General Motors will close some US plants for a combined total of 10 weeks of production time in the second half of the year, a move that will help balance swelling stock levels, the automaker's North America president has said.
The Detroit News, citing analysts and local unions, said plants that may be affected include Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas; Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in Roanoke, Indiana; and Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio. More downtime is possible at GM's Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant which is adding new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs.
GM's inventory levels have ballooned to 926,170 vehicles or 98 days' supply at the end of March, up from 900,681 or 91 days' supply at the end of February, the report said.
"Our inventory's high because we're going to take 10 weeks out in the back end of the year as we're modifying our plants particularly in pickup trucks," GM North America President Alan Batey told the Detroit News at the introduction of the 2018 Buick Enclave at the New York show. "To be able to cadence that, we have needed to build inventory up a little bit right now because in the back end of the year we're going to lose 10 weeks of production."
GM and Batey did not identify the plants that would be impacted by production downtime, or the models that specifically would be targeted.
The automaker in recent months has cut shifts at car plants to trim inflated car inventory, the paper noted.
Batey said downtime would help reduce inventory levels by the end of the year to about the mid 70-day range. The 60- to 70-day range is a target analysts consider healthy.
The report said the downtime for at least some truck plants is an indication the company may be prepping its factories for the next generation full size pickups. Batey would not say when those new trucks would be out. Some analysts say GM is planning to launch new full size trucks for the 2019 model year.