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GM cutting second shift at Lordstown plant in Ohio

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. is moving to one shift at its Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio, cutting a second shift and offering buyouts of up to $60,000 to affected workers.

The shift elimination is effective June 18. It could affect 1,500 jobs at the 3,000-employee plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze.

The plant has been operating on two shifts since last year when GM eliminated a third shift at the plant. Lordstown also saw “several weeks” of downtime in 2017 after the third shift was eliminated.

The Chevrolet Cruze posted a 2.2 percent decrease in sales in 2017, with deliveries down 26 percent at just under 40,000 deliveries through March. Car sales across the industry have struggled in recent years as consumers more often opt for crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

“As the market continued to undergo historic changes, it required us to reduce production rates and take numerous down weeks to match production with lower customer demand for compact cars,” GM said in Friday in an emailed statement. “As we look at the market for compact cars in 2018 and beyond, we believe a more stable operating approach to match market demand is a one-shift schedule.”

Chevrolet revealed a refresh of the Cruze for 2019 earlier this month, offering a new trim line on the Cruze hatch, which is built in Mexico. The automaker says the Cruze hatch accounted for 20 percent of total Cruze retail sales in 2017.