Both Detroit-based automakers have announced they will speed up their SUVs and trucks production in the US this summer, while cutting output for smaller cars.
Low gas prices made the American motorists focus their attention on big vehicles, a trend that has become more and more visible in the past year. If there was still a sales equilibrium between small cars and SUVs in 2013, the balance has started to slowly shift towards the latter ones. In the first five months of this year, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks accounted for 58 percent of the new-vehicle market in the United States. Therefore, the automakers have been forced to accordingly adjust their production plans.
As the demand for models such as Ford Focus and C-Max has dropped, the Blue Oval told Reuters that the Michigan assembly plant will be idle for an extra five weeks through the end of this year. By contrast, Ford will reduce the planned summer shutdown from two weeks to only one at five of its US and Canadian factory that build SUVs or trucks.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler also plans to speed the production of its high margin models by keeping at full speed five of its plants in the United States and Mexico during the entire summer, while three other factories will shorten the normal two weeks of downtime to a single week. FCA’s CEO Sergio Marchionne said earlier this year that production of the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan would stop by the end of this year or in early 2017.