Ford has defied Trump and done it. Why not GM?
2016 has not been a good year for American car production. SUVs and trucks have been selling like crazy, but coupe, sedan and hatchback sales have tended to stagnate or spiral. Ford responded to the changing times by idling plants and now The Detroit News is reporting that GM plans to do the same. A total of five plants will take a few weeks off in January 2017. The Detroit Newsalso reports that GM is eliminating the second shift at its Detroit-Hamtrack facility. That plant makes the Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac CT6 and Buick Lacrosse.
The Detroit News says that killing off the second shift at Detroit-Hamtrack will leave almost 1,300 jobless, although GM is going to try and place those affected in jobs at other plants nearby. In addition to losing its second shift the facility will take three weeks off in January. Kansas City's Fairfax Assembly Plant, which makes the Chevy Malibu, will also close for three weeks to start the year. Other plants set to be idled include the home of the Camaro and Cadillac CTS/ATS, Lansing Grand River. Workers there will get a forced two-week vacation. Ohio's Lordstown Assembly Plant and Kentucky's Bowling Green Assembly Plant round out the group and will each be closed for a week in January. The former makes the Cruze and the latter the Corvette.
Like Ford, GM is idling its plants to match a swing in demand. The Detroit News says the automaker has a massive supply of cars stretching 105 days. The Lacrosse has a 168-day supply! If those figures are too abstract than a quick look at the sales numbers from November will tell you all you need to know. Every car on that list, save for the Malibu and Volt, are down on sales compared to 2015. The Lacrosse is down 36.3%! The fact that the second shift at the Volt's plant was eliminated tells you that GM expects a downturn in demand. Same thing for the three-week idle at the Malibu's factory. With this news it wouldn't be a shock if GM started to consider shifting small car production abroad a la Ford. That would really piss off President Trump, huh?