GM's Mark Reuss Talks Plant Shutdowns

GM made announcements several weeks ago that the three truck plants producing the full-size half-ton GM pickups — Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra — will stagger their shutdowns to accommodate the retooling and renovation for the coming pickups.

The shutdowns at plants in Indiana, Michigan and Texas are required to completely change out some line machinery in some cases, while other equipment will be able to be modified. Some industry analysts speculated that the huge downtime — said to amount to about six weeks for each plant — was due to the added procedures needed to build more complex and very different types of trucks.

However, Mark Reuss, vice president and president of North American production, explained to us that these plant closures are very different from the previous full-size truck redesign. "When we did this last time around, we had more than a dozen plants around the U.S. making parts and pieces of our pickup truck. Now we have just three," he said. "That creates a few issues for us.

"And it's not like we're shutting down the plant and people aren't working. ... We'll be keeping everyone on to do the work, and may have to hire more to help out," Reuss continued.

As to what this shutdown procedure might imply for the next GM half-tons, Reuss was emphatic. "The new truck will be far less complex to build than the current pickup," he said. But when asked in what ways the vehicle might be less complex, he just smiled and said, "We don't need the guys at Ford and Ram to know that."


This seems odd to have assembly line workers staying on to "retool and renovate" the new factory lines. Is that what he said?


@Mark Williams. Mark Reuss will be interested in what is happening at Holden as he was the CEO for about a year. Local manufacturing is at risk because of the high Australian Dollar. An Australian (Federal and State Govts) went to to talk to Mullaly and Acheson about the situation. They have since signed deals that extend manufacturing for 4 more years Ford and about 10 for Holden. Problem for Ford and Holden in Australia is their imported vehicles(Europe and Korea) sell poorly here.

Going from 12 to 3 Factories is more a worry. To stop production to do a refit is far from ideal.

Simpler to build... Are all our GM fans ready for fullsize unibody pickups? I guess the HD already has IFS, why not unibody too? I guess the Avalanch isn't going anywhere if the whole lineup will be like the Ridgline...

Maybe simpler in the sense of more automation? In that case there's more robots, sensors, computers, displays etc that need to be setup.

Ah, they'll leave off optional parts like brake pads, THAT should simplify the manufacturing process!

Generally things are not good. I can see why "saving money" is now a key strategy with Automakers.

It's actually not such a bad thing. If they did go unibody for "simplicity", shaved about 1,000 lbs in the process, added new DI Vortec engines, and still maintained similar towing and payload capability, they would REALLY shake up the market!

he just smiled and said, "We don't need the guys at Ford and Ram to know that." GM GONNA ROCK FORDS WORLD THEN TAKE IT OVER HAHA

POOR planning...

Retooling should be ongoing throughout the year and large machinery should be on wheels or rail type cars to make changeovers a snap...

Poor planning, GM is still living in the 1970's and 1980's...

The next generation gm pickups are going to take everybody by storm. Ford is getting its fifteen minutes of fame now. But when the new Silverado and Sierra trucks come out ford F:series will just be a memory

15 minutes = 34 years???

You couldn't pay me to buy one of the first trucks off those assembly lines. I'll wait a year or so when everything is in sync and moving like it's suppose to. I think the new GM trucks are going to kick Ford's ass. Period.

Ah Oxi, yet another mildly amusing and completely clueless post...

Inventor of the 1955 small black V8, is about to unleash a grand slam!

Measured against the competition: Ford's Eco-boost V-6
420 ftlbs of torque@2500 rpm, on regular gas, is a game changer. Never seen anything like it.

GM will have to have very good, to answer...

Let see, the 5.4 is to the Eco-boost as the 5.3 is to ....

@BobMc Let see, the 5.4 is dog no balls. The Eco-boost is a gas hog. The 5.3 is freaking awsome

my god show us the truck.....y need to change my ford soon,,,please show some picture....

@Fords suck- The 5.3 may be quick unloaded but it couldnt pull a the skin off a pudding.

Be on the lookout fellow bloggers. Frank will be here to troll this thread anytime now.

@ Benchimus The ford looks ugly but it couldnt pull a the skin off a pudding either

Ughh. They're still going to build 2 badges of trucks? Just can GMC already. The Sierra is redundant and utterly pointless. Why not just make the Silverado nicer and be done with it once and for all? Ford doesn't need 2 badges, neither does Toyota or Ram. This is Typical old GM... Bloated.

@Tim, Our tax dollars at work my friend. I don't like GMC either. It makes me pretty hot they kept it around. There's simply no need for 2 darn truck lines in this day and age. This company should have been forced to streamline to 1 line of trucks. Keep the biggest seller and go with it. I'm not happy at all about this.

Simplifying parts ie. reducing the number of separate pieces in a component can make assembly easier and quicker as well as reduce the costs of manufacture. Things like dashboards immediately come to mind.I can see the nose clip being simplified. The other benefit to simplifying components is that they should be more reliable. the problem is that if portion of the component fails then you can't replace that piece and end up replacing the whole unit.

At you guys upset. Limbaugh and Fox will be covering the 2 truck lines soon. We'll see how it goes. I can only imagine it will help Ford yet again. I'm rather sick of it actually though. GM should have just stuck with Chevy and taken the issue off the table. The Sierra just holds the Silverado back anyway.

The 5.3 is only as quick as the $30,000 dollar shootout says....which isn't quick at all. Come to think of it, it stops about as good as it gets moving...takes awhile. Doesn't get better under a load either. By the time GM releases it, they will be so far behind Ford and Ram.

TRX4 Tom smells of ego turds

Well, I don't care for GMC either but whatever. GM is one goofy organization at the top sometimes anyhow. Kind of scatter brained.. Sierra sounds too girly to me anyway so GMC guys can keep it. All I can say is the same thing I've said before on here. GMC guys want top trim interiors and high class yet tough looks. I can appreciate that because as a Chevrolet truck guy I want the exact same thing. I'm sick and tired of looking at our Ford counterpart and seeing all of the high class interiors, features and designs they get while us Chevrolet loyalists get crapped on because of GMC. I'm about to the point I don't even want to drive a Chevy any longer. GM has ruined them and I'm fed up with it.

Bottom line is if GM wants to run 2 lines of trucks, they need to make them equals in good looks, interior options, luxury items and features. I'm not buying a second best truck next time. I'm just not. They cost too much money to not get the best money can buy. And if that's a Ford, so be it. I want a Chevy but if GM isn't going to give me what Ford will, after all these years I'm done with them. Mike Rowe can give me a call to do a commercial. Yet another Chevy guy switching to Ford I will be.

No matter how anybody tries to spin it, fact is that GM has over-capacity and not enough people buying their chit.

As far as trucks go, GM still has distributor lots overflowing with 2011 Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks. They can't give these dinosaurs away.

Yeah, they sell a bunch of them, but only to GM-fans and believers. But there aren't enough of them on this planet to keep GM afloat.

Maybe GM should try to match production with demand. But if they did, how many plants would GM have to close permanently?

The problem with the theory that Chevy is going to kick Ford's butt is that Chevy has to do too much to catch up to the other trucks. It's not going to be easy. Let's say when the 2014 Chevy is released, Chevy catches up and is a little ahead. But then right after, Ford will bring out the big guns and finish them. It happens every time there is a Chevy remodel. Poor Chevy.

chevy don't have to catch up to ford or ram their skipping this whole stage ford and ram are in and jumping to the next level. why might you ask? cause gm don't goof off like ford and ram they git r done kick a$% and take names later boys haha suck it on it ford cry babies GM wins again

Who cares, bunch of overpriced gluttons anyway.

There in the same boat as King Ranch's and Platinums, just for a bunch of sissy office workers to gloat around in so everyone sees them.

* post aimed at the GMC Sierra btw. Get rid of the double names, make a good solid work truck. get rid of all the geekazoid electronic junk in all the trucks. Bunch of dorks....

I'm not so sure Michigan Bob has a truck...He hates Ford so much that I'll bet Ford Motor Credit repossessed his Ranger!!!

@Michigan Bob
Come on Bob...spill it!!! I drive a 2005 F150 4X4...That doesn't mean I dislike Chevy's...say what you want, I like it! I'll drive a Chevy if they put out a truck that I like more...maybe next year. COME ON! PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's what I expect from the new 2014 GM trucks:

-Aluminim or magnesium frame and body parts.
-At least 2 new engines to try to catch up to the 4 from Ford.
-8 speed tansmission.
-Larger cabs, with more cab/bed options.
-Large 4 wheel disc brakes

If they produce of those, they will be on par with Ford and Ram and can once again be a competetive.

GM is coming out with a totally new truck not like Ford's and Dodge's small changes. Watch Ford and Dodge scramble to keep up!

don't forget, they will also need:

-electric power steering
-more trims
-new interiors
-good crash test ratings
-at least 26 mpg (non-hybrid)
-more features, steps
-styling, less feminine

Basically GM has a long way to go because the last changes were in 06 (07 MY). Ford less to do because they had continuous changes in 08, 09, 10, 11, 12.

Everybody's saying how GM has alot of catching up to do with Ford and Ram. That maybe the case, but Ford and Ram had alot of catching up to do after GM came out with the redesigned C/K series in 1988. And when Ford and Ram finally did catch up, it took them until 1994 and 1997 to do it.

GM needs to refresh the motors, body and upgrade their interiors. The 5.3 won.t cut it against the 3.5 EB. The 5.0 is superior to the 5.3. The body is dated and needs a newer look, along with a nicer interior. Both the Ram and Ford offer better models than GM. Plus Chevys build and price site is funky. It's a lot easier to build a Ford on the internet than it is a Chevy. Also Ford offers more in rebates than Chevy does. Ford wants to sell trucks and Chevy just likes making them.

It's not the same as in the 80's and 90's. Ford is on a 3 year change cycle now unlike GM who is on a longer cycle. It has been confirmed that Ford will be coming out with their remodel right after GM remodel so there will be virtually no lapse. GM will have to keep up with whatever Ford does in 15 and this will be a very big problem if they can't adjust.

Ford is the winner now.

Chevy comes out with the winner in 2013.

Ford looks at that and does everything it can to defeat it for 2014.

Ford wins and GM loses again.

That is how it will go down in the battle of the remodels.

@Scott - Let's be fair, GM has lead in truck engines for most of history. Seriously, the 4.6 and 5.4 mod motors fell behind the GM LS engines since the beginning. It hasn't been until now that Ford leaped ahead in engine tech

Since the phrase "GM wins again" I think less and less of people that drive GM trucks that all I can think about every time I see those trucks.

"It hasn't been until now that Ford..."

There is more to a truck than an engine. Ford won the best pickup in 09 with the 5.4. Ford had the best truck in 04. GM had a better top engine during many of those years, but most of Chevy buyers bought the 5.3 which fell behind Ford's 5.4. Go to a GM lot and you'll never see a 6.2

I really hope they do away with the dual interior options. I love the LTZ interior. My brother has one and it is awesome. But the work truck interior is horrible and bland. The thing is, I can only afford an LT1 which means that I can get enough truck to fit my needs but, I get the most bland interior option. Please just stick with one great looking interior.

@Scott - I was speaking purely on engines. I'd take a Ford truck of any year over a Chevy even if it had an (arguably) inferior engine. And btw, while the 5.4 was stronger than the 5.3, it had nothing on the 6.2, which was it's true competitor. Ford tried to market the 3v 4.6 against the 5.3 and it didn't win.

Yeah, fords 5.4L was so great that they just stopped making them! That engine was one of the worst POS out there.

GMC needs to go. This 2 truck nonsense has gone on long enough. Welcome to 2012 GM Not 1912. That company is so stuck in the past it's unreal.

@ford sucks- My 02 5.4 makes more torque at 2500 rpms than a brand new 5.3 makes at, well, any rpm. lol

We'll see if GM's learned anything, but my bet is that the new truck will be equal to or slightly better than the current Ram or F-150. However, they will again be behind since both Ford and Ram will have made changes to put them ahead.

Doubt my reasoning, look at recent car history.

New Cavalier, I mean Cobalt, no I guess its called Cruze now, either way, its still a nice car that would have been great 3 years ago (when it likely started design), yet now that its out for 2012, its behind Ford and Hyundai in styling power and fuel economy.

Need another example, google the new 2013 Malibu, only launching with a Eco model to start with. It's a mild Hybrid and they're bragging about the fuel economy. However, new Fusion just unveiled for 2013, and the regular EcoBoost Fusion gets with in 1 mpg of the Eco, and the Hybrid Fusion gets 9 MPG better, and new Fusion Energi gets better Empg than the Volt. Then go look at the styling, and you'll see the new Malibus going to have to sell on price.

Thats why GM's going to have to prove it can hit a moving target to be best in class at anything and so far they've proven just the opposite.

I am happy for the GM guys I am sure they will turn out a great product since they have taken over as the number 1 spot from Toyota. The Ford gus should be hoping you guys turn out a great product as well because we know Ford wont settle for the F-Series being number 2.

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