- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2010

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. | When you’ve got hot-selling crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain and you’re out of room to make more, it takes creativity and flexibility to solve the challenge, General Motors Vice President of Manufacturing and Labor Diana Tremblay said Monday.

“Although we knew these were great products and that they’d be a hit in the marketplace, we really didn’t anticipate the degree to which the market positively responded,” she said at the 2010 Management Briefing Seminars.

What to do?

Add a shift or overtime? Been there. Done that. The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, is already working three shifts a day and maximum overtime.

Build a new plant? It would take too long and do nothing to meet the immediate customer demand for more Equinox and Terrains.

What about adding capacity at another plant? Again, it would take too long.

The solution? Invest in unused space in the CAMI Body Shop and use existing capacity in the Oshawa (Ontario) Paint Shop and Final Assembly. The low-cost solution was doable in six to eight months and created capacity for 60,000 to 80,000 morevehicles.

When the shuttle is fully operational, three trucks carrying five bodies each will leave CAMI hourly around the clock for the 2 1-2-hour drive to the Toronto suburb of Oshawa.

“We are starting production now,” Tremblay said. “This was a very fast solution in a very short time frame.”

Chevrolet and GMC dealers reported more than 16,000 Equinox and Terrain deliveries in June - up 208 percent over June 2009. For the year through June, sales of these vehicles were up almost 193 percent, to more than 94,000 sales.