General Motors plans to trim the work force at two US assembly plants over the next three years in moves to align the car maker's North American production with demand while loss-making parts maker Delphi plans to axe another 8,000 jobs, the Detroit News reported.

The GM plants in Lordstown, Ohio, and Lansing, Michigan, build cars that are being discontinued or relocated to other factories, the paper said, adding that Lansing Car Assembly employs 2,658 workers and that GM declined to comment on how many jobs may be eliminated.

Troy Clarke, group vice president of manufacturing and labour relations for GM, told the 'motor city' newspaper that the ability to reduce the work force at the plants, and possibly other factories, is included in the automaker's new four-year labour contract with the United Auto Workers union, along with permission to close a Baltimore assembly plant and a Saginaw foundry.

Clarke told the Detroit News that the moves are designed to help GM boost its manufacturing capacity utilisation rate -- a key measure of factory operating performance -- to 100% by mid-decade, up from 88.3% this year.

"We want to replace portions of our North American assembly operations, not complete assembly plants, with more efficient facilities and take the old ones that are less efficient and more costly to operate, and take them off-line," Clarke reportedly said during a conference call on Wednesday to discuss GM's third quarter financial results.

GM spokesman Dan Flores told the newspaper that the Lansing plant eventually will be shuttered but the closing date will depend on market demand.

The president of the United Auto Workers union branch which represents workers at the plant was unaware it would close after production of the Chevrolet Classic [an '03 Malibu rebadged for '04 with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine], a vehicle sold only to fleets, the Oldsmobile Alero and Pontiac Grand Am ends, and told the Detroit News: "GM ought to keep us going. We got the best quality."

The Detroit News noted that GM plans to build another plant in Delta Township near Lansing, with production scheduled to begin in autumn 2006, but has not yet assigned a product.

GM also is boosting output at its new Lansing Grand River factory, which produces the Cadillac CTS, SRX, and will begin production of the Cadillac STS late next year, the paper noted.

The local union president for Lordstown told the paper that workers at the stamping and assembly plants were informed some time ago of job cuts. The factory is being upgraded to build the new Chevrolet Cobalt, which will replace the Cavalier and require fewer workers to build, the report added, so employee numbers will be reduced to 3,000 to 3,200 from 3,800, mainly through attrition, including retirements.

Separately the Detroit News said Delphi would follow Thursday's announcement of a $US353 million third-quarter loss by cutting another 8,000 jobs as it tries to compete with low-cost producers in China and elsewhere outside the US.

The paper noted that Delphi, a former unit of General Motors, already has cut at least 17,540 jobs worldwide since the end of 2000 as it stops making unprofitable products such as radiators and increases sales of more profitable electronics to car makers other than its former parent though General Motors still generates 60% of its sales.

According to the Detroit News, Delphi said costs linked to 5,300 of the job cuts and a new labour contract last month reduced profit in the latest quarter by $356 million - the costs include eliminating 1,800 hourly jobs and 500 salaried jobs in the US and 3,000 positions overseas.

The 8,000 jobs represent 4.3% of Delphi's workforce and don't include the US salaried jobs, which were announced earlier this month, the paper added.

The Detroit News said Delphi, which currently employs 187,000 worldwide, plans to cut another 3,200 US hourly jobs to reduce costs at money-losing factories, resulting in additional expenses of $159 million by the end of 2004.

The paper noted that, last month, Delphi reached a four-year contract agreement with its largest union, the United Auto Workers, that may reduce wages for new workers and has told the UAW it may close three plants in Michigan, Kansas and Alabama.