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GM Juggles Staffing at Two Plants

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GM Juggles Staffing at Two Plants\
GM Adds Shift at Crossover Plant, Cuts Production at Truck Plant
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Tuesday July 24, 5:05 pm ET | By Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer


DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. will add a third shift and about 500 temporary workers at its plant near Lansing where it builds crossover vehicles, but it also is cutting jobs and pickup truck production at a plant in Pontiac.

GM said the Pontiac downsizing is due to a slumping pickup market nationwide, and the increase at the Delta Township plant near Lansing is due to rising demand for the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia crossover vehicles.

About 500 temporary workers laid off earlier in the summer likely will get a chance to return to the Delta Township plant when the third shift is added Sept. 4, but the details must be worked out with the United Auto Workers, GM spokesman Tom Wickham said Tuesday.

The Delta Township plant, which now employs about 2,800 hourly workers, makes the eight-passenger crossover vehicles which came out in April. Sales of all three took off in June, GM said, with dealer orders for the Buick seven times more than the plant could produce on two shifts.

"There are places in the country that dealers haven't even seen one yet," said Pete Nico, GM's vehicle line director for the crossovers. "The trucks are pulling in, and the customers are walking away with them. When dealers do see a shipment arrive, they don't have anything to leave on their lots."

Sales of crossovers, which have sport utility vehicle attributes but are built on more fuel efficient car underpinnings, are growing rapidly as the market shifts away from gas-guzzling truck-based vehicles.

The Delta Township plant, which opened last year, can make just over 44 vehicles per hour, GM said.

In Pontiac, the story is the opposite.

GM in early September will cut an unspecified number of jobs at the pickup truck plant, which now employs about 2,800 hourly workers.

About 300 temporary workers could be laid off, but Wickham said the number hasn't been determined.

The plant's assembly line speed will be reduced from 54.5 vehicles per hour to 45.

The Pontiac plant makes mostly heavy-duty GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups.

"There's been a decline in the full-sized pickup market. We've seen a decline in the heavy duty side, which prompted the action we took," Wickham said.

Temporary workers would be laid off first and would receive no benefits, Wickham said. If it's necessary to lay off full-time workers, they would receive supplemental unemployment benefits or would have the chance to go to other GM plants nearby if there are openings, he said.

GM also makes pickup trucks in Flint; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Oshawa, Ontario; and Silao, Mexico. Production cuts are not scheduled for any of those plants, Wickham said.

GM and other pickup manufacturers have been hurt by intense competition and a nationwide slowdown in the homebuilding industry.

GM shares fell 47 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $34.65 Tuesday.

General Motors Corp.: http://www.gm.com
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This is Great news for the CrossOvers but sad news for the Trucks.

:scratchchin: Wonder when GM will wake up and put together ad's that will show the capabilities of their trucks. I am so tired of seeing the Toyota commercial showing it pulling up an emtpy Cargo container. Most people think it is full of stuff and I have even had relatives that have told me Toyota can pull more than anyone cause we saw it on TV. :censored: Make you want to say all kinds of nasty things. :censored:

Who cares if it is the heartbeat of America, images no matter how deceiving sell product and plant belief that one product is better than another. Hopefully GM will start to show the great capabilities of their CrossOver vehicles so that they sell even more. <_<

Edited by dfelt
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Doesn't GM have any flexible plants, where different cars/trucks can be produced, like the Nissan Sunderland plant (clicky nr.1 and clikcy nr.2)?

That way they could shuffle the production schedule to meet demand changes without having some people working like crazy in one plant while others are playing cards or getting fired...

Edited by ZL-1
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This article must be wrong. Weren't the Lambda vehicles doomed to fail from the very beginning according to claims by various people in the automotive press?

Way for GM to prove those people wrong.

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The Enclave sales are really low though, like 50th place for SUVs. The Outlook sales are rather weak too, it seems odd that they need to add capacity, I hope they don't over build and have to discount big time next summer. But if they are under building now and they can't get them to dealer lots they have to sped up production.

I have always thought the Lambdas are too big and too heavy, they are 400-500 pounds more than the truck based Trailblazer, how does that make it car like or save gas? I'd like the Lambdas a lot more if they were about 7-8 inches less in length and 500-600 pounds lighter. The Enclave is about 800 pounds more than a Lexus RX, that is a lot of weight.

GM needs shrink and improve the Equinox too. The CR-V is the #1 selling SUV now, and the Edge and Escape are both top 5 along with the Rav4. Those small suvs sell, GM has to improve in that area, and the Vue got really heavy too, although it sells fairly well. I worry GM has too many models and brands though to update all this stuff fast.

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The Enclave sales are really low though, like 50th place for SUVs. The Outlook sales are rather weak too, it seems odd that they need to add capacity, I hope they don't over build and have to discount big time next summer. But if they are under building now and they can't get them to dealer lots they have to sped up production.

I have always thought the Lambdas are too big and too heavy, they are 400-500 pounds more than the truck based Trailblazer, how does that make it car like or save gas? I'd like the Lambdas a lot more if they were about 7-8 inches less in length and 500-600 pounds lighter. The Enclave is about 800 pounds more than a Lexus RX, that is a lot of weight.

GM needs shrink and improve the Equinox too. The CR-V is the #1 selling SUV now, and the Edge and Escape are both top 5 along with the Rav4. Those small suvs sell, GM has to improve in that area, and the Vue got really heavy too, although it sells fairly well. I worry GM has too many models and brands though to update all this stuff fast.

enclave is only now rolling into dealerships for the first time; hence it's low sales positioning. demand is outstripping supply because buick's projections for its newer more expensive SUV were lower, and Acadia is doing better than expected. Outlook is also helping to bring in buyers to a new brand where there are no expectations for quality expensive cars and trucks.

the reason enclave and lambdas are heavy is because they are full size, offering more interior space than Honda's large-for-midsize Pilot. yet they offer mileage figures that are better than that truck. they are larger than the new highlander and offer more interior space than even a Yukon. they are a great package, however, as you noted they are large.

a resolution is coming in the form of a Theta Epsilon platform that will render a replacement for the Trailblazer midsize SUV...most likely on that platform.

of course GM has too many models and too many brands to update anything quickly. they are in a catch 22 because of the dealers, the investments, and the capacity. they need all the brands to be successful, if they contract the number of brands they have there's no evidence they would keep the lost sales. there is also evidence that they need the different variations of cars and trucks to remain profitable.

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Pontiac's plant makes the 4500-7500 series of trucks not the light duty stuff

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