The market trends show American’s undying enthusiasms for crossover vehicles, especially as the latest compact CUV trend takes over. Think Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax sized vehicles stealing the heart’s and wallets of today’s new-vehicle shopper.
There are casualties to be had, however. Sales of the Chevrolet Sonic have tumbled 35-percent year-to-date, and the Buick Verano has trailed closely behind, falling 27.2-percent year-to-date. The Detroit News reports General Motors has made a final decision to cut a shift at the Orion assembly plant, home to both vehicles.
“It’s very unfortunate we’re losing a bunch of great workers, great people who are going to be gone awhile,” UAW Local 5960 President Louis Rocha said. The local represents hourly workers at Orion Assembly.
GM says it remains confidant it will be able to shift workers to the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly, which recently announced it will add a second shift, encompassing 1,200 new jobs.
Doug Hanly, Orion Plant Manager, regrets the decision, but understands the needs to keep pace with a changing market demand.
“We are facing the realities of sales volumes for our Chevrolet Sonics and Buick Veranos in a market that continues to shift heavily towards trucks and crossovers … Let me assure you, the unfortunate decision to operate on one shift is purely driven by the market demand of our current products.”
The remaining shift at the Orion assembly will increase its line speed to maximize efficiency and capacity.
Rocha remains optimistic for the future of Orion, however, knowing the plant will be home to the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, and an all-new vehicle program, rumored to be a compact Cadillac crossover with EV technology.
“We’ve shown them, and have proven to them, we can be very successful in building a small car,” he said.