General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) stock needs all the production it can get around the world to improve its cash and profit position, especially in this year where many costs will rise once again after the UAW contract is officially signed. After all, the stock has been trading near book price lately for a reason, beside following the general market. Question is, how much can the production by GM Thailand contribute to the bottom line and reduce its debt and pension obligations?
General Motors manufacturing plant in Rayong, Thailand, which has undergone a $300 million transformation, is getting ready to start regular production of the all-new Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup.
When it begins rolling off the production line in October, the Colorado will include crew-cab and extended-cab variants powered by GM’s new fuel-efficient, four-cylinder Duramax diesel engines, also built at Rayong.
According to the GM news release, GM Thailand Vice President of Manufacturing Kaher Kazeem said the all-new Colorado will be built to world-class quality standards by a highly skilled workforce using GM’s global manufacturing systems and technology.
“This is GM Thailand’s largest-ever engineering and manufacturing program. It is proof of the outstanding skills and capability that exist in this country, and represents a firm commitment to our strategy of building where we sell,” Mr. Kazeem said. “It has been a long journey, but it’s incredibly rewarding to see the hard work and commitment of our team resulting in the production of a world-class vehicle in every way.”
He added, “The Colorado program demonstrates that our manufacturing operations have the ability to meet the needs of the local and global marketplace now and well into the future. This is a truck of which Thailand can be proud.”
To produce the new model, GM Thailand added a large robotic press line to the plant and upgraded the automation on an existing press line. The new line can produce seven panels per minute, or 2.3 million panels per year. Laser scanning technology has been adopted to ensure precise build quality.
The plant’s body shop likewise received new tooling and robotic lines, while the paint shop received a major tooling upgrade.
The general assembly area in the facility was completely overhauled to accommodate new tooling, a lean material delivery system and dynamic vehicle testing equipment to validate engine and acceleration performance.
GM Thailand also introduced all-new assembly checking and error-proofing equipment while upgrading its test track to assess final production vehicles before they leave the plant.
For the record, there are currently 3,400 employees onsite at GM’s Rayong facility. At full capacity, it can produce up to 180,000 vehicles per year.
Also for the record, GM Thailand currently manufactures the Chevrolet Cruze and Captiva SUV models at Rayong in addition to the all-new four-cylinder Duramax turbo-diesel engines for use in the upcoming Colorado range.
[Photo Source: media.gm.com]
Full Disclosure: At time of publication, Sherosky, creator of the auto sector charts for TN, is neither long or short with the mentioned stocks or futures, though positions can change at any time. None of the information in this article constitutes a recommendation, but an assessment or opinion.
About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via authorfrank.com. He may be contacted here by email: [email protected] or via his Twitter i.d. @Authorfranks
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