General Motors will invest an additional $24 million into its Fort Wayne, IN, assembly plant to expand production capacity at the facility, which builds the automaker’s popular Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 light-duty large pickups.
“We are building Chevrolet and GMC crew-cab pickups at record volume and mix levels to meet customer demand, and the $24 million investment will allow us to build even more,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra says in a statement.
Barra delivers the news to the more than 4,500 hourly and salaried employees at Fort Wayne, which in 2015 received a $1.2 billion investment to build the newly redesigned pickups, and says it will fund new models, cab choices and powertrain options.
The investment will specifically target conveyor enhancements and other tooling to support the output increase. Upgrades to the plant will be performed this summer. The company does not plan to add to the Fort Wayne workforce, which operates around-the-clock production of the highly profitable trucks over six days per week.
Fort Wayne assembly is among the pillars of GM’s global manufacturing footprint and includes a body shop, paint shop and a pair of logistics centers in addition to general assembly operations. It also is GM’s oldest assembly plant in the U.S.
GM targeted greater production of crew-cab models with the late-2018 launch of the new Silverado and Sierra, and the automaker says sales of those models through the first quarter were up 20%. The Detroit automaker projects more crew-cab sales increases for the second quarter.
According to Wards Intelligence, overall sales of the Silverado fell 15.9% to 114,037 units in the first quarter, while sales of the Sierra line dipped 2.2% to 40,546. The two trucks combined to account for 30.5% of U.S. large pickup sales in the U.S. in the period, second to the Ford F-Series at 39.5%.