General Motors announced yesterday that about 350 hourly production workers will be temporarily laid off when its Grand River plant in Lansing slims down to a single shift.
The Lansing State Journal is reporting that the reason for the cut is “sluggish sales” of the Cadillac ATS and CTS. However, when the next-generation Camaro debuts (likely) in the fourth quarter of 2015, GM will resume the second shift.
Back in 2012, GM added a second shift and hired 600 people as part of a $190 million investment for the launch the ATS, but sales of the ATS have slumped nearly 19 percent so far this year, and the CTS is off about 2 percent. Total Cadillac sales are down nearly 5 percent so far for 2014.
In the meantime, GM will retool the assembly line so that more cars can be built on a single shift while moving about 350 workers (out of the 700 from the second shift) to the first shift, according to GM spokeswoman Erin Davis.
Salaried workers won’t be affected by the layoff, but hourly employees will be laid off based on seniority, with most being newer hires who earn about $16 per hour. According to the United Auto Workers union, GM must fill job openings first with laid-off workers before hiring outside applicants.
Cadillac is currently overhauling its marketing plan as the brand develops strategies for competing against some very strong German brands. Says Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell, “They’re going eye-to-eye with European cars, and that’s not an easy fight.”