General Motors to Shut 13 Plants for 'Multiple Weeks'

The reduced schedule will drop production by 190,000 vehicles.

General Motors said Thursday it will shut down 13 North American plants over several weeks this year to align auto production with weaker demand. The struggling Detroit auto giant said in a statement that "due to certain business developments, it is scheduling multiple down weeks at 13 assembly operations in North America." This will reduce production by some 190,000 vehicles in the second and early third quarter of this year, GM said. Without offering a detailed schedule, GM said the shutdowns "are staggered and vary in duration, based on current inventory levels and expected demand for the products." "Dealer vehicle inventories are at high levels, given the current depressed market," the company statement said. "The shutdown will allow GM the opportunity to bring production in line with current market demand." GM said another factor in the shutdowns is the "possible production implications of the complicated and difficult negotiations with Delphi," its former parts subsidiary, which is in bankruptcy court. "We're taking aggressive steps to accelerate our inventory initiatives that have worked well since the first of the year," said GM North America President Troy Clarke. "While sales have been performing at or close to our plan estimates, and dealer inventories have been reduced accordingly, we want to more closely align inventories with even more conservative market assumptions. "By reducing our inventories even more aggressively we reduce pressure on GM and our dealers, and set ourselves up well for a clean 2010 model year start-up," Clarke added. The embattled auto firm, which is set to receive $5 billion on top of the $13.4 billion in loans already received from the U.S. government, is working on a 60-day deadline provided by the White House to come up with a new viability plan or face bankruptcy. President Barack Obama's administration has given GM until June 1 to present an aggressive restructuring plan, after the government rejected its previous proposals in late March. The firm has said it wants to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection, but is preparing for it nevertheless. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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