General Motors next month will reduce production at three plants that build Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon sport utility vehicles.

GM spokesman Tom Wickham told the Associated Press (AP) that the automaker is slowing output at factories in Arlington, Texas; Janesville, Wisconsin; and Silao, Mexico, to bring inventories in line with demand.

The plants will cease production for the first two weeks of January, then reopen on 15 January with assembly-line speed reduced 10% to 50 vehicles an hour.

Wickham told AP he did not know how long production at that rate would continue, or how many workers could be laid off. The Janesville and Arlington facilities employ more than 3,000 and 2,700 hourly workers, respectively.

The news agency noted that GM said last week that it expects to build 1.28m vehicles in the first quarter of 2007, down 9.2% from actual production in the first quarter of 2006.