By SHERI GASSAWAY
For the second year in a row, the Chevy Colorado, a mid-size truck built at Wentzville’s GM Assembly Plant, has won the Motor Trend 2016 Truck of the Year award.
The designation also makes the Wentzville facility the only GM plant to build a vehicle to win back-to-back Motor Trend awards. Plant officials say they were ecstatic to learn about the prestigious honor.
“Not every GM plant gets that experience, and I attribute the win to the men and women who put in countless hours to design, engineer and build these great trucks,” said Nancy Laubenthal, Wentzville’s GM plant manager.
Motor Trend selected the 2016 Colorado because it features an optional class-exclusive 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine, which gives it best-in-class towing of 7,700 pounds and the highest fuel economy numbers ever recorded – 31 miles per gallon on the highway.
The Wentzville plant employs 3,484 hourly employees who build the Colorado, GMC Canyon, GMC Savana and Chevy Express. The workers at the plant are members of United Auto Workers Local 2250 in Region 5.
Representatives from Local 2250 were unable to be reached for comment. However, UAW Region 5 Director Gary Jones said in a statement that the win says a lot about the quality and popularity of the vehicle, as well as the members of UAW Local 2250 who build it.
“We are all very proud of the craftsmanship and what this means for the region and the industry,” he said.
COLORADO: NEW LIFE
FOR THE WENTZVILLE PLANT
The reintroduction of the Colorado truck in 2015 has given new life to the Wentzville plant in terms of jobs and production. GM stopped making the Colorado in 2012 when its Shreveport, La., assembly plant closed. Earlier this year, the Wentzville plant added a third shift consisting of 750 new jobs based on demand for the redesigned truck. It’s the first time in 30 years three shifts have been running at the plant.
CHEVY WINS 2016 CAR OF THE YEAR, TOO
In addition to winning the 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, Chevy also won the 2016 Car of the Year with its new Gen Six Camaro. The car is built at GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., which employs members of UAW Local 652.
Cindy Estrada, vice president and director of the UAW’s GM Department, said in a statement that it is rewarding to see the hard work pay off for members of Local 652 and Local 2250.
“The men and women behind these products exemplify the commitment UAW members have in building quality products that consumers trust and love,” she said.