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.