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GM to Temporarily Idle Two More Plants

October 29, 2008
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General Motors has told employees at its Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, plants that they will have an extra down week this year.

GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said, "The market is telling us we don't need that many cars."

GM will idle the Detroit-Hamtramck plant for the week of Nov. 24. GM builds the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne cars there.

The Bowling Green plant will be idled the week of Dec.1. GM builds the Cadillac XLR and Chevrolet Corvette cars there.

As of October 1, GM had a 95-day supply of the Corvette and a 215-day supply of the XLR. It had a 70-day supply of the Lucerne and a 50-day supply of the DTS.

Through September, U.S. sales of all four of the vehicles have fallen from the first nine months of 2007: Corvette sales are down 9.5 percent, to 23,384, XLR sales are off 26.3 percent, to 1,039, Lucerne sales have declined 32 percent, to 43,839; and DTS sales have dropped 32.4 percent, to 25,790.

Both plants are running on a 40-hour workweek and are scheduled to reopen after the one-week shutdowns, Sapienza said.

GM has 1,700 employees at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, assembling about 450 cars a day on an eight-hour shift. But that production will be dramatically reduced. This month, GM said it would slow the line at Detroit-Hamtramck effective January 12. That is a reduction from 56 jobs an hour to 38, which equals about 266 cars built a day. Starting January 12, at least 500 people will be laid off.

GM employs about 800 workers at its Bowling Green plant, assembling 500 to 600 cars a week on one 40-hour shift, Sapienza said.

GM last halted production of the Corvette during the week of October 6, its first inventory-related closing of the Corvette plant since at least 1995.

General Motors said at that time that when Corvette assembly resumed during the week of October 13, the line speed would drop from 18.5 vehicles an hour to 15, spokeswoman Sharon Basel said. She added that General Motors also expects to lay off an undetermined number of employees there.

Filed by by Jamie LaReau of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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