GM to idle Chevrolet Cruze assembly plant for one week

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 14, 2011

Later this month, General Motors intends to temporarily halt operations at its Chevrolet Cruze assembly plant for one week as sales of the company car have been declining. GM spokesman Chris Lee said that the automaker will close down its Lordstown, Ohio, plant, during the week of Nov. 28. However, production will restart in the week of Dec. 5.

Inventory for the Chevrolet Cruze has been tight for the past few months but as of Nov. 1, it rose to a 73-day supply. The Cruze had a 43-day inventory as of Oct. 1. The information was provided by the Automotive News data center. GM said that sales were slow due to several seasonal factors.

GM spokesman Chris Lee said that the company doesn’t want to “overproduce” and that its sales traditionally behave this way at this point during the season. He added that the 70-day supply is “not a bad place to be.” The company decided to schedule the downtime in order to cope with the customer demand for the Cruze.

U.S. sales in October for the Cruze totaled 14,295 units. This marks the first time since January that monthly sales fell below 18,000 units. The Cruze was the best-selling compact car in the U.S. for five consecutive months through September. During this period, sales of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic slowed down.

Amid the decline in Cruze sales, inventories of the Corolla and Civic are being replenished. Sales of these two models fell sharply due to a lack of parts for several months after the earthquake last March in Japan.

The website of the UAW Local 1714, which represents workers at the Lordstown plant, posted a notice to announce that the change in scheduling is due to traditional seasonal buying behavior as well as the competitors’ recovering inventories that were previously affected by the Japan earthquake.

The Lordstown plant had three shifts for several months. And on most weeks, the plant had a Saturday shift. GM sold 201,819 Cruze units through October. Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1714, said that in the past, GM would overproduce during this time but it’s a “good thing” that it isn’t doing this now. [source: Autonews]

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