Things aren’t looking good for General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly Plant, as the longstanding factory has seen its shifts reduced in recent months due to the low demand for the Chevy Cruze. As a result, it’s launched a “Drive it Home” campaign to demonstrate the plant’s importance to the workforce, the community, and to GM, according to GM Authority.
Located almost dead center between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the plant was built in 1966 and is perhaps most famous for building Chevrolet’s small cars: the Vega, which was followed by the Cavalier, and in most recent times the popular Cruze.
With sedan sales rapidly being supplanted by crossovers, the plant that at one point had to run three shifts to meet demand has been quietly scaling back operations. Now, the plant runs just one shift and it fears not even that in the near future.
While GM CEO Mary Barra has met with both of Ohio’s senators, she has not committed to the plant’s future. The UAW chapter at Lordstown has even written a letter to president Trump asking for help (that letter has not yet been answered).
According to Barra, it would cost over $100 million to retool the plant for crossover production. This would include upgrading the assembly line as well as the paint shop. However, she will not commit to spending that money on improving the plant, which is critically important to the local economy.
Dave Green, the president of UAW Local 1112, thinks that the radio silence is proof positive that GM plans to shutter the plant soon. However, at today’s kickoff for the Drive it Home campaign, several politicians, including Senator Sherrod Brown and representatives Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson, will make an appearance and try to change GM’s mind.
“The community and local leaders have always been strong advocates for our Lordstown complex, its people and the vehicles they build,” Renee Rashid-Merem, GM corporate communications manager for global manufacturing and labor communications told The Drive via email. “As always, market dynamics and consumer preferences determine the product schedule at the plant.”
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