General Motors announced on August 25th that it was cancelling planned overtime shifts at its truck plant in Flint, Michigan, because inventories of pickup trucks are higher than expected.
Specifically, five Saturday shifts that were meant to take place in September and October have been removed from the Flint, MI assembly plant, where GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado trucks, including heavy-duty models of both vehicles, are produced.
Speaking on behalf of the automaker, Tom Wickham said that the decision to cancel the overtime shifts was based solely on the desire to keep inventory at an "appropriate level" rather than producing too many trucks.
GM had already announced the cancellation of similar Saturday shifts at its pickup plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, through the end of this year.
Due in part to an increase in gas prices and a weaker economy, sales of pickups have slowed, and GM reached an inventory of 122-days worth of trucks in June, before it dropped to 115 days at the end of last month. Industry analysts say that the typical inventory level for full-sized pickups is an 80-day supply.
Earlier this month, Don Johnson, vice president of sales for GM, admitted that the company's inventory of pickup trucks was greater than it should be. He said the carmaker had been expecting increased sales during the second half of the year.
Part of the inventory increase, however, is due to the automaker's plan to close plants for several weeks as it prepares to begin production of its next-generation pickup truck, due to launch in 2013.
The Flint, MI plant added a third shift at the beginning of August in response to an increased demand for the heavy-duty versions of the Silverado and Sierra, but that shift is not affected by the decision to cancel Saturday overtime, said Wickham.
Wickham added that the Flint plant has also begun production of full-sized trucks for the 2012 model year, while discontinuing work on 2011 models.