FLINT, Mich. — General Motors plans to invest $150 million in the Flint Assembly Plant in Michigan to increase production of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups.
GM says the investment, announced Wednesday by GM President Mark Reuss, will "enhance the plant's conveyors and other tooling to increase production capacity." The work is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.
“We have been running flat out for five years straight building as many trucks as we could trying to meet demand, but we were constrained.” Reuss said. “We think our added capacity can help us take a bite out of the competition as we have a great opportunity to grow both retail and commercial business, especially in this HD business.”
The plans come four months after the company said it would add 1,000 jobs at the plant to produce the next-generation pickups, which are shipping to dealers this week. Those positions, GM says, have been filled with a majority of workers coming from Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, which was idled in March, and Detroit-Hamtramck, which is to end production in January.
GM says it has invested more than $1.6 billion in Flint Assembly since 2013, enabling an increase in the plant's production capacity by about 40,000 vehicles annually, including more crew cab models and diesels.
The launch of the heavy-duty models comes as GM continues to ramp up output of the redesigned Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 models, which started production roughly a year ago.
GM last month said it would invest $24 million in its Fort Wayne, Ind., assembly plant to support increased output of those trucks — specifically crew cabs.
GM says combined sales of the redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickups were up 20 percent in the first quarter vs. a year ago.
But the prolonged launch of the light-duty full-size pickups and downtime to retool for the heavy-duty versions have taken a toll on overall sales of the highly profitable trucks.
The Automotive News Data Center estimates U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Silverado through May were down 12 percent from a year earlier, while sales of the GMC Sierra declined 4.4 percent.