Workers and employees were told three months ago about General Motors’ decision to reallocate funds from the Orion assembly, to the Fairfax, Kansas plant, according to The Detroit Free Press. Originally, GM announced $245 million being pumped into Orion for an undisclosed new vehicle program.
“They told us two or three months ago,” said Luis Rocha, president of UAW Local 5960.
Asked what reasons the company offered in explanation, Rocha said, “Just business needs.”
“This decision was part of our ongoing product allocation process to build vehicles as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our customers and the business,” said GM spokeswoman Dayna Hart. “The $245-million investment will go to Fairfax for the new vehicle program.”
This leaves Orion with the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic, Buick Verano and the upcoming 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV for its assembly lines.
“Our one shift is staying pretty busy with all the preparation for the Bolt,” Rocha said. “We’re working two Saturdays on and two Saturdays off right now. We’re staying optimistic that something else will be coming our way sometime soon.”
GM has recently cut back shifts at Orion due to dismal sales of its smaller vehicles, the Sonic and Verano in particular. Currently, 950 hourly and 150 salaried employees work at the assembly plant.
The news aligns with rumors of the upcoming Cadillac XT3 crossover heading to the Fairfax assembly, and bolsters the news from the original investment announcement, when it was reported the new vehicle program was to be a Cadillac crossover.