GM to keep most plants open during summer shutdown to meet demand

Friday, June 18, 2010

DETROIT -- General Motors Co. said Thursday 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.

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

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

Automakers have traditionally shut down plants for short periods during the summer while switching production of model years and to manage vacation time for workers.

The company has kept some locations open during the summer shutdown, but company spokeswoman 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, Carpenter said.

GM is recovering from a tumultuous 2009, during which 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 like the Buick LaCrosse, which posted a 212 percent spike in sales last month.

The two GM plants that will have a summer shutdown are in Lordstown, Ohio and Shreveport, La.

Carpenter 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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