As GM Prepares to Retool Plants, Dealers Face Supply Challenges

Chevrolet-Silverado_2012 II
With GM getting ready to stagger its rolling shutdowns of the three truck plants that produce its full-size pickup trucks to accommodate dealers' needs, the company runs the risk of creating an artificial glut of GM trucks on dealer lots. The days' supply of Chevrolet Silverados as of May 1 is almost double what it was four months ago, according to Automotive News (you may need a subscription to view).

How dealerships respond to this unique situation will likely vary by region, with some relying on deep incentives and traditional marketing to move metal, while others may choose to hang onto the older models.

Each of the three plants — in Flint, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Arlington, Texas — are scheduled for several weeks of downtime to change over to the huge tooling machines that will produce the next-generation Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Some dealers are worried they might not have enough of the right truck mix to accommodate their customers, while other dealers are worried they might get stuck with too many of the old trucks when the new models are set to debut late next year.

It's our guess that most dealers are just glad the new pickups are finally coming, as they've had the oldest truck platforms and powertrains on the market for a while, with the segment-leading F-Series and a new 2013 Ram 1500 likely to provide strong competition. No doubt this will be a very active summer with so much new-truck information headed our way. If past new-vehicle timelines are any indication, we expect to get more insight into the new engine, chassis and technology each of the manufacturers has by this summer and fall.


Good looking truck up there on that picture. Clean lines, nice!
I wonder how much different the new one will look like? Everything points towards '80's look.
What do you guys think? Is it a good idea?

Yep, it makes you wonder about the monthly reported truck sales numbers. Kind of like China's gross domestic product.

It is nice but looks too feminine. They need to toughen it up.

Google this: GM channel stuffing.

Nice mountains!

best looking truck in the world in that picture!!

@Scott & Frank - Stop hating!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last truck with a distinctly 100% American look....great !
I love also the F150, but the chevy has a genuine "old school"
great American style !

Nice photo of a fossil :D)

The most dependable and long lasting truck built today. Facts are facts!


Not hating on this, simply complementing on the background picture. You mad!


"The most dependable and long lasting truck built today. Facts are facts! - Greg

"Dependability based on longevity: 1981 - June 2011 full-size pick registrations." - GM Disclaimer

Geeee whiz........really "Pick-up registrations." I do love the facts!!!!

What a surprise, the same GM fan bois who relentlessly troll the Ford comments get bent out of shape when any perceived "attack" is made on a GM article.

Can't wait to see the new Silvy/Sierra. This truck will make or break GM.

@Gregory: wonder how much different the new one will look like? Everything points towards '80's look.
What do you guys think? Is it a good idea?

It depends. For example, if the wheel openings have an exaggerated square shape instead of rounded, then the design will basically be a failure.

Good looking truck up there on that picture. Clean lines, nice!
I wonder how much different the new one will look like? Everything points towards '80's look.
What do you guys think? Is it a good idea?

@GJ, Anything is better than this ugly thing. Hands down the ugliest truck Chevy ever built. I'll say without a doubt it's the ugliest truck ever built by anyone period. You call those lines clean? Seriously? The front bumper is a 3 piece disjointed mess. Those fender bulges are disgusting. And Who's idea was it to flare out the whole damn bed??? I love old Chevy designs but this one is horrible. Beyond horrible. This next one better be mind blowing or I'm afraid Chevy truck sales will dwindle away. The Ford's and Dodge's look a million times better right now.. Those trucks really do have nice crisp and clean lines. This current Chevy will go down in history as the biggest disaster of a truck ever built with a Bowtie.

Everything points towards '80's look.
What do you guys think? Is it a good idea?

- Uh, NO. The 80's truck was horrible. The front end and back end looked fantastic! Those squared off wheel openings though looked like total hell. At least in the 90's they toned it down with those stupid square openings and made it look somewhat classy. The best looking Chevy truck ever was still the one before that ended in 72. Round wheel openings and a classic design. Chevy needs to go back to that design language. It's like modern day Ford has morphed into what Chevy used to be.

this chevy truck makes ram look like crap and fords the crappest looking truck on the road i love these awsome looking chevys!

Does have a nice look to it, the lesser models with the chrome front look tacky though, they chromed every single surface on teh front end, like the gave up and just said F it and chromed the whole thing.

"This current Chevy will go down in history as the biggest disaster of a truck ever built with a Bowtie."

-Quoted for truth. Not only is it ugly but it's CHINTZY as hell. We had 3 of these trucks we bought new at work in 2008. All 3 have already been replaced with F-150's. We had so much body damage from daily use it was impossible to keep from 'hurting' these so called trucks. Good grief, I use thicker metal on my race cars. These trucks are PURE DISPOSABLE GARBAGE. They're not even worthy of being called a truck. It sucks when I race a Chevy but I tow it to the track with a Ford. WTF happened to Chevy trucks?? Built Like A Rock is a thing of the past apparently. "Like Tinfoil and Cheap Plastic" is more like it. Chevy trucks are junk now.

Looks is a individual thing. You say it's ugly, I think is a very nice truck. I bought one 3 years ago and I still enjoy its looks.
For me, Ford or Ram look too...... "busy" (can't think of any other word right now), there is too many things going on at once all over those trucks. Especially Ram. F-150 is much cleaner.
Lots of people here seem to always mention that they loved 1988-2000 look. They always say that GMT400 was one of the best Chevy trucks. I never had a chance to own or drive any of those trucks so I don't really know how they stack up.
A 1972 trucks looks awesome, but I think it would almost be impossible to make it today's truck, if you know what I'm saying. Other than round wheel wells maybe.
I guess we shall wait and see, right?

I should have said late 80's and '90 rather. Sorry for the confusion.

Whatever GM does with the new pickups, I hope they bring back the two-tone option. I hate the fact that you're only limited to solid colors on the current trucks.

Why bother. You could get better quality in a Chinese truck than you could a Chevy these days. Those slant eyed trucks are nothing but rust buckets up North. Rotted rockers, cab corners and beds. Those things are only within 10 years old or newer. Junk interiors too. The 03 I had was the last Chevy I'll Ever own. My cluster guages were replaced twice. My steering clunked, I had the standard piston knock (or so my dealer said). My rockers were rotted through within 5 years. The leather was all cracked up and torn within 4. The interior plastics were total garbage. My tailgate handle broke twice and the trim ring fell off many times until I bought a new one from the dealer and finally super glued the damn thing on. I was DONE with Chevy. And thank the Almighty himself too. I've heard of nothing but troubles on these new ones with body and interior durability. There's a reason why Ford took over. My 2010 F-150 is hands down the best damn truck I've ever owned.

They always say that GMT400 was one of the best Chevy trucks

@Greg, THIS! My 97 Silverado was a thousand times the truck my 2003 was. Better looking too. And a zillion times better looking than this current pile of crap.

A 1972 trucks looks awesome, but I think it would almost be impossible to make it today's truck.

@Greg, I also think this was the last 'GREAT' Chevy truck. Why couldn't they reproduce it? There's nothing special about it. Just round wheel wells and a clean front end. Exactly how a truck Should be! Chevrolet went into the crapper as far as I'm concerned and that's putting it Nicely. All GM does is cut corners to cut costs.... And the customer gets SCREWED.

You guys are forgetting that Chevrolet is part of General Motors. And as a 'General' company they split up the good parts of each vehicle between brands. This is precisely why Chevrolet will never be as nice as Ford any longer. Ford is a single brand company focused on a premium single product line. Chevrolet is not... GM was going through a tough time awhile back and was banking on their #1 selling vehicle (the Silverado) to carry them through. They cut every penny of costs out of that truck they could thinking Chevrolet brand loyalty would make up for it. This is precisely why you ended up with cheap interiors, cheap interior plastics, subpar sheetmetal that dents easy and rusted prematurely, rusty frames that were not painted but instead wax dipped as it was cheaper.. Piston slap, torsion bars instead of a SFA on the HD's, no King Ranch or Platinum interior options, Mexican built Silverado's etc... On and on the list goes.

I too was a Chevy guy years ago (Not GMC's though). I still have a soft spot for Old Chevrolet. I jumped ship though when I saw the Chevy Titanic sinking. It's all but sunk now yet fools keep holding onto the rails. I feel sorry for you. Chevrolet will never be equal to that of Ford any longer. They can't even match Dodge now. If I were you I'd go buy a 1987 or older Chevy truck with a SFA for offroading or go buy a 1988 or older Chevy truck period if you want a Quality 1/2 ton. To hold out hopes for Chevrolet ever making a comeback is a fruitless exercise. In my heart of hearts I wish it weren't true but facts are facts. Chevrolet trucks are done for. Two cycles of junk trucks have all but destroyed their reputation of old that took many decades to make. There's no way they can fix this stuff with 1 model cycle. Ford and Dodge are working relentlessly to make sure that doesn't happen. GM did this to Chevrolet. Chevrolet workers didn't fight back hard enough and let it happen.

I meant to say go buy a 1998 or older if you want a Quality 1/2 ton.

Did anyone read the "Automotive News" linked story?
It doesn't look like it.
I'd say things do not look good for GM dealers. They will have to deal with "an artificial glut" of trucks. Big dealers and/or chains of dealers will probably cope fine. Exerpt "Some dealers say growing supplies of the aging full-sized pickups call for heftier incentives."
"We've got the oldest truck in the game," Covert says. "I think we could use something stronger."
Incentives or rebates to move inventory is a double edged sword for GMC. Profits are down and overproduction and/or discounts will hurt them either way. A flood of 2012 and 2013 trucks will potentially hurt sales of the 2014's especially if the older trucks have huge rebates and the new trucks don't look "new" enough or "great" enough.
This is an interesting exerpt "
During the first four months of the year, GM has maintained an average pickup supply of 120 days, about one-third higher than the 90-day supply that analysts consider healthy for pickups."
How "unhealthy" will this be for GMC?
My understanding is that after 90 days, dealers have to start paying interest on their inventory. Will GM give them extensions?
This is also an interesting exerpt "
Early on, GM executives alerted analysts about the plan to front-load production, in an effort to head off speculation that GM was reverting to the bad habit of overproducing and later having to put cash on the hood to clear lots."
Is GM falling back into "old habits". I hope not. I can think of 60 billion reasons why they shouldn't.

RonKW @ i haven't seen a 07 or new chevys rust, but the back bumpers, and you can buff it out. I had an 2009 and a 2011 with no dents in them, but on my 2009 where the fourwheeler shop guy slamed into the front of bed which any truck bed will dented haveing a 600 some poud 4wheeler slammed into it. I do agree the 1999-07 do have rocker rusting problems. My friend has a 1999 z71, and all he done to his is normally oil changes, brakes, and a battery. It has over 200,000 miles on it, just a put rockers on it no piston slap and changed one window motor. My 06 and 08 f150s rusted around the gas caps and front buttom corners of the bed. The only chevy's i've have heard or seeing haveing piston slap is online which makes me think people never change their oil.

Supply challenges? They can always sell all the unsold stock from last year and 2010, and without a discount.

Info: WaltRogers thinks the Chevy is ugly but he thinks Lou is a cute looking girl.

@ Lou

GM supply issue could be a problem in a few differents ways although all 3 are offering constantly discounted pickups in Canada (at least in Alberta). Ram 1500 $9,750, GM 1500 $8,700 and F150 $8,000. I also believe there's a $1,000 Ford incentive for Costco members but it applies across the whole model line.

They're all guilty of constantly discounting their trucks. This type of incentive used to be for year end clearance and leftovers but it's become routine for current product year round.

My question is what happens if they take the incentives away? It's bound to effect sales. Nobody in their right mind will pay $8,000-$9,750 more for any of these pickups. They've dug themselves a hole. Either they have to keep incentives or reduce the list price to better reflect what they're charging for them.

Having some incentive is good but offering close to $10K on current models seems like a desperate move to get rid of the metal.

Also, 2 years in a row for a free Cummins diesel? Of course it's the best selling diesel pickup in Canada. I'd get into one in a flash if I needed one.

It would be interesting to see what would happen to truck sales if you had to haggle off lost price with no incentives. With fuel supposed to drop sales will probably peak this summer/fall.

Discounted trucks aren't a GM issue, it's all 3. In fact I'd argue GM is doing just fine by selling piles of their outdated 1500's. Their worry should come if they don't improve year over sales with the new models.

I'm in the market for a new Ram and there's no way I'll accept anything less than $9,750 off. They take that incentive away and I'm looking somewhere else. If they all take incentives away, I'll hang on to old faithful lol.

@Magnum I'm like you in that I have to have the big rebate or they can keep the truck. I drive a 2011 Ram and it was almost $38,000, but I got $9,418 off sticker when I got it. The reason they give the big rebates IMO is that they are way overpriced to begin with. I want the new 8 speed, but I'll probably have to wait for the newness to wear off before the prices come down. If they don't I think my 2011 will last a while.

@Magnum - they don't offer the same kind of big rebates in the USA as they do in Canada. The Canadian trucks and cars are vastly overpriced. The last time the Canadian dollar was on par and then higher than the USA dollar, many Canadians were buying USA cars, trucks, motorcycles etc. Canadian prices did drop but they've climbed back up again. I do agree that the big three are shooting themselves in the foot. I got 12,000 off of my 2010 F150 in the fall of 2010 plus I got 3,000 for the '99 GMC Safari I had that was falling apart. I won't buy a new one without the rebates. I can see why Toyota holds their value better. I looked at a comparable Tundra and they only had 4,000 off. A Tacoma only had 2,000 off.
In the case of Chevy - experts feel that the rebates and overstocking will hurt them. Sierra is a much more popular truck in Canada. It will be interesting to see if my local dealer stockpiles extra trucks. I can't see them doing it because I drove through the Chevy/GM dealer yesterday and they were bursting at the seams with trucks. Most were Silver, grey or black with a lot of whites (plain janer's for the fleet orders maybe), the odd blue and 1 red truck. It blew me away at the lack of colour choices they had. Maybe they order what is popular. I drove by the Ford lot and they had every colour, same at the Ram lot. The local Toyota dealer never has more than 6 Tundra's and maybe 12 Taco's. The majority being Double Cab 4x4's Taco's.

Hey, lou.

I do have a lot of family in the US especially Texas. Their vehicle prices are cheaper, no doubt. They still put incentives on them but obviously not to the extent we do up north. On paper, it's definately cheaper there.

I did price out a 3500 Cummins at a large dealer in Arlington a few years back. I can't remember the exact numbers today but the real costs didn't seem like it would be worth the hassle to purchase and bring it over the border at the time. It did work out cheaper, though. The dealer was helpful on their end when I explained what I was doing, too.

The GM problem will definately include not having a good selection. GM is lacking in colour/trims and it shows. I look at the Dodge lot near me and there's colour combo's out the ying yang.

This is one example of what GM needs to do to catch up but I can't believe for a second that they don't understand this. I'll be stunned if they don't address their shortcomings with the new truck.

I have a problem finding what I like on a lot. For my tastes, dealers are out to lunch with how they order their trucks. Ford is better than GM but Dodge dealers seem to be the best for my tastes. Availability on a lot won't make up my mind on which brand and I have ordered trucks in the past.

I wonder if GM or anybody else will have the balls to do the old fashioned two-tone down the middle of the body? I'd like to see a modern day interpretation of this on a modern truck even if I'm not in to it.

At any rate, I'd like to see the new GM sooner rather than later. I liked the Ford and a year ago but now it's the Ram. I'll give the new GM a shot before I decide.

The constant one-up thing these manu's do is working out in my favour now. It'll be a great time to buy a truck here over the next year.

@Magnum - agreed. I've always wondered why the twotone down the middle went away. It looked excellent on some trucks. Probably because the current body lines on the newer trucks wouldn't fit such a paint job. I do love the Ram and Ford lower 2 tone colour. They both folllow the body seams. Chevy with their monster square fenders probably would look hideous with that kind of paint.
2013 and 2014 will be interesting years if everone releases new trucks. If I needed a new truck next year,the 2013 Ram would probably get my money. Some cool options, improved mpg and performance. Throw in another 10,000 discount - what is their to hate ;)

what GM should have done is close the plant in March or near the end of 2011, skip the 2012 model year, retool all plants, and release the SUV's and trucks in the middle or near the end of this year for 2013, because if there are left over 12's, dealers lots will be so over crowded, which means salespeople will have no other option but to get them off of their lots by discounting them, or whomever place the order for delivery of inventory should not order so many vehicles of that year.

Or better yet, don't build any more of the current generation's trucks so anything like this won't happen. Also does anyone know how quickly they retooled or what was done when GM built the current generation of SUV's and trucks for 2007?

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