General Motors plans to cut a shift at its Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio, potentially affecting as many as 1,500 workers, in an apparent reflection of the down market for passenger cars.
The automaker confirmed Friday it would cut one of its two shifts at the plant. The facility, about 15 miles northwest of Youngstown produces the Chevrolet Cruze sedan.
In a statement, GM acknowledged that the market was prompting its decision:
"As we look at the market for compact cars in 2018 and beyond, we believe a more stable operating approach to match market demand is a one-shift schedule. Consequently, we will suspend the second shift of production at Lordstown late in the second quarter of 2018."
2018 sales of the Cruze were down more than 26% through March compared with the first quarter last year. The decline in sales of what has been a generally lauded vehicle for GM reflects a similar story for passenger cars across the industry, with consumers shifting their purchases toward trucks and SUVs.
The 6.2 million-square-foot plant employs about 3,000 workers, 2,700 of whom are hourly staff. It has produced more than 16 million vehicles since 1966, according to GM's website.
Last year, the company cut the plant's third shift.
GM said up to 1,500 workers would be affected by the shift reduction, but details are not yet available.
"A special attrition program and buy out are being offered. Due to that and other business needs, we won’t know the exact number of people impacted for several weeks. We will begin communicating with the impacted hourly and salaried employees next week and let them know what options are available," according to a statement from the company.
Despite the announcement, GM said it expects to sell approximately the same number of Cruze sedans in the United States as it sold last year, about 150,000.
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