Although overall demand in the SUV market has largely shifted in favor of smaller car-based models, demand for GM's truck-based GMT900 full-size SUVs is healthy enough that the General is adding 800 jobs and a third shift at its Arlington, Texas assembly plant, which builds the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and the Cadillac Escalade, and Escalade ESV. The plant has been running overtime shifts since the fourth quarter of 2009.
The plant is also gearing up for arrival of the next generation of fullsize SUVs. New tooling and assembly equipment for their production will be installed in 2013. The addition of the third shift will help make up for the downtime needed to install the new hardware.
Since July 2009, GM has invested a total of $531 million in Arlington and created or retained 1000 jobs. Annual sales of the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe have grown each year from 2009 through 2011, as have the long-wheelbase Suburban and Yukon XL models.
The third shift will begin in the first quarter of 2013, with additional staffing starting in the fourth quarter of 2012.