DETROIT -- General Motors will increase production of the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup, which has been in tight supply since its debut 18 months ago, a company executive said today.
Work is being done at GM’s Wentzville, Mo., plant -- where the Colorado and it sibling, the GMC Canyon are assembled -- to add “hard tooling capacity on the line,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevy’s director of truck marketing.
“We will have additional production capacity at Wentzville” to support the fast-selling trucks, Piszar told reporters at a GM event today.
Darin Copeland, a GM spokesman at the Wentzville plant, said work is being done to “increase the line speed to make more trucks for our customers down the road.” He said that process should be completed sometime in coming weeks.
“Small production increases daily can mean bigger numbers over the course of a year,” he said.
GM wouldn’t quantify the increase in production.
Sales of the Colorado and Canyon have exceeded GM’s initial estimates. The trucks sold 114,507 units combined last year, vs. forecasts from four outside research firms that had ranged from 73,000 to 99,000.
The St. Louis-area plant, which has about 3,700 workers, has been running three shifts a day plus weekend overtime to squeeze out more pickups and commercial vans (the factory also produces the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size cargo vans). Production of the pickups began in the summer of 2014.
In November, a GM memo circulated to plant workers said that GM is considering a partnership with Indiana-based contract manufacturer AM General to take on some van production, which would create capacity for more Colorados and Canyons. Spokespersons for both companies declined to comment.
The supply crunch has eased in recent months. Chevrolet dealers had a 58-day supply of Colorados as of Feb. 1. That’s still relatively tight given the various cab types and bed sizes offered, but down from 20 days on June 1. There was a 90-day supply of Canyons.
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