to Associated Press (AP), General Motors will idle two plants in Michigan and
Canada next week, laying off 4,400 workers as it continues to cut output in line
with softer sales in North America. The idling is expected to last for one week.
GM has said that 3,200 workers would be affected by the temporary shutdown
of an Orion Township plant in suburban Detroit where the Oldsmobile Aurora,
Pontiac Bonneville, Buick Park Avenue and Buick LeSabre are produced.
Beginning Monday, an additional 1,200 workers will be laid off for a second
straight week at the plant in Ste. Therese, Quebec, where Chevrolet Camaros
and Pontiac Firebirds are assembled.
Over the first quarter, U.S. sales of the Camaro are down 25 percent over the
same period last year, while domestic demand for the Firebird has slumped 28
percent. During the same period, U.S. demand for the Park Avenue has tumbled
by 31 percent, while sales of the Bonneville has fallen 15 percent. First-quarter
demand for the Aurora is triple what it was last year, and sales of the LeSabre
are relatively flat, up 3 percent. Overall, GM’s first-quarter U.S. sales were
down 7 percent from a year ago.
General Motors reported an 88 percent drop in first-quarter earnings on Wednesday,
but it still beat Wall Street expectations as a sharp fall in U.S. vehicle sales
and continuing weakness in Europe took their toll on the world’s largest automaker.
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