GM to operate Louisiana pickup plant until August ’12

GM to operate Louisiana pickup plant until August ’12
Craig Trudell
Automotive News | October 28, 2011 – 12:49 pm EST

DETROIT (Bloomberg) — General Motors Co. will keep open until August 2012 the mid-sized pickup plant in Louisiana that it set for closure as part of a new four-year labor contract with the UAW.

The Shreveport, La., factory that builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks will close on Aug. 23, GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said today.

The closure date is dependent on pickup orders by dealers and customers, she said.

In the United States, Colorado sales are up 30 percent to 23,985 this year through September, and Canyon demand has climbed 35 percent to 7,634 units. Overall U.S. light vehicle sales are up 10 percent this year.

The Shreveport site is the only assembly plant that the automaker and United Auto Workers agreed would shut as part of their contract ratified Sept. 28.

GM confirmed it will continue selling the Colorado pickup, which is smaller than its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, in an Oct. 10 statement.

The UAW has said the company agreed to build midsize trucks in its Wentzville, Missouri, factory that makes full-size vans.

The UAW planned to continue pushing GM to postpone the closure of Shreveport and find stamping or other work outside of assembling vehicles, said Joe Ashton, the union’s vice president for GM relations.

“That’s probably the saddest part of this whole set of negotiations, to see any plant close,” Ashton told reporters at a Sept. 20 briefing in Detroit.

GM agreed to keep its plant in Janesville, Wis., on standby as part of the contract, according to the UAW.

The accord ratified by 48,500 members calls for GM to invest $2.5 billion through four years, reopen a factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and add or retain jobs at six other plants.

GM will add a shift at the Wentzville van factory for midsize trucks and boost output in Michigan at two powertrain plants and a casting factory, the union said. GM also committed to continue building trucks in Fort Wayne, Ind., where workers make Silverado and Sierra pickups.

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