General Motors has temporarily stopped operations at its Fairfax plant in Kansas to catch up with the swollen inventories of the Chevrolet Malibu mid-sized sedan, union sources told Automotive News. The plant, which was closed last week, will remain idled for a combined 20 days. GM cancelled the shifts on January 2-4, 2013, when the plant's 3,500 workers were scheduled to return from their holiday break.
Production at the Fairfax plant will resume on Jan. 7, 2013. A GM spokeswoman confirmed to Automotive News that the Fairfax plant "is taking idle time in December," to make sure that GM is aligning its production with demand.
The plant also produces the Buick LaCrosse sedan. GM North America President Mark Reuss admitted last week that the carmaker had adjusted plant schedules to better align output with its sales, but didn’t specify which models. Reuss disclosed that sales were strong in the first two weeks of December 2012.
As of Dec. 1, 2012, GM's vehicle inventory was 788,200 units or a 106-day supply – the highest level since April 2009. According to GM executives, inventories grew higher than their target and so, the carmaker would take necessary steps to cut stockpiles. As part of the inventory reduction program, GM also canceled shifts at its Lordstown plant in Ohio, where it builds the Chevrolet Cruze.
As of Dec. 1, 2012, the Malibu inventory was a 164-day supply. Most of the Malibu inventory was of the 2013 models. GM dealers had sold most of their 2012 Malibu stocks this spring and summer, offering heavy discounts to pave way for the redesigned sedan. Aside from Fairfax, GM also builds a smaller number of Malibus at a plant in Detroit and Hamtramck, Mich.