General Motors says it continues to examine options to replace Allied Automotive Group as its U.S. car hauler, but Ward’s learns Jack Cooper Transport will take over at least a portion of the business.

“We’re looking at all of the (GM) business, seeing how much we can handle,” says Bob Griffin, CEO of Kansas City, MO-based Cooper Transport, the nation’s second-largest car hauler.

GM earlier this week chose not to renew a contract with Atlanta-based Allied, which also is withholding services from Chrysler.

Neither auto maker reports production or delivery disruptions. GM says today, “We are re-sourcing the work to a new supplier and do not anticipate any impact on production,” but declines to name its new carriers.

The switch comes at a pivotal time for GM. The auto maker’s turnaround from its 2009 bankruptcy continues to gain momentum on the strength of some hot products. But part of its restructuring calls for much leaner inventories, so it cannot afford a bottleneck in its pipeline to dealers.

Griffin says Cooper Transport also is looking at taking over GM’s business in Canada, where yesterday a Canadian Auto Workers union official told Ward’s stocks of the fast-selling Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain already were beginning to pile up on lots at GM’s Ingersoll, ON, assembly plant.

Ingersoll makes 1,000 vehicles per day. GM currently produces an estimated 5,700 units per day in the U.S., according to Ward’s data, and 9,400 vehicles daily across North America.

Griffin says the carrier will have a clearer picture of its GM business by Monday.

“It’s a lot to absorb in a couple of days,” he says, adding Cooper’s drivers are represented by the Teamsters union, which should eliminate any potential conflicts with GM’s unionized employees.

Like much of the trucking industry, 80-year-old Cooper Transport recently teetered on bankruptcy as its business dried up during the recession. The trucker is in turnaround mode now and says it is a candidate for a planned reality-television series.

jamend@wardsauto.com