GM to idle Orion plant

March 17, 2009

Auto news briefs: GM to idle Orion plant

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GM to idle Orion plant

General Motors Corp. will temporarily close a midsize-car factory near Pontiac for three weeks because of lower demand for its products, a company spokesman said Monday.

GM’s Orion Township plant, which makes the Pontiac G6 and Chevrolet Malibu, will close the weeks of March 30, April 6 and April 13 to "align production with market demand," spokesman Chris Lee said.

The factory has about 3,200 hourly workers who will get state unemployment benefits and supplemental pay from the company that total about 85% of their base pay.

The closure is specific to the Orion plant’s products and not part of a larger company production cut, Lee said.

GM sales so far this year are down 51% compared with the first two months of last year.

The Malibu has been one of GM’s better-selling models, but its sales have been off 21% amid the worst U.S. sales market in 27 years. G6 sales are down 66%. U.S. auto sales overall were down 39% through February.

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