This year has been wild for automakers. The coronavirus pandemic canceled auto shows, halted vehicle production, and closed dealerships. None of that, though, has dampened demand for pickup trucks too much. Demand remains so high that it’s forcing General Motors to invest in two US-based factories to the tune of $76 million to satisfy customers and dealers.
GM is putting $70 million of that money into its Tonawanda, New York engine plant. The factory builds four engines for the company’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks – the 4.3-liter V6, the 5.3-liter V8, and the 6.2-liter V8 EcoTech family. GM slips them into other models, such as the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon, and their Chevy counterparts, as well. The factory also produces the 6.6-liter small-block V8 for the Silverado and Sierra HD offerings. The cash infusion will increase engine block machining lines.
Gallery: 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 Diesel: First Drive
The remainder of the money – $6 million – will end up at the automaker’s Parma, Ohio stamping plant, which employs 1,000 employees and processes over 800 tons of steel every day. The investment will see the factor gain four new metal assembly cells designed to increase truck production. GM VP of North American Manufacturing and Labor Relations said the automaker is responding to the “growing customer demand for our full-size pickups.”
While Ram did outsell the Silverado and Sierra in Q3 2020, the Silverado still lead between the two. Through September, Chevy had sold 409,967 Silverados and 213,319 Sierras. Both are down compared to 2019, though only slightly – 9.6 and 0.7 percent, respectively. That’s impressive considering the tumultuous year automakers had to face. What could help sales into the new year is the $1,500 price cut GM gave to both of its diesel-powered pickups, which applies to both remaining 2020 and new 2021 models.