Word just came in from General Motors that the automaker will be reducing shifts at four different plants that produce its full-size trucks and SUVs in an effort to bring production "in line with market demand". The output slowdown will begin on July 14th at GM's Flint, Janesville and Pontiac assembly plants, which produce the Chevy Heavy-Duty Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado and GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra. The Oshawa truck plant will also be affected starting Sept. 8th. All told, the shift reductions will nix 80,000 full-size pickups and 50,000 full-size SUVs from GM's North American production capacity.

According to GM, both vehicles have lost ground in the market across the industry, with sales of full-size pickups dropping 15-percent and SUVs down 26-percent for the first quarter of 2008. This isn't surprising considering the cost of fuel right now and the subsequent reduced demand for larger vehicles. GM didn't provide specifics about how this would affect workers, only saying that it will "result in lower staffing requirements at all four plants," and that the details "would be worked out over the next several weeks with the UAW and CAW."

Naturally, GM felt the need to brighten up the lackluster announcement by highlighting that car and CUV sales are up. However, it hasn't made a decision to boost output of either type of vehicle in lieu of said increased demand. Check out GM's full press release after the jump.

[Source: GM, Photo by Scott Olson/Getty]

PRESS RELEASE

GM to Reduce Full-Size Truck Production

Move to bring production in line with market demand
Company to explore options to expand car production

DETROIT – GM announced today that it is eliminating one shift of production at its full-size pickup truck assembly plants in Pontiac, Mich.; Flint, Mich.; and Oshawa, Ontario; and its full-size SUV assembly plant in Janesville, Wis. The decisions were made to bring production capacity more in line with market demand.

Under this plan, approximately 88,000 units of full-size pickup and 50,000 units of full-size SUV production will be removed from GM's North American production capacity for the remainder of the 2008 calendar year.

Based on current plans, the shift reductions will be effective on the following dates:

* Flint Assembly (Heavy Duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra) – July 14
* Janesville (Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL) – July 14
* Pontiac Assembly (Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra) – July 14
* Oshawa Truck (Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra) – September 8

The full-size pickup truck and full-size SUV segments have softened for the entire industry – down 15 and 26 percent, respectively, through the first quarter of 2008. Nonetheless, GM remains the segment leader in both instances, with nearly 40 percent share of full-size trucks and more than 63 percent share in the full-size SUV market.

"With rising fuel prices, a softening economy, and a downward trend on current and future market demand for full-size trucks, a significant adjustment was needed to align our production with market realities," said Troy Clarke, president GM North America. "This is a difficult move, but we remain committed to retaining and growing our leadership position in the full-size truck market."

Clarke noted that with the market shifting toward cars and crossovers, GM is seeing strong sales of the new Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G6, Chevrolet Impala, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia. He added that the company is continuing to explore options to increase car and crossover production, but there are no changes to car production at this time.

The full-size truck production cuts will result in lower staffing requirements at all four plants, and those details will be worked out over the next several weeks with the UAW and CAW.


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