General Motors will start delegating construction of Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans to heavy truck outfit Navistar in 2017. GM says they want more room in their own factories to increase production on Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks.
“This partnership will provide our Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant more flexibility to keep up with continued demand for mid-size trucks and full size vans,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Vice President in a press release.
Navistar will start manufacturing the “cutaway” variant of GM’s “G van” early next year. Those are the vans built without a back, so that upfitters can turn them into ambulances, campers, or pretty much anything else.
In a separate agreement, Navistar will also be collaborating with GM on a new Class 4/5 commercial truck starting in 2018. Think: large city-delivery vehicles, bigger than the largest pickups but smaller than school busses.
As for the Colorado and Canyon, the capacity increase coming out of this deal is said to be significant.
Automotive News reports that “a person with knowledge of GM’s plans said the move will enable the Wentzville plant to build roughly 40,000 additional Colorados and Canyons in 2017.”
Sales reports say GM hit 114,507 total mid-sized truck sales in 2015 and have moved 56,142 of the same through May of this year. We heard about serious supply shortages on Colorados and Canyons, especially when the first came out. Surely GM is hoping the added factory floorspace mitigates that problem going forward.