GM cut­ting pro­duc­tion at two plants as sales slow

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS -

SHIFT­ING DE­MAND from cars to trucks and SUVS is forc­ing Gen­eral Mo­tors to lay off more than 2,000 work­ers in­def­i­nitely at two assem­bly plants in Ohio and Michi­gan start­ing in Jan­uary.

The com­pany said on Wed­nes­day it would sus­pend the third shifts at fac­to­ries in Lord­stown, Ohio, and in Lansing, Michi­gan, be­cause of the mar­ket change, which is grow­ing and shows no sign of abat­ing.

About 1,250 work­ers will be fur­loughed at the Lord­stown plant, which makes the Chevro­let Cruze com­pact car, start­ing Jan­uary 23. An­other 840 will be idled at the Lansing Grand River fac­tory, which makes the Chevro­let Ca­maro mus­cle car and the Cadil­lac ATS and CTS lux­ury cars, when their shifts end Jan­uary 16.

“It’s sup­ply and de­mand, and right now the de­mand is not there for what we have,” said Glenn Johnson, pres­i­dent of a United Auto Work­ers union lo­cal at the Lord­stown plant east of Cleve­land.

Cruze sales are down nearly 20 per cent this year even though a new ver­sion is only in its sec­ond year of pro­duc­tion.

Of the ve­hi­cles made in Lansing, ATS and CTS sales each are down about 17 per cent this year, while Ca­maro sales are off 9 per cent, ac­cord­ing to Au­to­data Corp.

Laid-off work­ers will get sup­ple­men­tal pay and state un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits that will amount to most of their wages for a year.

The com­pany doesn’t know when the work­ers will be called back to the fac­to­ries, said spokesman Tom Wick­ham.

“Look­ing ahead at 2017, we know that the car mar­ket con­tin­ues to soften and the cross­over (SUV) and full-size truck mar­ket con­tin­ues to grow,” he said.

Last month, 61.6 per cent of US new ve­hi­cle sales were trucks and SUVs, while cars dropped to 38.4 per cent, ac­cord­ing to Au­to­data Corp. A year ago, trucks and SUVs ac­counted for 57.6 per cent of sales.

Gen­eral Mo­tors Com­pany also an­nounced Wed­nes­day that it would in­vest more than US$900 mil­lion at a Toledo, Ohio, trans­mis­sion plant, the Lansing Grand River fac­tory and a cast­ing plant in Bed­ford, In­di­ana, to pre­pare for fu­ture new ve­hi­cles.

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