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Published: 6/18/2010

Most GM plants to avoid summer shutdown

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

DETROIT - General Motors Co. said yesterday that it will keep most of its U.S. factories open through the normal two-week summer shutdown to meet demand for some of its vehicles.

The automaker will keep nine of 11 assembly plants open to make 56,000 more vehicles that are in high demand, such as the Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Chevrolet Traverse large crossover vehicle.

With the assembly plants open, most of the component plants will be too, including two in northwest Ohio. No shutdowns at either Toledo Powertrain, which has 1,400 workers, or Defiance Powertrain, which has 1,350 workers, are planned this summer, a GM spokesman said.

GM said in a statement that the company is trying to reduce waiting time for dealers and customers to get vehicles.

Assembly plants that will stay open from June 28 to July 9 are in Arlington, Texas; Bowling Green, Ky.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Hamtramck, Mich., Kansas City; Flint, Mich.; Delta Township, Mich.; Lansing, and Wentzville, Mo.

Automakers traditionally shut plants for short periods in the summer - one to two weeks - while switching production of model years and to manage vacation time.

The company has kept some locations open during the shutdown, but spokesman Kimberly Carpenter said GM is keeping far more open this summer than it has during recent years. To help meet the increased demand, GM is also expected to increase the staff of temporary workers, she said.

GM is recovering from a tumultuous 2009, when it filed for bankruptcy and accepted nearly $50 billion in federal aid. Its sales have rebounded in recent months, including a 17 percent rise in May. That was fueled by models such as the Buick LaCrosse, which posted a 212 percent spike in sales last month.

The two GM assembly plants that will have a shutdown are in Lordstown, Ohio, and Shreveport, La. The spokesman said the Lordstown plant needs time to change over from the Chevy Cobalt to the Chevy Cruze models. The Shreveport facility recently lost production when the Hummer brand was discontinued, and it makes a small pickup that is not in high demand.



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