Cleveland, Ohio – General Motors is extending production of one of the five North American plants it had set to close during the first half of the year, with officials saying the Detroit Hamtramck facility will continue production into January of next year.
GM drew criticism from labor leaders and politicians late last year when it announced plans to shutter the Detroit plant and facilities in Lordstown, Ohio; Oshawa, Canada; Warren, Michigan; and Baltimore, Maryland. All five plants make cars or components for cars, and as the market has shifted to SUVs and crossovers, demand for vehicles built at those facilities had plummeted.
The nation’s largest automaker still plans to close the Hamtramck plant, but officials say they wanted to ensure availability of several high-value, profitable versions of the Cadillac CT6 – the CT6-V performance version, the Blackwing Twin-Turbo V-8, and the Super Cruise with semi-autonomous driving. Production had been set to end in June.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has vowed to challenge all five plant closures this summer when GM and its workers enter contract talks. UAW President Gary Jones praised the company’s decision to extend production at the Detroit-area plant, but he adds that a short-term extension doesn’t satisfy union concerns.
“For those UAW brothers and sisters at GM Warren Transmission Operations, GM Lordstown Assembly, and in the GM GPS Baltimore plant in Maryland, let me reiterate that the UAW will leave no stone unturned in seeking to keep your plants open and we hope today’s news brings a measure of hope as we continue that important work,” Jones said. The Canadian union Unifor represents the Ottawa plant.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.