General Motors Scaling Back Sonic Production, Moving 500 Workers

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

General Motors will lay off around 500 workers and eliminate one shift at its Orion Assembly due to sagging demand for small cars, the automaker announced Friday. Those workers may be sent to a nearby plant.

Automotive News first reported on the layoffs.

According to a statement from a GM spokesman, the automaker will “adjust plant production capacity to align with market demand” and eliminate one shift that builds the Sonic. Demand for the Sonic has largely remained flat since the subcompact’s introduction in 2011.

Last year General Motors sold 93,518 examples of the Sonic, but is on pace to sell fewer this year. So far this year, Chevrolet has reported sales of just over 50,000 through the first nine months, which is a 35-percent drop over last year.

Many workers at the Orion Assembly could be shifted to Detroit-Hamtramck, according to the automaker. GM announced Thursday that it would be adding an additional shift to build more Chevrolet Volts, Malibus, Impalas and Cadillac CT6 models next year. Orion Assembly and Detroit-Hamtramck are located roughly one hour apart from each other.

Orion Assembly will build the Chevrolet Bolt to sell later next year. GM said it invested $405 million in the plant to prepare for the Bolt and another new vehicle to be named later. According to Automotive News, that vehicle could likely be a small Cadillac crossover.


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  • Davefromcalgary Davefromcalgary on Oct 23, 2015

    I like the Sonic. Its plug ugly, and noisy on the inside, but the few rentals I have had drove well, maximized their footprint, had everything I needed.

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    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Oct 24, 2015

      @bball40dtw Precisely. When money is similar I think people are buying it for its slightly smaller size, but you punish them with a car motor you use in everything. If the take rate on the I4 is 80% then fine we're wrong but I'd be willing to wager its at least even with the V6... or maybe guys say screw it and just buy the Ram 1500 heavily discounted.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 23, 2015

    I hope the relocation option works out for these people. Hamtramck is better for them than Mexico.

  • Chi-One Chi-One on Oct 23, 2015

    Dave, Test drive a JGC Limited with Lux Grp. You'll love it!

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Oct 25, 2015

      davefromcalgary, visit jeep dot com and read up on the comments from actual owners. The 3.0 TD is nice in the mountains and higher altitudes, but a dog in cold weather. TD IMO means Tiny Diesel and if forced to make a choice I'd take a V6 gasser over the TD. But the 5.7 has the best power-to-weight ratio for all-around use. The 5.7 has enough oomph and twist to make good use of the 8-speed tranny. The 3.6-gasser and 3.0 TD are underpowered IMO. In my extended family we have five 2012 and up JGCs, among them a 3.0 TD in Littleton, CO -- Rocky Mountain country. Including two of our friends' JGCs we have a total of 7 WK2 JGCs , in a variety of trims. The 5.7L Limited and the 6.4L SRT8 clearly are the stars of this bunch.

  • Rday Rday on Oct 24, 2015

    Comparing these cars from Detroit is like comparing the different kinds of dog poop. They are all pretty much the same crappy products built by american companies that could care less about their customers welfare/safety/ resale.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Oct 25, 2015

      Heard it all before, Rday. That was conventional wisdom back around '07, and it was based on experiences from the '80s-'90s. The European makes had their reputations based on earlier decades, even the Japanese, but today there isn't a whole lot of difference between American and foreign makes. You can keep bashing, but old Detroit is dead, and many of the vehicles you might slam aren't even made in Detroit, while many the vaunted imports are made in American factories.

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