It's not a bad problem to have.
Despite the US economy taking a sizeable hit from the coronavirus pandemic, demand for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks remains strong. That's the good news for GM. The not so good news is that the automaker is having problems building enough of them fast enough in order restock dealerships nationwide. The Detroit Free Press has learned that the Fort Wayne Assembly facility in Indiana, home to both trucks, typically employs about 4,100 hourly workers. However, around 1,000 employees are off duty for numerous reasons, some of them related to Covid-19. This makes it awfully difficult to hit the daily production target of 1,290 trucks.
"They're at full schedule, but they have every single person on that assembly line, including management, and management is not supposed to be on the line," said an anonymous source familiar with the situation. "It's all hands on deck, just to build trucks."
In order to meet production goals, GM will supposedly hire formerly laid-off workers from other plants who will permanently transfer to India or another truck plant in Texas. Some of these workers, approximately 430 of them, previously worked at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility, which built the Chevy Impala.
The automaker has not commented on specific details of the upcoming plan, only that it'll do what it takes "to meet strong customer dealer demand for our pickup trucks and full-sized SUVs." Even the Flint Assembly, home to GM's full-size heavy-duty pickups, is running at full capacity.
Most of the time, the factory is meeting its daily production goal, but there are days when it falls short by around a dozen trucks. In other words, additional help is needed there as well. The automaker continues to work with union officials to find jobs for laid-off workers who already have proper factory training. This means no new outside hiring is taking place, at least for now.
GM is still doing its best to keep the factory lines running even as some union officials have requested to shut down the plants because of virus outbreaks. However, the automaker has resisted those demands and continues to deploy social distancing measures on the factory floors.