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General Motors’ Fort Wayne pickup plant to be idled for 2 weeks

General Motors said it will idle its Fort Wayne Assembly full-size pickup plant in Indiana next month for two weeks as the automaker works to manage inventory levels.

Employees were notified Wednesday that production would be idled starting March 27, GM spokesman Dan Flores said in a statement. Fort Wayne Assembly is the only factory affected by the announcement, he said.

The plant downtime is “an effort to maintain optimal inventory levels with our dealerships,” Flores said. “The plant constantly reviews and adjusts production schedules according to customers’ needs. All actions taken are in accordance with provisions of the UAW-GM National Bargaining Agreement and the local agreement.”

Fort Wayne Assembly builds the light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. GM also builds heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra pickups in Flint, Mich.; light- and heavy-duty versions of the Silverado in Oshawa, Ontario in Canada; and light-duty Chevy and GMC full-size pickups at its Silao plant in Mexico.

“Our production is up over the past month while demand remains fairly consistent, leading to an increase in inventory,” Flores said. “Therefore, as we stated on our earnings call, we are going to proactively manage inventory levels, including plant downtime.”

CFO Paul Jacobson told analysts on the automaker’s fourth-quarter earnings call in January that GM ended 2022 with a roughly 50-day supply of dealership inventory, including in-transit vehicles. GM aims to have a 50- to 60-day supply at the end of 2023, which would be 20 to 30 days below mid-2019 levels, assuming logistics challenges continue to ease, Jacobson said.

“We’re committed to actively managing production levels to balance supply with demand,” he said on the call.

“Within this portfolio target, trucks are expected to run at higher levels, reflecting greater customer-driven variation requirements, and sedans and SUVs are expected to run at this range or lower,” Jacobson added. “Throughout the year, sales seasonality, production schedules and timing of fleet deliveries may take us out of this range from time to time, but that is the targeted range at which we’ll manage.”

GM this week also idled its Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky, which builds the Chevrolet Corvette, because of a temporary parts shortage unrelated to semiconductors. Production should start up again Monday, Flores said.

The Detroit News earlier reported on the Fort Wayne plant’s idling.

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