Detroit automakers are largely forgoing their traditional two-week summer break at their factories and speeding up production to meet buyers’ growing demand for new cars and trucks.
Ford says the traditional two-week summer break is being cut to a single week and General Motors Co.’s North America President Mark Reuss said GM might pause work to change over some machinery but won’t have full shutdowns.
The nation’s biggest automaker is in the midst of releasing 20 new models, including the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
Chrysler plans a two-week break at just four of its ten North American assembly plants.
Car sales are up 7 percent this year, led by soaring demand for full-size pickup trucks as home construction rebounds. After closing more than two dozen factories during the recession, U.S. automaker appear to be back at work.
Ford said it will produce 40,000 vehicles during the week it’s staying open. In all, the company plans to produce 240,000 more vehicles this year than it did last year in North America. It will soon add a second shift to its Flat Rock, Mich., plant to make the Fusion sedan and a third shift to the Kansas City, Mo., plant where the F-150 pickup is made. It’s also increasing the speed of its assembly lines, allowing plants that might have made 60 vehicles per hour to make 65.
Workers’ won’t be impacted by the shorter vacations–the shutdowns are paid vacations.
Not all automakers are changing their schedule. Honda and Nissan said they still plan to close their U.S. plants for a week around July 4. Toyota is also planning to shut down its U.S. plants for a week this summer.