Most General Motors U.S. plants will forgo traditional summer shutdowns to help meet buyer demand for popular Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars, crossovers and trucks.
Nine of the 11 assembly plants will continue to operate during the traditional shut-down period from June 28 to July 9, the company announced. Most of GM’s U.S. stamping and powertrain plants will also work to support assembly operations. The decision is expected to generate up to 56,000 additional vehicles.
“This move will help buyers waiting for high-demand products such as the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. “Our manufacturing teams are taking creative approaches to increase production and reduce the wait times for our dealers and customers.”
Historically, the summer shutdown was used by the automakers to complete the annual model changeover. Over the last 20 years, the two-week shutdown evolved, allowing the domestic auto industry to support maintenance operations and enabling employees to use their vacation weeks without interrupting overall productivity.
New language in the UAW-GM national agreement allows the company to “flex” when down weeks will be taken. In some circumstances, it will be possible to designate those weeks as mandatory vacation time. In other circumstances, when no downtime is possible due to market demand, the plants can hire temporary employees to provide vacation coverage. The temporary employees receive training in safety and quality to ensure they are capable of supporting production at a high level.
“We’ve added shifts to plants, run significant overtime, and optimized line speeds to get more products to our customers,” said Diana Tremblay, GM vice president of Manufacturing and Labor. “Our UAW-GM workforce has contributed to our ability to make these changes while continuing to meet our business targets.”
Assembly plants working through the traditional summer shut-down are: Arlington, Texas; Bowling Green, Ky.; Detroit Hamtramck, Mich.; Fairfax, Kan.; Flint, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lansing Delta Township, Mich.; Lansing Grand River, Mich.; and Wentzville, Mo.