Lordstown characterized as “under-used” plant in Reuters report


By Graig Graziosi



The president of the United Auto Workers union, Dennis Williams, said in a Thursday news release that there have been discussions with General Motors concerning the future production of plants that primarily produce “slower-selling” vehicle models.

According to a Reuters report, which cites anonymous sources “familiar with the plans,” GM is considering “killing” six slower-selling models, including the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6 and XTS, and Chevrolet Impala, Volt and Sonic.

The GM Lordstown Assembly Complex, as well as the Hamtramck Assembly Complex in Michigan, were mentioned by name in the report and were characterized as “underused” facilities.

Though the Lordstown plant does not produce any of the six brands mentioned in the report – it produces only the Chevrolet Cruze – workers at the plant have felt the impact of a recent shift in consumer preference toward larger vehicles such as SUVs and crossovers.

The Lordstown plant’s third shift was cut last year, and Monday will be the first day back for Lordstown workers after a five-week shutdown caused in part by a decline in Cruze sales.

Cruze sales have dropped 30 percent since last year, though individual retail sales are up 3.3 percent, according to a recent report from GM.

Glenn Johnson, president of UAW Local 1112 at Lordstown, said he wasn’t aware of any plans by GM to change the product at the Lordstown facility.

“It’s GM’s decision for where they put their product,” Johnson said. “If we get a reallocation, we’re just going to show what a great team we’ve got here at Lordstown and that we’ve got the right people in place to make it work here.”

Jim Cain, national spokesman for GM, said he couldn’t confirm the discussion cited by Williams in the Reuters report, but he could confirm that consumers prefer larger vehicles – and that it will impact GM’s production priorities moving forward.

“We’ve got a strong economy right now and gas prices are low, so we’re seeing growing interest in crossover models and the enduring popularity of trucks,” Cain said. “Naturally we want to stay as closely in line with customer demand as possible.”