General Motors Extends Summer Plant Shutdowns, Layoffs Likely to Follow
If your current employment involves building a sedan for a domestic automaker, there’s both good and bad news awaiting you. General Motors is extending summer breaks at certain assembly plants and there may be an opportunity for some workers to extend that time off indefinitely, resulting in the least welcome vacations imaginable.
Stagnating sales and a bloated inventory is forcing GM to lengthen its traditional two-week summer shutdown to as many as five weeks for two U.S. factories, according to union officials. The affected plants are Lordstown Assembly, located in Ohio, and Kansas City’s Fairfax Assembly. Lordstown assembles the Chevrolet Cruze while Fairfax is responsible for the midsize Malibu, which has had a horrendous 2017. The Malibu had plenty of company in the doldrums, too. Through May, U.S. car sales were down 11 percent while truck and SUV sales rose by nearly 5 percent, forcing automakers to play favorites.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, United Auto Workers Local 31 president Vicky Hale claimed the Kansas City plant could be idled for up to five weeks, with job cuts likely to follow. Robert Morales, president of the Lordstown union, said his factory will stop production for the last two weeks in June, followed by another three weeks in July.
“It’s just to align with market demand, that’s all,” he explained on Wednesday.
After seven years of relatively consistent growth, overall demand for vehicles is slowing. Total U.S. deliveries are down 2 percent for May and industry analysts are suggesting 2017 won’t surpass 17.2 million units. Any expectation of topping last year’s record 17.5 million deliveries is now unrealistic — even if there are jobs depending on high sales volume.
The Lordstown plant, which saw a third shift cut at the beginning of the year due to lowered demand, employs roughly 3,000 workers. The Fairfax plant has about 3,500 workers. Hopefully, those numbers are unchanged after next month.
[Image: General Motors]
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004
- Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
- Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro processors...in today's vehicles?
- Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
- Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
Short term shutdowns/ temporary lay offs, extended summer,and Christmas vacations are "facts of life" in automotive assembly operations. As an auto worker, you learn to live with it. Seven - eight week summer shutdowns were the norm, up to about the early 80's. When inventories/field stock numbers get too high, shutting down production is the most cost effective solution. Turning back line speed, and shift reduction is a longer term solution.... Temporary lay offs VS permanent layoff , is a win win, for all sides.
The Malibu. It's finally a decent car, at least when new, but after umpteen generations of garbage, it is hard to conceive of a name with less brand equity. They might as well call it the Yugo.