GM to idle Detroit-Ham­tramck plant

The move, which starts Oct. 20, comes as de­mand for com­pacts, sedans slows

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY IAN THI­BODEAU The Detroit News

Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. will tem­po­rar­ily idle its Detroit-Ham­tramck As­sem­bly plant to ad­just for slow­ing de­mand for com­pact cars and sedans. GM builds four car mod­els there.

The plant will see re­duced pro­duc­tion start­ing Oct. 20, lead­ing up to a Nov. 20 shut­down that’s ex­pected to last through the end of the year, com­pany spokesman Tom Wick­ham said Thurs­day.

It’s a move to re­duce pro­duc­tion in re­sponse to slow­ing de­mand, Wick­ham said. The com­pany has moved to re­duce car in­ven­tory in re­cent months, as the sales have cooled and buy­ers in­creas­ingly shop for SUVs and trucks.

The plant on the Detroit-Ham­tramck border em­ploys 1,600 hourly work­ers and has 200 salaried po­si­tions. GM let go 638 tem­po­rary work­ers there ear­lier this year.

Detroit-Ham­tramck As­sem­bly builds the Chevy Im­pala, Chevy Volt, Cadil­lac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse. It’s hav­ing a hard time mov­ing most of those off dealer lots.

The Im­pala had 68 days worth of sup­ply at the end of Septem­ber, not a cause for con­cern. Sixty days worth of in­ven­tory is con­sid­ered healthy.

But the CT6 pro­duced at the plant was at 115 days sup­ply in Septem­ber, up from 97 days in the same month a year ago, ac­cord­ing to Au­to­data Corp. The plug-in hy­brid Chevy Volt was at 102 days’ sup­ply at

the end of Septem­ber; that’s up from 68 days the same month a year ago. And there is nearly a 10month sup­ply of LaCrosses sit­ting on lots.

Over­all, GM had 76 days sup­ply for its en­tire car seg­ment, ac­cord­ing to Au­to­data Corp. The com­pany has said it has plans to trim its over­all in­ven­tory to the low- to mid-70 days range by the end of the year, with fewer cars and more trucks and crossovers as part of its mix.

Car­mak­ers are mak­ing a num­ber of strate­gic de­ci­sions to bol­ster prof­itabil­ity, strengthen bal­ance sheets and ad­just ve­hi­cle line­ups as sales slow af­ter record years. Some are cut­ting pro­duc­tion and oth­ers have killed small cars.

An­a­lysts have said GM has been slower to ad­just to slow­ing sales – par­tic­u­larly for small cars – than its do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion. Lay­offs have hit GM plants in Michi­gan par­tic­u­larly hard: GM has fur­loughed about 3,450 hourly and salaried work­ers at three car fac­to­ries in Michi­gan and at a Michi­gan trans­mis­sion plant since Jan­uary, in­clud­ing the elim­i­na­tion of about 1,300 tem­po­rary work­ers.

GM has cut shifts at two Lans- ing plants and at Detroit-Ham­tramck As­sem­bly; that’s when Detroit-Ham­tramck’s 638 tem­po­rary work­ers were let go. The other GM work­ers at those plants have been placed in other GM po­si­tions or re­main on lay­off.

Across the U.S., GM has laid off at least 4,500 U.S. work­ers since Jan­uary and an­other 1,050 were slated to be let go in Septem­ber. And the au­tomaker re­port­edly is con­sid­er­ing elim­i­nat­ing at least six car mod­els from its U.S. port­fo­lio.

GM at the be­gin­ning of June said down­time in the sec­ond half of the year re­lated to new ve­hi­cle launches would cut about 100,000 ve­hi­cles from over­all in­ven­tory lev­els. It said it would con­tinue to mon­i­tor sup­ply and sales and would make ad­di­tional pro­duc­tion ad­just­ments if nec­es­sary.

Ford Mo­tor Co., mean­while, has planned shut­downs of a week or more at mul­ti­ple North Amer­i­can plants, in­clud­ing Flat Rock As­sem­bly and Michi­gan As­sem­bly.

The Ford shut­downs will af­fect plants that make the Fi­esta, Fu­sion, Mus­tang, Tran­sit and Fo­cus, as well as the Lin­coln MKZ, all of which have had sales de­clines through the first eight months of 2017.

Jose Juarez / Spe­cial to The Detroit News

Mov­ing the price higher is a cor­ner­stone of the ef­forts of Mary Barra, cen­ter, to make GM the in­dus­try’s most valu­able au­tomaker.

David Guralnick / The Detroit News

The Detroit-Ham­tramck plant builds the Chevy Im­pala, Volt, Cadil­lac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse. GM hopes to trim over­all in­ven­tory to the low- to mid-70-day range.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.