• Chevrolet Silverado

GM Delays Model Updates As COVID-19 Financial Pressure Mounts

It’s a tough situation for automakers forcing GM to request its suppliers halt work on the production of parts

Matthew Guy By: Matthew Guy March 31, 2020

In the midst of a global pandemic, General Motors is being forced to put some plans for model updates on hold in an effort to shore up their balance sheet amid a tsunami of idled plants and cratering sales.

According to The Detroit News, GM has requested its suppliers halt work on the production of parts intended for an upcoming and sorely needed mid-cycle refresh of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty pickup trucks. This is presumably in a bid to preserve cash that may be needed to keep the lights on during these uncertain times. Near-term programs, such as the already-introduced 2021 model year full-sized SUVs, are unlikely to be affected.

Chevrolet Silverado

Chevrolet Silverado

Mid-cycle refreshes are an important part of a vehicle’s lifecycle, providing models with a rejuvenated interior or fresh fascias in an attempt to hold consumer interest. This is preferable to breaking open the corporate piggy bank on designing an entirely new model and is a strategy that’s been used to great effect in the past. Other models reported as having their refreshes delayed are the GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox twins, the Bolt EV, and (sadly) the Camaro.

In even worse news for fans of bowtie sports cars, the company has also apparently hit the pause button on a future version (Z06 variant, perhaps?) of the new mid-engine Corvette. While it wasn’t slated for the 2020 model year, it’s worth noting there is now an excellent chance its introduction will be pushed back from its planned launch date. Our right foot collectively weeps.

Of course, no vehicle refresh or update is worth risking the health and safety of a workforce, so these measures are understandable if also lamentable. South of the border, the feds just extended guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control about public gatherings until April 30th. People are being asked to work from home if possible, advised not to congregate in groups that number more than 10 people, and stay at home altogether if they are older or have existing health-related challenges. Most talking heads expect car plants to remain closed through the end of April.

It’s a tough situation for automakers. With future programs and investments such as these put on hold, some companies may find themselves behind the eight-ball in terms of having a competitive product when things get back to normal. On the other hand, cash saved by taking these measures could be just enough to shore up the company and permit it to come out the other side in relatively good shape. After all, having a fresh truck in one’s portfolio does no one any good if the company is not around to sell it.