General Motors informed suppliers this week that it is postponing work on at least half a dozen future models to save cash during the coronavirus crisis and suggested it could delay the scheduled launch in late April of its highly profitable large sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
GM previously informed suppliers that it planned to start production in late April of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs at its plant located in Arlington, Texas, after closing production of the outgoing models this week.
A GM spokesman reinstated on Monday what the automaker had stated last week – that the situation with its U.S. plants was fluid and that the automaker would continue to review whether and when to restart those plants on a week-by-week basis, with workers safety guiding that decision.
The big SUVs are one of the automaker’s most profitable vehicles.
In an email to suppliers by the automaker, it was noted that suspending development work on six future vehicle programs, consisting of updates of the Chevrolet Equinox, Cadillac XT4, GMC Terrain, Bolt EV, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The automaker stated pre-production work on those programs would be rescheduled to year 2021, with most of the updated vehicles planned to be launched as 2022 models.
GM earlier informed employees and suppliers it was postponing work on some future vehicles while pushing ahead with near-term models including its redesigned full-size SUVs and the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Bolt EUV and Cruise Origin, along with its new Ultium battery system.
GM stated before that it was shuttering most of its U.S. plants indefinitely.
GM has asked suppliers to stop work on all pre-production tooling and pre-production parts production, but also not to dispose of any tooling or materials.
In other emails to suppliers, the automaker said it planned to run out production this week of the outgoing Escalade, Yukon, Tahoe and Suburban SUVs in preparation for the release of the redesigned 2021 models.
GM told it had solicited volunteers from its workforce to complete the build-out of the present SUVs on a single shift in Arlington, according to Reuters. In addition, GM is putting up more safeguards in the plant to help protect workers, including thermal temperature scanning and extra personal protective equipment. The work is expected to be finished in a week.
About 212,980 people in the US have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 4,759 people in the country.