GM plans to cut shift at Mich. transmission plant

DETROIT — General Motors on Wednesday said it will end one of two production shifts at a Michigan transmission plant next month, following cutbacks at several vehicle assembly vehicle plants amid a decline in U.S. industry sales.

GM did not reveal how many jobs would be eliminated as a result. The plant, Warren Transmission Operations, employs about 630 hourly workers and 100 salaried workers. Some of the affected UAW employees likely would have the chance to move to another plant.

“Recent actions to reduce passenger car production have caused us to adjust transmission production starting in late June,” a GM spokesman said. “Warren Transmission Operations will operate on one shift, building fewer transmissions each day. This action will help maintain more stable production and provide the smallest impact to plant employment going forward. We are not providing more detail about our plans for competitive reasons.”

The plant makes six-speed transmissions for the Chevrolet Traverse, Equinox and Impala, the GMC Acadia and Terrain, the Buick Enclave and Regal, and the Cadillac XTS. It also builds electric drive units for the Chevy Volt and Malibu Hybrid.

GM cut a shift at the Michigan plant that makes the Traverse and Enclave earlier this month, when it also moved Acadia production to Spring Hill, Tenn. In March, it removed a shift at the Detroit plant that assembles the Impala and Volt. Two GM plants that build other vehicles lost shifts in January.

GM’s inventory was at its highest level in nearly a decade at the beginning of May, climbing 37 percent over the past year, while other automakers have kept their inventories essentially flat.

GM executives have said the buildup was intentional in preparation for production that will be lost to several important changeovers to redesigned models this year. But it leaves GM more vulnerable to declining demand than many of its competitors, at a time when industry sales have declined for four consecutive months.

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