What’s Holding General Motors Back from Selling More Pickups?

Chevy Silverado Red Pickup

General Motors’s (NYSE:GM) redesigned line of pickup trucks is flying off the lots, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg. The sources said the revamped Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models are selling faster than the company can produce them.

Three people familiar with the matter spoke to Bloomberg, saying that the pickups with the popular 5.3-liter V8 engine have been selling faster than General Motors suppliers can make engine parts. Two of the people said that GM is being forced to limit how many of the vehicles dealers can order. One person told the publication the issue will be solved quickly, but another believes it will take a couple of months. The sources didn’t identify who the suppliers are.

A spokesman for the company told Bloomberg that dealers were still receiving 80 percent of their orders, and that “It’s almost an oxymoron to call it a constraint at 80 percent.” GM also seems confident that the supplier issue will be fixed soon, saying via its spokesman, “It’s a temporary thing.”

General Motors is under pressure to boost supply and sell as many pickups as it can before rival Ford (NYSE:F) launches its new line of F-Series trucks next year. “This is a window of opportunity for GM given the strong pickup market and the new Ford truck which launches in fall 2014,” Alan Baum, an industry consultant at Baum & Associates, said in an email to Bloomberg.

Overall, such high demand for a new generation of pickups is a good problem for General Motors to have. Those trucks hadn’t been redesigned since 2006, and in the aftermath of the financial crisis that led to an increased focus on fuel efficiency in American car buyers, it was somewhat uncertain how the new pickups would perform.

Automakers reported monthly sales on Tuesday morning, and General Motors said sales fell 11 percent in September versus a year ago; the company delivered 187,195 vehicles during the month.

Meanwhile, Ford’s sales rose 6 percent year over year, posting the best September the company has seen since 2006. Ford sold 185,146 vehicles during September, coming in close behind GM. Those figures add pressure on GM to fix the supplier issue as quickly as possible and get more of the pickups into the hands of the consumers who want them.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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