GM to close Detroit passenger auto factory for 6 weeks

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The statement followed reports that GM plans to shut the plant for about six weeks from mid-November and lay off about 1,500 workers then cut production roughly 20 percent once operations resume, according to a source familiar with the plans.

According to the Wall Street Journal, roughly 1,500 workers will be affected at GM'S Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which produces four auto models that are seeing sluggish demand: the Buick LaCrosse, the Cadillac CT-6 sedan, the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, and the Chevrolet Impala.

"This action will help maintain more stable production", the No. 1 USA carmaker said. US sales of the Buick LaCrosse are off 21 percent this year while demand is down 32 percent for the Impala and 6 percent for the Volt. Sales of the Volt fell 6 percent and Impala 31 percent, while sales of Cadillac's CT6 increased more than 50 percent.

GM has slashed passenger-car production in the past year, laying off almost 3,000 workers and transferring some to plants making SUVs, the Journal said. Large sedan sales have been hardest hit in reason years by consumer shifts to crossovers, leading GM to have ballooning inventory of those models. The cut comes as demand for passenger cars continues to fall as consumers shift to crossovers, SUVs and trucks. Overall, GM had a 76-day supply of vehicles as of October 1 (down from 87 on September 1) and Ford had a 72-day supply (down from 81 on September 1).

Earlier this year, GM eliminated the plant's second shift, saying it was laying off around 1,200 workers.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Wednesday that GM has warned a striking Canadian labor union that if it doesn't call off a monthlong walkout, the automaker will shift production of the top-selling Chevrolet Equinox SUV to Mexico.

A GM spokesman said there are no plans to reinstate any of those shifts at this time.

Production cuts slice into revenue but also could help automakers avoid deeper price cuts on vehicles they can sell.