SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – General Motors, introducing its first redesigned pickups since 2006, can’t make enough of the most popular versions of its new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, according to three people familiar with the effort.
Demand for the trucks is exceeding a supplier’s ability to produce certain drivetrain parts for the 5.3-liter V-8 engine, the most popular size, and GM is limiting how many dealers can order, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
While one of the people said the issue could be resolved soon, another said it could take longer than a couple of months.
They declined to identify the supplier.
The Silverado and Sierra are the high-volume, fat-margin centerpieces of GM’s wave of 18 new or redesigned models for the U.S. market. Full-size pickups generate $8,000 to $10,000 in gross profit each, and Detroit-based GM needs to resolve the shortage quickly to get the most out of its redesigned trucks before Ford brings out a new F-150 next year.
This is a window of opportunity for GM given the strong pickup market and the new Ford truck which launches in fall 2014, said Alan Baum, an industry consultant at Baum & Associates in West Bloomfield, Mich.
The constrained supply is most noticeable to dealers accustomed to ordering only V-8 trucks, one of the people said. The 5.3-liter V-8 is produced at GM plants in New York, Canada and Mexico.
Dealers always want more of the hot new truck, said Terry Rhadigan, a GM spokesman. It’s a temporary thing.
A dealer ordering 10 of the 5.3-liter pickups is getting eight of them, he said.
It’s almost an oxymoron to call it a constraint at 80 percent, he said.
U.S. car and light truck sales sold at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 16.1 million in August, the fastest pace since October 2007, according to researcher Autodata.
GM had said U.S. light-vehicle deliveries this year would total as much as 15.5 million, a figure its chief economist, Mustafa Mohatarem, said this month will be exceeded. The 16 million annual sales rate is here to stay, he said.