GM considers new car for plant
The idea is under study but not decided, the Lordstown plant's spokesman said.
LORDSTOWN -- A General Motors study team spent time at the assembly plant here earlier this year, assessing the potential for adding another product.
The visit was reported internally in March, said Thomas Mock, spokesman for GM's Lordstown Assembly on Hallock-Young Road.
"No decision has been made on that," he stressed in response to reports that a new Saturn model could be built here.
"Earlier this year we did have a group of engineers in here, a study team," Mock said. Such teams touring GM plants are not an unusual occurrence, he said.
The study is on the potential for adding another product, and the facts will be reviewed in conjunction with the business forecast, he added.
Asked if the idea of making another product at Lordstown was far-fetched, Mock replied: "If it were far-fetched, they wouldn't have done the feasibility study."
Unidentified GM sources told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that the corporation plans to build a new Saturn model at Lordstown next year. This would be the 2007 Ion, a small car that will use the same mechanical underpinnings as the Chevrolet Cobalt now built in Lordstown, the article said.
The Ion now is built at Saturn's plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The 2007 model will have a new design.
Auto industry analysts estimate the plant could produce about 300,000 total vehicles annually.
The assembly plant has about 3,400 hourly workers. GM is considering plant closings and cutting as many as 25,000 jobs by 2008.
The Lordstown plant, however, was recently upgraded.