- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DETROIT | Higher sales, in part from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program, are spurring General Motors Co. to boost production at several of its factories.

The automaker said Tuesday it would add 60,000 vehicles to its production in the third and mainly the fourth quarter. It will also bring back about 1,350 laid-off workers in the U.S. and Canada.

GM will add a shift to its CAMI factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, where the new Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain midsize crossover vehicles are made. The company’s Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant, where the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 are made, also will see additional shifts.

The Lordstown plant is now running at one shift for 10 hours per day Monday through Thursday, but the company will add the next two Fridays to the schedule, said plant spokesman Tom Mock.

GM’s plant in Orion Township, Mich., which makes the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 midsize sedans, also will see a production increase.

Production also may be boosted at other factories, including those that make the Chevrolet HHR small wagon, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups, the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car, Buick LaCrosse sedan and the Cadillac SRX and CTS Wagon, GM said.

The Cobalt and Malibu have been popular with people trading in older less-efficient models under the clunkers program, which offers up to $4,500 to people to scrap vehicles with gas mileage of 18 mpg or less.

At the end of July, GM had 70 days worth of Cobalts on dealer lots, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank. A 60-day supply is considered ideal to maintain a good selection for buyers without overstocking dealers. But since the clunkers program began in late July, dealers have reported spot shortages.

Also on Tuesday, GM said it has signed a final agreement to sell all its shares of Saab Automotive to Sweden’s Koenigsegg Group AB, confirming the preliminary deal revealed in June. The financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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