GM Lordstown holiday shutdown to start one week early
General Motors announced late Monday that it would shut down its Lordstown facility one week ahead of its regularly scheduled holiday break.
The move is to help curb Chevrolet Cruze inventory heading into a traditionally sluggish period for compact car sales.
The shutdown will begin on Dec. 17 and end on Dec. 21, at which point the plant was already scheduled to close in a predetermined contractual agreement with the United Autoworkers union. The plant will reopen on Jan. 7.
The move will leave those on all three shifts uncompensated for the week of Dec. 17, which will allow workers to file for an unemployment claim with the state in order to reclaim a portion of their earnings that week, said UAW Local 1112 President Glenn Johnson.
In accordance with the UAW’s national agreement, workers will be compensated for the regularly scheduled two-week holiday break.
“It’s not unsual at all,” Johnson said. “Sales absolutely drop off, especially when your fighting Santa Claus. People are worried about getting gifts and preparing for the holidays. They’re not car shopping.”
Officials with GM said compact car sales, like those of the Chevrolet Cruze, are typically affected by seasonal sales. Even still, December is traditionally a better month for sales than November, but Cruze inventory is still high, at about 90 days worth, to meet demand heading into the new year.
“It’s just taking measures to align the production schedule with customer demand this time of year,” said Lordstown communications manager Tom Mock. “It’s not unusual and if you head to our website you’ll see sales were actually up last month.” GM also announced Monday that sales of the Cheverolet Cruze were up 27 percent in November, posting four straight months of gains. In all, there were 16,807 Cruzes sold in November, compared to 13,238 at the same time last year.
Reached late Monday, GM officials said the scheduled shutdown is applicable only to the Lordstown-built Cruze and no other factories across the country will be affected.