply of Regal on Dec. 1, up from 88 days on Nov. 1. XTS stocks fell to a 105-day supply on at the start of December, down from 131 days a month earlier. Camaro inventory swelled to a 167-day supply, from 135 days on Nov. 1.
Most of General Motors’ vehicle assembly plants in North America will be down during the weeks of Dec. 22 and Dec. 29. Most will resume production on Thursday, Jan. 2, while some will remain idled until Monday Jan. 6.
GM’s plant in Wentzville, Mo., also will be idled for an additional week after the two-week holiday shutdown. The extra downtime is related to new equipment being installed for production of the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, which is scheduled to begin this summer.
Ford plans to idle a plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, on Jan. 2 and 3, and the week of Jan. 6, where the Fiesta subcompact is assembled.
U.S. deliveries of the Fiesta have surged 30 percent this year to 66,597 through November but inventories of the subcompact stood at 124 days on Dec. 1, down from 134 days on Nov. 1.
Ford is also extending holiday shutdowns at plants in Hermosillo, Mexico, and Dearborn, Mich., that build the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and F-series pickup, to include Jan. 2 and Jan. 3.
The company idled Michigan plants for a week this month that build the Fusion, Mustang, Focus and C-Max hybrid. The Ford plant in Flat Rock, Mich., that builds the Mustang and Fusion will be down until Jan. 21.
Chrysler has added the following production plans over the traditional holiday break:
- Two shifts on Dec. 23 at a plant in Warren, Mich., that builds the Ram pickup
- One shift on Dec. 22 and 23 at a Detroit factory that assembles the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
- One shift on Dec. 26, 27, 30 and 31 at a plant in Toledo, Ohio, that builds the Jeep Cherokee.
U.S. deliveries of the Ram have climbed 23 percent this year through November, while Jeep Grand Cherokee sales have jumped 15 percent and Dodge Durango demand has advanced 48 percent.
Chrysler said it also scheduled two shifts at its Toledo supplier park, where the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are built, on Dec. 31. Wrangler sales are up 10 percent in the United States this year.
It's the third consecutive year Chrysler has scheduled extra output at some plants during the traditional Christmas holiday shutdown in North America.
David Phillips contributed to this report.