Report: GM Boosting Fullsize SUV Production
Plant to Add Weekend Shift to Boost 2016 Output
It’s no secret that General Motors’ fullsize SUVs are big money-makers for the company, with top-of-the-line Tahoes and Suburbans now topping $70,000 and the Cadillac Escalade approaching six figures. According to a Reuters report, GM has big plans for its big SUVs in 2016. The Arlington, Texas, plant where GM builds the models started Saturday overtime shifts on August 1, potentially boosting annual output by as many as 48,000-60,000 units. Much like the Ford F-150, sales of GM’s fullsize trucks and SUVs is believed to account for a substantial portion of the company’s North American and global profits.
GM has not yet officially announced its intention to boost production for 2016 models; however, the announcement of a $1.4 billion investment in the Arlington plant in July certainly indicates major plans for the vehicles. Many attribute the strong sales of the large SUVs to low fuel prices, with unleaded now below $3 per gallon in most of the U.S. Through the first six months of 2015, production was up 26 percent compared to the same period the year before.
For their class, the K2XX SUVs are remarkably fuel-efficient, getting close to the same fuel economy as the smaller, front-wheel-drive Lambda crossovers they share showrooms with. Fuel economy will likely improve further for the 2016 model year with the addition of an eight-speed automatic on most models.