GM to Halt Production At Five Plants in U.S. and Canada Amid Worldwide Restructuring

Shrinking sedan sales bring giant changes—and big layoffs—to General Motors.

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General Motors announced on Monday that it plans to halt production at five major factories across the United States in Canada and cut its salaried workforce by 15 percent as it launches a major reorganizing effort to "accelerate its transformation for the future"—a future, it seems, that won't include much in the way of traditional sedans.

In a dramatic move, GM will be "unallocating" Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, which builds the Chevrolet Cruze; the company's famed Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly, home of the Cadillac CT6, the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Volt, and the Chevrolet Impala; and Oshawa Car Assembly in Ontario, Canada, which produces the Impala, the Cadillac XTS, and recently picked up a few Chevrolet Silverado lines as well. Additionally, GM plans to cut two drivetrain facilities: Baltimore Operations in Maryland and the Warren Transmission plant in Michigan. The company also plans to idle two as-yet-unannounced foreign facilities.

Reuters

This restructuring plan will drastically change GM's product lineup. Most of those vehicles aren't made at other facilities in North America; General Motors has already confirmed that the Chevrolet Volt will end production, and it's only a matter of time before the fates of the Impala, LaCrosse, XTS, and CT6 are sealed.

Also uncertain: the future for the thousands of workers who will be laid off, as well as the communities built around those plants. The end has been in sight for some of these plants for a while, though: both Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck were running just one production shift, and in November, GM offered buyouts to some 50,000 salaried employees. Just last week, Lordstown initiated a campaign to save the plant with the support of politicians at the local and state level. 

The Oshawa closure would be a big deal for Canada. It's one of General Motors oldest facilities, having been in service for 111 years, and losing its 2,500+ jobs would be the biggest single blow to the country's manufacturing sector in years. Canada's Unifor union, which represents most of the workers at Oshawa, issued a statement pledging to fight the closure.

The cuts go all the way to the top, as GM plans to cut a quarter of its executive team in an effort to streamline operations and maintain profitability. Meanwhile, the affected plants will continue building cars through the 2019 model year as the unions work to come to some sort of agreement.