The move to restore additional shifts, according to GM, is the result of consolidating product built at manufacturing facilities that are: retooling for a new product; closing; or being placed on standby capacity. The details, categorized by assembly plant, are as follows:
- The Fairfax, Kan., plant, which builds the recently launched, all-new Buick LaCrosse, the popular Chevrolet Malibu, and Saturn Aura, will become the exclusive builder of the Malibu when the Orion, Mich., assembly plant ends production in November. In 2010, the Orion plant will begin retooling and make history when it becomes the first U.S. plant to produce small cars to be sold in the U.S. market in 2011. The new shift at the Fairfax plant is scheduled to begin in January, 2010.
- GM’s Ft. Wayne, Ind., facility will add production of heavy-duty pickups—Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra—from the Pontiac, Mich., plant slated for closure at the end of September. The third shift is scheduled to begin in April, 2010.
- Lansing Delta Township, Mich., will add the Chevy Traverse, which is currently built at the Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee. The Tennessee facility will cease production in November but will remain on standby capacity. The new shift at the Lansing plant is scheduled to begin in April 2010.
These changes are in addition to GM's previous announcement that come October a second shift will be added at the Ohio-based Lordstown Complex, where the Chevy Cobalt is built and where the all-new Chevy Cruze will be launched in the spring of 2010.
"[These] actions enable GM to add production shifts and maximize the utilization of several of our plants," said Tim Lee, Group vice president of manufacturing and labor relations. "In turn, we are better positioned to deliver the vehicles our customers' desire and put thousands of employees back to work that would have otherwise been laid off."
Saturn Deal Grounded
GM earlier this week announced that Saturn, the brand it created in 1985, will be phased out after a deal to sell it to Penske Auto Group collapsed. The decision could cost up to 13,000 jobs among the dealers that have sold the vehicle. Penske Group said it decided not to purchase Saturn because it hasn't been able to find a manufacturer willing to make vehicles using the Saturn label.