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GM to adjust output at nearly half of its N.A. plants

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Craig Trudell

Automotive News

June 24, 2008 - 4:19 pm ET

DETROIT -- General Motors, grappling with the dramatic shift in sales from pickups and SUVs to smaller vehicles, said it will adjust production at almost half of its North American assembly plants.

The automaker is adding overtime and speeding up lines where its cars and crossovers are made and temporarily closing plants making trucks and SUVs for as long as 12 weeks in the second half of the year. GM is cutting production even after slowing or idling up to 30 plants during the three-month UAW strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc.

On Monday, June 23, GM said it plans to reduce pickup and SUV production by 170,000 units in the second half of the year, while increasing the output of cars. The company plans to increase car and crossover production by 47,000 vehicles.

"With the continuing shift of consumer demand moving from trucks and SUVs to cars and crossovers, we need to balance our production to meet the shift in demand," the company said in a statement.

GM car sales through May are off 5.9 percent from the same period in 2007, but total GM sales are down 15.9 percent. Truck sales during the first five months of the year are down 23.0 percent from the year-ago period.

The good news

Three car and crossover plants will add Saturday shifts and overtime as GM looks to build more of those vehicles. Those plants are:

• The Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan., which makes the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura.

• The Orion Township, Mich., plant, which builds the Malibu and Pontiac G6.

• The Lansing Delta plant in Delta Township, Mich., which makes the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.

Line speed at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant will increase to 62 vehicles an hour on three shifts, up from 55 vehicles an hour on three shifts. The plant makes the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 sedans.

GM said it will add overtime to production at the Wentzville, Mo., plant that makes the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, which combined are down 21.7 percent through May. GM said the increase would handle fleet and commercial orders for the trucks, but the company offered no further explanation.

The bad news

A week will be added to GM's plans for a two-week closure at four truck plants in July. Those plants are:

• The Fort Wayne, Ind., plant and Oshawa, Ontario, truck plant, both of which build the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

• The Silao assembly plant in Mexico, which makes the Cadillac Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado and Suburban, and GMC Sierra and Yukon XL.

• The Shreveport, La., plant, which makes the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Hummer H3

GM also said it will shut down two plants making its slow-selling SUVs for two weeks in July. Those plants are the Arlington, Texas, plant and Janesville, Wis., plant. The Arlington plant makes the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Janesville builds the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and the Yukon.

Several of the truck and SUV plants will be shut down again after July, GM said. The Fort Wayne and Silao plants will close two weeks later in the year. The Arlington plant will close for three weeks, the Oshawa truck plant for seven weeks, and the Janesville plant for 10 weeks in the rest of 2008.

GM spokesman Chris Lee said the company will determine when those closures will occur after the July shutdowns.

Link: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...p;rssfeed=RSS34

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I didn't know the Malibu was made at Orion with the G6...

Yep, a couple months after production started at Fairfax they decided they needed more capacity, so it went to Orion as well.

These moves make sense, but needed to be made a couple months ago.

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