General Motors is planning to halt operations at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which builds Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, for four weeks, starting September 17 to October 15, 2012, two persons privy with the plans told Automotive News. According to one of the sources, union representatives last week told the plant's 1,500 employees about the scheduled downtime.
Another source in the supply chain disclosed that GM has already notified its suppliers last week. A GM spokesman, however, declined to confirm the reported company plans, saying that they do not provide comments about its production schedules. He, however, quipped that GM continues to match supply and demand.
Aside from the Chevrolet Volt, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant also manufactures a small number of the redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, most of which is produced at GM's Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan.
GM assembled 590 Malibus in June and July, according to the Automotive News Data Center. If the plan pushes through, it would mark the second time this year that GM has curbed its Volt production. GM rendered idle its Detroit-Hamtramck plant from March 19 until April 16 due to inflated Volt inventories.
After failing to reach GM’s target sales in 2011, Volt has been a hot commodity for the first seven months of 2012. During the January-July period, GM sold 10,666 Volts, more than triple the 2,870 units sold during the same period in 2011.
GM executives have attributed the jump in sales to the strong demand for a low-emission version of the Volt that qualifies for California's coveted carpool lanes, which GM rolled out in March 2012. Previous versions of the Volt failed to qualify.
Chevrolet revealed that the coefficient of drag rating (Cd) for the new Malibu is close to that of the Volt which has a Cd of 0.280. The reason for this is that aside from sporting a new design and shape, the engineering team was able to cut out, when compared to the previous model, a total of 60 points of wind drag.
With this, Chevrolet projects that the new Malibu will likely be rated as one of its segment’s most aerodynamic car by the SAE. This newest addition to the brand has a more aggressive look while bringing with it new athleticism.
This is due to the broad shoulders, the wider stance, and of course, an integrated spoiler in the rear. Compared to the model before it, this Malibu has a wheelbase that is shorter by 4.5 inches (114 mm). However, the tracks, for both the front and the rear, measuring 62 inches (1,574 mm), are wider by at least 2 inches (51 mm) compared to the previous version.
Executive Director for GM exterior design and Chevrolet Brand Champion Bryan Nesbitt shared that the design of the exterior of the new Malibu bears the design language of its siblings, the Corvette and the Camaro. He added it will bring to the family sedan class a sporty feel to it. There are also other cues that can be observed on the exterior like the dual-port grille, Chevrolet bow-tie badges that are now larger and placed on the front and the back. There are also the HID headlamps and the dual-element tail lamps, the latter of which is clearly inspired by the Camaro. Complementing the exterior design is the choice of 17-inch, 18-inch, and 19-inch wheels.