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The Coronavirus Has Frozen The Auto Industry In Place, And Suppliers Are Begging To Receive Memos

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The COVID-19 coronavirus catastrophe has automakers like on the back foot doing everything they can to save money. It was made public that they would close plants and adjust worker pay, but with all of these facilities closed, these measures are likely also affecting vehicle development. Per The Detroit News, our suspicions are confirmed. General Motors is sending notices to its suppliers to stop work on tooling and other deliverables ahead of the planned product rollouts that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The most significant of which is the refresh of the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks.

The decision also effects plans for the Chevrolet Camaro, for reasons not entirely clear (perhaps the minor 2021 Camaro updates discovered recently). A future variant of the Corvette will also will be delayed, at least slightly. It’s likely to be in reference to the C8 Z06.

“All our development teams around the globe are looking for opportunities to conserve resources by adjusting program timing and deferring spending,” GM told the newspaper.

However, certain vehicle programs are deemed too valuable to suspend. Work on vehicles such as the T1 utility vehicles (2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2021 Chevrolet Suburban, 2021 GMC Yukon family and 2021 Cadillac Escalade) will be done however possible, although the launch timeline will be pushed back due to plant closures. GM’s future electric vehicle programs will also keep to schedule. This includes the upcoming Hummer EV pickup truck and SUV, as well as their “Ultium” battery technology.

2021 GMC Yukon
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The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are scheduled to receive much-needed interior updates that are expected to resemble the cabins of the all-new Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon.

The Trump Administration extended CDC guidelines until April 30 as of Monday March 30. These recommend against gatherings larger than 10 people, suggest people work at home, and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home.

Other automakers will likely be dealing with similar vehicle program delays.

GM has not provided an estimate on when it will resume production and vehicle development. The automaker has otherwise been moving as fast as it can to tool and produce much-needed ventilators in collaboration with Ventec Life Systems at cost in Kokomo, Indiana. Separately, it will also be making masks at a facility in Warren, Michigan. General Motors has also mandated an austerity plan for salaried workers that consists of a 20 percent pay cut for those working from home. Salaried workers involved in manufacturing that otherwise can’t do their jobs outside of their respective facilities have been docked 25 percent. GM says it plans to repay workers on the other side of this, with six percent interest on top of it.

2020 GMC Sierra Denali

Written by Manoli Katakis

Detroit Region SCCA Member and founder of MC&T. Automotive Media Jedi Knight. Not yet the rank of Master.


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