Janesville62.5°

GM Ohio SUV factory to close on Dec. 23

Print Print
Gazette Staff and Associated Press
October 4, 2008
— General Motors Corp. said Friday it will shut down its SUV assembly plant here on Dec. 23 as the company shifts focus to smaller vehicles.

GM spokesman Chris Lee said employees gathered in the plant Friday afternoon were informed of the closing date. Some 1,100 remaining workers are affected.


The automaker earlier this year announced plans to close the Moraine plant and three others by the summer of 2010, then accelerated shutdown plans as part of companywide cost-cutting moves.


It was not clear Friday what impact, if any, the closure of the Moraine plant would have on the GM plant in Janesville.


The Janesville Gazette was not able to reach a local plant spokesperson or United Auto Workers Local 95 on Friday afternoon.


Before it closes its plant in Janesville, GM must give the state a 60-day notice of its intentions.


On Sept. 12, a Wisconsin delegation flew to Detroit to propose a plan for continued employment at the Janesville plant. Tim Cullen of Janesville and then-UAW Local 95 President Brad Dutcher led the effort that led to the meeting with GM.


“Afterward, they called it a serious proposal, and they said there would be further discussions,” Cullen said at the time.


Many people—GM workers included—have predicted the Janesville plant will not live longer than 2009, if it sees 2009 at all. They base those predictions on the state of the market, the expected November and December downtime and indications around the plant that suppliers and vendors have been told not to expect much if any business at GM beyond October.


Union leaders have said they were expecting the Moraine plant, located in a southern suburb of Dayton, to shut down by January or February. Messages seeking comment were left for the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communication Workers of America.


GM recently reduced operations at the factory to a single shift, eliminating 400 to 500 jobs.


The company had planned a production break in December, but Lee said Friday the plant will keep up operations until the closing date to make sure all remaining customer orders are filled.


A slumping U.S. auto market and a shift from pickups and SUVs to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles led to the shutdown plans.


The Moraine plant assembles the GMC Envoy, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Saab 9-7X. All three vehicles have seen their sales fall at least 30 percent through September, compared with the same period a year earlier.


GM turned down a $56 million tax credit and grant package from the Ohio Department of Development to keep the plant open.


The other plants GM has said it will close are Oshawa, Ontario; and Toluca, Mexico. The four closures combined will result in the loss of about 8,350 jobs.



Print Print