General Motors will close its Janesville, Wisconsin, sport utility vehicle factory on 23 December, about two years earlier than planned, according to local media reports.

The factory makes the large Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban SUVs and the GMC Yukon, and a GM spokesman was quoted as saying sales were falling so the automaker decided to shutter the factory early. It employs 1,200.

GM had previously hinted Janesville could shut earlier than scheduled in 2010 if market conditions dictated.

As just-auto reported last June, CEO Rick Wagoner said at the automaker's annual general meeting that Janesville would cease production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and of the Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon in 2010 - or sooner.

In the same announcment, GM said Oshawa Truck Assembly in Canada, which builds the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, would likely cease production in 2009, while Moraine, Ohio, which builds the smaller Chevy TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7x SUVs would end production at the end of the 2010 model run, or sooner, if market demand dictates.

GM had last month moved up Moraine's closure, also to 23 December, the local report noted.

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