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GM to forgo summer shutdowns at most U.S. plants

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GM to forgo summer shutdowns at most U.S. plants

June 17, 2010 - 10:46 am ET

DETROIT (Reuters) -- General Motors Co. plans to increase production by 56,000 vehicles by keeping most of its U.S. plants open through its traditional summer shutdown period, the company said today.

GM said nine of its 11 U.S. assembly plants would forgo two-week summer shutdowns and continue to operate through the June 28 to July 9 period to help meet strong demand for vehicles such as the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Traverse.

Most of GM's U.S. stamping and powertrain plants will also work to support assembly operations.

"Our manufacturing teams are taking creative approaches to increase production and reduce the wait times for our dealers and customers," Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said in a statement.

GM's U.S. sales rose 15 percent in the first five months of this year from the same period last year, slightly underperforming the 17 percent increase in U.S. industry sales.

Excluding four brands GM has sold or closed, U.S. sales for its remaining Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands were up more than 30 percent this year through May.

Automakers have traditionally used summer shutdowns to help complete the annual model changeover and support maintenance operations.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100617/OEM01/306179960/1329#ixzz0r9ISjTmj

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This is a good sign, hopefully demand will continue to improve for new GM products. Eventually it would be great for demand to rise high enough to justify bringing all the remaining US production back online.

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GM won't shutdown plants for summer break

Automaker will keep plants open to meet customer demand

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

Most General Motors Co. assembly plants will keep building vehicles during the automaker's traditional two-week summer shutdown next month, an unprecedented move to meet demand for certain vehicles.

Nine of GM's 11 assembly plants, including four in Michigan, will keep producing from June 28 through July 9, and most of its U.S. stamping and Powertrain plants also will remain operational, helping GM produce another 56,000 vehicles.

That would generate additional revenue for GM, which books sales when vehicles are delivered to dealers, not when consumers make purchases.

The production boost also would help alleviate a shortage of certain vehicles that has confounded GM this year, including the Buick LaCrosse sedan and the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia crossovers.

GM has added third shifts and overtime at several factories this year, but the automaker has struggled to boost record-low inventory levels amid a rebound in sales.

"When you look at the increase in production, and the reduction in its overhead cost structure, GM should make profits that look really good in the second quarter," said autos analyst Erich Merkle of Autoconomy.com in Grand Rapids.

The assembly plants that will stay open are: Detroit-Hamtramck; Flint; Lansing Delta Township; Lansing Grand River; Arlington, Texas; Bowling Green, Ky.; Fairfax, Kan.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Wentzville, Mo.

"We're rockin' and rollin,'" said UAW Local 602 President Brian Fredline, president of UAW Local 602. "We've barely been able to shut down the line for a day, so, I'm not surprised."

Local 602 represents the GM Lansing/Delta Township plant where GM builds the Traverse, Acadia and Buick Enclave.

In April, the plant added a third, late-night shift and added 483 workers from GM's former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The Lansing/ Delta Township plant runs day and night Monday through Friday and some Saturdays. In total, the plant added 1,000 workers, Fredline said.

"The marketplace is responding positively to a quality product that's made by a UAW workforce," Fredline said.

"That's all a good thing."

Sales of GM's core Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands are up 31 percent, fueled by demand for crossover buyers and fleet customers.

The summer shutdown traditionally has been used to help automakers complete an annual model changeover, perform maintenance and let workers take vacation without disrupting production.

Last year, GM instituted unprecedented cuts amid the company's financial problems and an industry downturn that idled production at about 30 percent of its North American assembly plants.

GM has kept one or two plants open through part or all of the summer shutdown, but has never kept this many plants open during the summer break, spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said.

"Our manufacturing teams are taking creative approaches to increase production and reduce the wait times for our dealers and customers," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.

GM is allowed to reschedule traditional shutdown weeks under its agreement with the United Auto Workers. When it is impossible to schedule shutdowns, GM can hire temporary workers to provide vacation coverage.

The automaker will need to hire thousands of temporary workers to cover for UAW workers who already have scheduled vacation.

The temporary workers will receive safety and quality training, GM said.

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it'll stick with its usual summer plans. With the exception of its five stamping plants, all of Ford's factories in the United States and Canada will get their customary two-week shutdown this summer. Stamping plants will be idled for one week.

Chrysler Group LLC also will continue with its traditional summer shutdown. This year, the plants will be idled for the weeks of July 12 and 19.

Chrysler's salaried workers do not have to take their vacation during this period, a reversal of a policy that was in place for two years under the ownership of Cerberus Capital Management LP.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100618/AUTO01/6180353/1148/AUTO01/GM-won-t-shutdown-plants-for-summer-break#ixzz0rCzzkeb0

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GM nixing summer shutdown, hiring thousands of temps to meet demand

by Sam Abuelsamid (RSS feed) on Jun 18th 2010 at 5:26PM

The Detroit auto industry's annual summer shutdown is a tradition that goes back many decades, but this year, General Motors is taking a pass. It comes from a time when the new model year started in September for every car and they all debuted simultaneously, usually in dealer showrooms. The shutdown was the two week period in the summer during which all the plants installed updated tooling for the new models.

In more recent times, the practice has persisted as a time to do maintenance and other work that might interfere with production – even if it hasn't coincided with the launch of a new model. This year, however, GM's inventories on many models are running so low that nine of the automaker's 11 assembly plants will keep producing vehicles during the designated shutdown period. Among the plants that will stay open are the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that builds the Cadillac DTS, the Delta Township plant builds the Lambda crossovers and the Chevrolet Corvette plant in Bowling Green, KY. Full press release after the jump.

[source: General Motors]

Buyer Demand Keeps Most GM U.S. Plants Running During Summer Shutdown

2010-06-18

* July production to help reduce wait times for popular vehicles

DETROIT - Most General Motors U.S. plants will forego traditional summer shutdowns to help meet buyer demand for popular Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac cars, crossovers, and trucks.

Nine of the 11 assembly plants will continue to operate during the traditional shut-down period from June 28 to July 9. Most of GM's U.S. stamping and powertrain plants will also work to support assembly operations. The decision is expected to generate up to 56,000 additional vehicles.

"This move will help buyers waiting for high-demand products such as the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. "Our manufacturing teams are taking creative approaches to increase production and reduce the wait times for our dealers and customers."

Historically, the summer shut-down was used by the automakers to complete the annual model changeover. Over the last 20 years, the two-week shut-down evolved, allowing the domestic auto industry to support maintenance operations and enabling employees to use their vacation weeks without interrupting overall productivity.

New language in the UAW-GM national agreement allows the company to "flex" when down weeks will be taken. In some circumstances, it will be possible to designate those weeks as mandatory vacation time. In other circumstances, when no downtime is possible due to market demand, the plants can hire temporary employees to provide vacation coverage. The temporary employees receive training in safety and quality to ensure they are capable of supporting production at a high level.

"We've added shifts to plants, run significant overtime, and optimized line speeds to get more products to our customers," said Diana Tremblay, GM vice president of Manufacturing and Labor. "Our UAW-GM workforce has contributed to our ability to make these changes while continuing to meet our business targets."

###

Assembly plants working through the traditional summer shut-down are: Arlington, TX; Bowling Green, KY; Detroit Hamtramck, MI; Fairfax, KS; Flint, MI; Fort Wayne, IN; Lansing Delta Township, MI; Lansing Grand River, MI; and Wentzville, MO.

###

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 205,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 157 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/18/gm-nixing-summer-shutdown-hiring-thousands-of-temps-to-meet-dem/

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