DETROIT -- General Motors is expected to end production of the outgoing Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra by the end of next year.

GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara on Wednesday said the company will begin winding down production of the previous-generation K2 crew cab models early next year, followed by double cab and regular cab models beginning in "the early second half of next year."

The company started producing crew cab models of the next-generation, or T1, pickups in July in Fort Wayne, Ind., followed by double cab models in October. GMs plant in Silao, Mexico, is expected to come on line and assemble regular cab and crew cab models of the redesigned pickups in January. The redesigned trucks started arriving at dealerships in August.

Suryadevara, speaking with journalists Wednesday to review GMs third-quarter earnings, said the launch of the redesigned pickups has been "going exceptionally well." GM, she said, delivered 45,000 next-gen pickups in the third quarter. For the year, the company plans to deliver 120,000 -- 10,000 less than an estimate this year from Suryadevaras predecessor, Chuck Stevens.

Through the third quarter, U.S. sales of the Silverado rose 1.4 percent to 424,403. U.S. deliveries of the Sierra slipped 1.4 percent to 152,242 through September.

Oshawa shuttle

GM navigated the changeover in large pickups by having its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, assist in building the outgoing pickups.

The process, known as the "Oshawa shuttle," includes shipping unfinished Silverado and Sierra double cab bodies to the Canadian plant from the Fort Wayne, Ind., plant. The models are painted in the Oshawa plant and employees there perform final assembly of the vehicles.

The Oshawa shuttle started at the beginning of 2018. Heavy-duty pickups and a second production shift were added in the summer. The program, according to GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter, is expected to "run into late 2019 based on market demand."

She said the program has been a "great success" and is "on track to build more vehicles (60,000 a year) than the original forecast."

GM declined to comment on what will happen to hourly workers building the pickups; its likely theyll be moved to other positions or laid off.

Chevy vs. Ram

GMs plans to cease production of the K2 pickups next year contrasts with the strategy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which plans to continue output of the outgoing Ram 1500 models through at least 2019.

Under the Ram strategy, which hasnt exactly worked out as Fiat Chrysler planned, the outgoing DS model was targeted for fleet sales, while the redesigned DT model was aimed at retail buyers.

The extended output of the outgoing models, which are produced at a separate plant in the Detroit area, is part of a plan by Ram to outsell Silverado to become the second-best-selling pickup and vehicle in the U.S. behind the Ford F series.

"We need to get ourselves into second," FCA CEO Mike Manley recently told Reuters.

Source: Autonews

November 1, 2018