Wilmington, Delaware – General Motors has announced it will close four truck plants and increase production of passenger cars in response to demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and changing markets. GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner made the announcements as part of the GM annual meeting of stockholders.
The Oshawa Truck Assembly, which builds the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, will likely cease production in 2009, while Moraine, Ohio, which builds the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X will cease production at the end of the 2010 model run, or sooner if demand dictates. Janesville, Wisconsin will cease production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and of the Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon in 2010 or sooner, if demand dictates. Chevrolet Kodiak medium-duty truck production will also end in Toluca, Mexico by the end of this year.
GM will also undertake a strategic review of the Hummer brand and is considering all options, from a complete revamp of the product to a partial or complete sale of the brand.
Among the major initiatives announced were a new global compact car program for Chevrolet; a next-generation model of the Chevrolet Aveo; a high-efficiency engine module for the U.S. market; and funding for production of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. The company will add third shifts to its Lordstown and Orion car plants.
“From the start of our North American turnaround plan in 2005, I’ve said that our goal is not just to return GM to profitability, but to structure GM globally for sustained profitability and growth,” Wagoner said. “Since the first of this year, however, U.S. economic and market conditions have become significantly more difficult. Higher gasoline prices are changing consumer behaviour, and they are significantly affecting the U.S. auto industry sales mix.” Wagoner said that 18 of the next 19 new GM products for the U.S. will be cars or crossovers.
The new planned Chevrolet compact will begin production in mid-2010 at GM’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio and will use a 1.4-litre turbocharged version of GM’s global four-cylinder engine, which will be produced in Flint, Michigan. GM will also add a third shift in September to the Orion Assembly Center in Michigan, which builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6, and to the Lordstown Car Assembly plant, which builds the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5.