GM to cut 1 shift each at 4 factories

April 28, 2008 1:46:25 PM PDT
General Motors Corp. said Monday it plans to cut one shift at four North American factories that make pickup trucks and big sport utility vehicles, laying off about 3,500 workers. The world's largest automaker said the cuts are due to sagging sales, brought on by high gasoline prices and an economic downturn.

GM said the cuts will affect pickup factories in Pontiac and Flint, Mich., and Oshawa, Ontario, as well as the full-size SUV plant in Janesville, Wis.

The company said the cuts mean it will make about 88,000 fewer pickups and 50,000 fewer big SUVs this calendar year.

GM said the exact number of layoffs will be worked out with its unions. Workers will get unemployment benefits and supplemental pay that total 80 percent of their normal 40-hour gross pay, said GM spokesman Dan Flores.

"With rising fuel prices, a softening economy and a downward trend on current and future market demand for full-sized trucks, a significant adjustment was needed to align our production with market realities," GM North America President Troy Clarke said in a statement.

For about the past three years, the U.S. auto market has been shifting away from pickup trucks and SUVs to cars and crossover vehicles, but the trend accelerated in recent months due to gas prices that have reached $3.60 per gallon, on average.

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