General Motors has given two factories in New Jersey and Baltimore a reprieve because truck demand is now expected to last longer than originally expected, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said yesterday.

The news came around the time GM began rolling SUVs out of an Ohio plant formerly earmarked for closure after Chevrolet Malibu production ended there in 2001. Campaigning by local officials plus state incentives apparently helped GM’s change of heart.

The WSJ, citing a GM spokesman, said the New Jersey plant that builds Chevrolet’s Blazer, S-10 and the GMC Sonoma pickup trucks would remain in production until summer 2005, a six to nine-month reprieve.

GM will also keep the Baltimore Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari minivan plant going, also until summer 2005, withholding the axe for between 15 and 18 months, the magazine added.

According to the WSJ, the two plants employ 3,513 hourly and 322 salaried workers but operate with only one shift compared to three shifts at other GM factories where the company more popular vehicles.

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The WSJ added that no additional investment was expected to keep the two plants running for longer.