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Workers Skip Lunch to Build More Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon Trucks

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/26/2015 Jason Udy

The popularity of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, Motor Trend's 2015 Truck of the Year, and GMC Canyon has exceeded GM’s expectations. Workers at the automaker’s Wentzville, Mo., truck plant are skipping lunch in order to meet the high demand for the all-new midsize pickups, Automotive News reports.

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As part of a revamp in the plant scheduling, cutting the unpaid lunch break eliminated a six-minute production downtime between each shift. The plant gained an extra 18 minutes of production time during the three-shift day. The move is said to increase production by more than 3,500 trucks per year.

Additionally, the automaker is hiring up to 1,000 flexible workers to cover Saturday and Sunday shifts, which could potentially increase plant capacity by 2,000 trucks per month. In March, the plant added a third shift, which increased the total number of hourly plant workers to 3,500.

Workers Skip Lunch to Build More Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon Trucks

Low fuel prices and good reviews have fueled demand for the all-new midsize pickups; a segment nearly abandoned by consumers for full-size pickups and midsize crossovers. Currently, Colorado pickups have been spending an average of just 12 days on dealer lots, according to the report. That means the truck has one of the fastest turn rates in the industry.

While low fuel prices increase the demand for pickups, GM also has to work with suppliers to keep parts flowing to the plant.

"People often say, 'Why can't you ramp it up more quickly?' The issue is it's a cyclical business. So you're always balancing for the bottom of the cycle as well as the top," Batey Alan, GM North America President, told Automotive News. "I wouldn't want to predict where [fuel prices] might be next year or the year after."

Additionally, production of GM’s full-size Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana commercial vans, also built in Wentzville, has been scaled back in order to build more midsize pickups. Currently, the plant is building twice as many pickups as vans.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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