GMC is on track to achieve record sales of its heavy and light Sierra pickup trucks this year despite continued limited inventory amid a global shortage of semiconductor chips.
The scarcity of chips, which are used in various vehicle parts, has crippled the production of the auto industry. But General Motors managed to keep its truck factories in operation, for the most part, throughout the crisis.
“We’ve been very successful. We believe we can still have an all-time sales record on the Sierra,” Duncan Aldred, global vice president of Buick GMC, told reporters. âWhen we get chips we usually put them in the Sierra and Yukons and we’ve handled that (lack of chips) pretty well this year. We expect an improvement next year.â
By the end of the year, GM plans to restart its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, where it will assemble the Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. GM currently builds the vehicles at three other plants in North America.
But Aldred has warned that GMC dealers will still operate on a delivery-to-order basis for pickups, as demand will exceed supply for some time.
Despite the chip-related challenges, Aldred said on Tuesday that more than half of GMC dealers have signed up to install electric vehicle chargers and pay for other equipment necessary for the sale of the expected 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup. on the market by the year. to finish.
Sierras speed sellers
At Sellers Buick GMC in Farmington, Michigan, owner Sam Slaughter said his store is selling Sierra pickup trucks at the fastest pace he’s seen in recent history.
âWe sell whatever we get and most of it is pre-sold because people want to label whatever Sierra they can get,â Slaughter told the Detroit Free Press. “Most of them are AT4, Denali and Elevation, the high end versions.”
The 2021 Sierra AT4 lightweight pickup starts at $ 54,700, the Denali starts at $ 55,800, and the Elevation starts at $ 43,100.
In the third quarter, GMC light and heavy Sierra pickup truck sales combined declined 22% to 52,774 from the prior year quarter. But for the nine months ending September, Sierra’s total sales were up nearly 10% to 191,186 from the prior year period.
For 2020 as a whole, GMC sold a total of 253,016 Sierra pickup trucks, a 9% gain from 2019, according to GM.
The second largest seller in the GMC lineup is the Yukon, which posted a 24% gain in third quarter sales to 17,428. Through September, sales in the Yukon increased 55% to 59,743.
“Vehicle for all customers”
The chip shortage is, in part, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic when demand increased for personal electronic devices, which require the chips. Chipmakers have prioritized the production of this industry over the less profitable chips that go into auto parts.
GM and its cross-city rivals Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis have each had to halt production or build vehicles just before chip parts, then wait for the parts to arrive before finishing the vehicles. Consulting firm AlixPartners in Southfield, Michigan, has forecast that automakers will lose production of 7.7 million vehicles this year and it will cost the global auto industry $ 210 billion in revenue.
Most dealerships are empty of new cars. Customers are faced with long waits and higher prices. Still, Aldred said, GMC won’t cut production of lower-trim models – which are less profitable – to streamline production.
âI think we’ve been through that phase, if you’re going to deliver an all-time selling year,â Aldred said. âAn essential part of our mission is to provide a vehicle to all customers. “
‘Hand to mouth’
Aldred said he expects chip availability to improve next year, which will help increase production of various trim levels.
GM builds its Sierra and Silverado light trucks at Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana and at Silao Assembly Plant in Mexico. He builds the robust versions at Flint Assembly.
By the end of the year, GM will launch Oshawa Assembly, but Aldred has refused to provide the additional volume that GMC will get from Oshawa.
âI won’t give a number, but additional plant capacity for heavy and light trucks is a huge benefit for GMC and Chevy,â Aldred said. âWe’re basically not running on any physical inventory of the heavy and light Sierra at this time and on a delivery-to-order model. But even with the extra capacity, we won’t be able to build up stocks. – the land for the dealers. “
This is because the demand for pickup trucks will exceed production.
Slaughter said customers have been patient, but he likely lost business to a rival dealer who had a vehicle in stock that he didn’t have. Then again, he probably won business from others for the same reason, he said.
âI don’t know when we’ll see more volume,â said Slaughter, who also owns Subaru Sellers in Macomb Township, Michigan. “At Subaru and GMC, we literally sell everything we can every month.”
Ready for Hummer
Early Tuesday morning, a team was busy installing more charging stations at the Sellers Buick GMC store, which already has two chargers. The dealership will have five chargers in total as well as a special elevator for its service bay next month.
Everything is in preparation to sell the 2022 Hummer EV and 2023 Hummer EV SUVs when they arrive in two years.
âWe have about a half-dozen First Edition Hummers, but no firm dates,â Slaughter said. âWe’re told that in the next two or three months. GM has made a pre-order, so they’re already sold. We have orders for the non-first edition, the regular Hummer, and a bunch of orders for the upcoming SUV. 2023. “
Aldred said more than half of U.S. GMC dealers have signed up to sell Hummer electric vehicles. Like Slaughter, they are in the process of modernizing their facilities to do so. GMC has assigned phased upgrades based on the ramp-up of production of the Hummer being built at Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck.
âSome dealers won’t get their Hummers until next year, for example, so the dealership doesn’t have to spend money to be ready now,â Aldred said. âEveryone is absolutely on the right track and every dealership will be ready before they receive their Hummer. “