The last of GM's midsize pickups, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon (GMT 355), rolled off the line at the Shreveport Assembly Plant in Louisiana this past Tuesday. The two little pickups were originally designed with the help of then-partner Isuzu, until GM brought the final steps of the design and production process in-house.
According to the the Detroit News, the plant itself has produced 4.5 million vehicles over its lifetime, from the Chevy S-10 pickups to the Hummer H3 and H3T.
No announcements have been made about exactly when the new Colorado will start production and go on sale, but we do know they'll be produced at the Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri once the necessary retooling and upgrading are complete. GM has said it will spend at least $380 million to expand and update the plant to build the new pickups. There still has been no announcement about continuing the Canyon.
We toured the Shreveport Assembly Plant in May 2003 and were quite impressed with how advanced all the systems and robotics were. The next generation of the small GM pickups is already being sold overseas (see our 2012 Global Pickup Shootout) and is being built in Thailand and enjoying solid sales success.
Because of the relatively significant timing issues between the closing of the Shreveport plant (scheduled to be fully decommissioned by Dec. 1) and the opening of the new plant (likely to be sometime in 2014), dealers have been forced to order an unusually large supply of the trucks during the transition period. Of course, this may not be a bad thing since sales of the Colorado and Canyon have been climbing in the first half of 2012. The Colorado is up 32% and the Canyon is up 14% year over year.
On a related note, the days' supply of the full-size Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 has been climbing as well, largely because of increased production to accommodate dealerships that will also need to weather several plant changeovers as the 2014 GM full-size pickups get a significant design and engineering makeover.
We're guessing buyers who are interested in either a small or half-ton pickup truck will likely be able to negotiate some great deals in the coming months.