GM to temporarily close 4 North American plants

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. is temporarily closing four North American assembly plants after a parts shortage following recent deadly earthquakes in Japan.

The Detroit automaker on Friday said that starting next week it will idle plants in Spring Hill, Tennessee; Oshawa Flex Assembly in Canada; Lordstown, Ohio; and Fairfax, Kansas. The plants will close April 25 and be down for two weeks.

The affected plants employ about 13,374 United Auto Workers members and make the Cadillac XT5, GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Cruze, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Equinox and Buick Regal.

UAW Local 1112, which represents workers at GM’s Lordstown plant, said in a notice on Facebook that the downtime is due to an “electrical parts shortage.”

GM said the temporary closure is not expected to have “any material impact” on GM’s full-year production plans in North America, or its second-quarter or full-year earnings.

Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have not seen any impact from the earthquake.

Joseph Spak, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said the downtime at the four plants represents about 34,000 vehicles.

“We know Toyota and Nissan have taken downtime as well,” he wrote in an investor note. “We await to see if others are impacted. But our view is that near-term disruption could help alleviate some near-term elevated U.S. inventory levels.”

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