General Motors will add a third production shift at its Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant, where its new midsize pickups and commercial vans are made.
GM last week started production of the redesigned 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, after a two-year hiatus for the trucks. GM moved output to Wentzville from Shreveport, La., after closing that plant in 2012.
The third shift is expected to go online early next year, GM said.
The Colorado and Canyon should begin arriving in showrooms later this month or in early October. GM plans to produce 100,000 to 130,000 of the pickups in 2015, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.
Forecasts for combined U.S. sales of the Colorado and Canyon next year, by IHS Automotive, AutoPacific and LMC Automotive, range from 73,000 to 91,400 trucks.
Through August, overall U.S. pickup sales are up 4 percent this year.
The extra shift will create an additional 750 jobs, bringing the Wentzville plant to about 3,350 UAW and salaried workers. GM has spent $513 million on the St. Louis-area plant over the last three years, including the addition of a third stamping press.
GM said early this month that dealers had ordered a combined 42,000 midsize trucks ahead of the launch, several times GM’s forecasts. GM executives saw it as a positive sign of future demand for the Colorado and Canyon, which will compete with the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.
GM also makes the Chevy Express and GMC Savana commercial vans at the Wentzville plant.