The Latest News, Rumors and Changes in the Truck World
GM to Invest $150 Million in Flint Truck Assembly Plant
GENERAL Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) recently announced the second major expansion of its full-size pickup production capacity this year: a $150 million investment at Flint Assembly to increase production of the all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, which begin shipping to dealers earlier this year.
This news follows GM’s announcement in May to expand light-duty, full-size pickup production capacity in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in response to strong customer demand.
GM has invested more than $1.6 billion in the Flint Assembly since 2013, enabling an increase in the truck plant’s production capacity of the all-new Chevrolet and GMC HD pickups by about 40,000 vehicles annually, including more crew cab models and diesels.
Additionally, 1,000 new jobs were created this year, bringing employment at the plant to more than 5,000. The new investment will enhance the plant’s conveyors and other tooling to increase production capacity. The work will be completed in the first half of 2020.
“We have tremendous opportunities to grow our heavy-duty pickup business, because we’ve invested in capability, performance, innovation and capacity,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “Our all-new Chevrolet and GMC HD pickups are the toughest, strongest, most capable heavy-duty pickups we’ve ever brought to market, and our Flint team is up to the challenge to build world-class quality products to drive the growth.”
GM’s full-size truck product offensive began last year with the launch of the all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 light-duty crew cabs built at the Fort Wayne truck plant. Double cab and regular cab models are now available as well. Combined sales of the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickups, the highest volume model in the fiercely competitive full-size pickup segment, were up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2019 versus a year ago. GM is projecting another significant increase for the second quarter.
Dealers will build their inventories of the new heavy-duty pickups through the remainder of 2019.
The Flint and Fort Wayne investments are the most recent GM has made to strengthen its growing truck, SUV and crossover business. Other investments include those previously announced in Dayton, Ohio; Parma, Ohio; Romulus, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Lansing, Michigan.
Since 2009, GM has invested more than $23 billion in its U.S. manufacturing base—more than one-quarter of every dollar spent by any automaker. Opened in 1947, Flint Assembly currently operates three production shifts.
New Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Debuts with BAJA 500 Victory
THE Honda Off -Road Racing Team brought a brand-new Ridgeline Baja Race Truck to the Baja 500, held May 29 to June 2, 2019, and continued its string of “500” success with a third Class 7 victory at the iconic off -road race.
Starting and ending in Ensenada, Mexico, this year’s 487-mile, single-loop course was tough even by Baja standards, with a string of silt beds stranding multiple entries in the opening miles of the event.
Completed in the days leading up to the race, and with just a single test prior to the race start Saturday morning, the new Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features revised bodywork and a lighter-weight chassis but remains powered by the same reliable twin-turbocharged Honda V6 engine produced by Honda Performance Development.
Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block and cylinder heads as the production V6 that powers the production Ridgeline. Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.
After delays resulting from the “traffic jam” in the silt beds, starting driver/team owner Jeff Proctor, second driver Pat Dailey and navigator Evan Weller came from behind to win Class 7—for unlimited V-6-powered trucks—by a healthy margin of almost 28 minutes. This weekend’s victory adds to the legacy of Baja 500 success for the Ridgeline eff ort, which includes class wins in 2016 and 2018, and a third-place result in 2017.
The Honda Off -Road Racing Team is undefeated in three races this season, including class victories for the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck at the Parker 425 in February and the Mint 400. Remaining races on the 2019 schedule include August’s Vegas-to-Reno race and the Baja 1000 in November.
TERM OF THE MONTH Stepped Lip
WITH so many wheels today being manufactured with “soft” (a.k.a., “smooth” or “reversed”) lips, we’d like to remind everyone that stepped lips are still awesome! Stepped wheel lips have been around almost as long as wheels themselves, but some time in the early 2000s, wheel manufacturers started offering billet wheels with soft lips, and they’ve been hot ever since. Since then, traditional stepped lips have kind of taken a back seat in popularity, but we think they’re perfect when combined with the right center.