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 Dec. 17 and end Dec. 21, at which point the plant already was scheduled to close in a predetermined contractual agreement with the United Auto Workers union. The plant will reopen 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 unusual at all,” Johnson said. “Sales absolutely drop off, especially when you’re 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, such as those of the Chevrolet Cruze, typically are affected by seasonal sales. December traditionally is a better month for sales than November, but Cruze inventory still is 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 Chevrolet Cruze were up 27 percent in November, posting four-straight months of gains.
In all, 16,807 Cruzes were sold in November, compared with 13,238 at the same time last year.
Reached late Monday, GM officials said the scheduled shutdown applies only to the Lordstown-built Cruze, and no other factories across the country will be affected.