GM to Shed Five North American Plants, Numerous Products, Amid Restructuring Drive

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm to shed five north american plants numerous products amid restructuring drive

Heavy-duty streamlining has reached the production level at General Motors. After last night’s bombshell (though not unexpected) report claiming Canada’s oldest auto plant would cease operations late next year, more news is trickling out about the automaker’s production future.

Add Ohio and Michigan to the list of locales expected to lose an assembly plant.

According to Nick Bunkley of Automotive News, Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown Assembly, makers of GM’s full-size front-wheel drive products and the Chevrolet Cruze, will join Oshawa Assembly in closing its doors. Both American plants now operate on one shift, with no shortage of downtime last year to curtail ballooning inventory.

Oshawa, of course, builds the marked-for-death Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala, which also sees assembly in Hamtramck. Shift workers walked off the job this morning at the Ontario plant, which, like its American counterparts, possessed an increasingly hazy future. Roughly 2,500 unionized workers and 300 salaried employees call the plant home.

Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, stated Sunday night that there was no product allocated to Oshawa after December 2019.

“Based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations, Unifor does not accept this announcement and is immediately calling on GM to live up to the spirit of that agreement,” the union said in a media release. “Unifor is scheduled to hold a discussion with General Motors tomorrow and will provide further comment following the meeting.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that discussions that took place between GM and the UAW last year will surely ramp up again. Those talks concerned falling sedan sales and what to do with underutilized plants like Hamtramck and Lordstown. Now, the context is clearer. With GM offering buyouts to 50,000 salaried workers across the globe and angling for a heavily electrified product lineup in the not-so-distant future, the dinosaurs must die. Sales of the Impala, XTS, CT6, and Buick LaCrosse are, like the Cruze, down significantly in 2018. However, Hamtramck also builds the electrified Chevy Volt.

Update: GM CEO Mary Barra, speaking at a media conference this morning, has confirmed that the three aforementioned plants, as well as Warren Transmission and the company’s Baltimore operations, will cease to exist by the end of next year. She also confirmed that the shuttering of the plants, expected to save the company $6 billion in 2020, spells the discontinuation of the products built at those plants.

According to The Detroit News, this means the loss of 3,300 U.S. jobs. UAW contracts are up for renegotiation next year.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • Jthorner Jthorner on Nov 27, 2018

    Gotta love those tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, eh? The tarriffs didn't just increase the price of imports, they increased the price of domestic produced metals as well. Which industry consumes the most steel and aluminum in the US?

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 27, 2018

      Yeah, tariffs sure got everyone’s attention and the trading partners are scrambling to make deals with Pres T. To wit: USMCA, with more to come.

  • Bigbearvo Bigbearvo on Nov 30, 2018

    Typical of American manufacturers... short-sighted, interested only in shareholder value, not in competing at a high level of quality and customer satisfaction over the long term. GM is losing billions in its electric division, while Toyota is positioning itself to own the market in every vehicle segment as technology changes over the next 20 years. State of the art plants being built here, and young design teams working on trail-blazing products, while the American companies pick up the pieces of yet another failed strategy. Toyota and Honda have no plans to discontinue the Accord, Corolla, Camry or Avalon. I have no doubt they'll gladly hire some of those experienced laid off GM workers who built the Impala, Cruze and Volt. They'll also gladly add disenchanted GM buyers to their growing list of satisfied customers. I chose an American car for the first time in decades when I bought first a Ford Escape Hybrid in 2008, then a 2016 Impala. Great vehicles, great design. Poor marketing execution by a poorly managed company. The Impala led the pack in the Consumer Reports ratings two years running. Why not build on that success, instead of forcing sedan lovers and Hybrid SUV fans to the foreign competition? Now I'll be leaving thousands of dollars on the table when I'm forced to sell the Impala and move on to a more trustworthy, high quality, well-run company. I'll move to an Avalon, Camry or Accord, or if I choose an SUV, it'll be a Subaru or Toyota. And it will be the last time I trust an American car company.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.