GM Plant Closures Signal Product Shift


Now that it’s operating under bankruptcy protection, GM has ramped up the scheduled plant closures it had previously announced. Four assembly plants will be closed this year, impacting current products.

The least surprising closure is the Wilmington, Del., plant that produces the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice roadsters and coupes. It’s also the most immediate, shutting down in July of this year. The 2010 Pontiac Solstice coupe just went into production at the plant, and company officials have said only 1,000 will be produced. One is already sold to GM executive Bob Lutz, meaning there are only 999 available.

The other three assembly plants and what they build are listed below.

The Orion, Mich., plant, which builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 sedans, is set to be put on standby, as is the Spring Hill, Tenn., assembly plant that produces the popular Chevrolet Traverse crossover. While the G6 is being canceled along with the rest of the Pontiac lineup, the Malibu is also built at other plants, as is the Traverse’s crossover siblings from GMC and Buick.

GM says one of the two plants put on standby will be retrofitted to produce a new small car, likely the Chevy Spark. No manufacturer currently builds subcompacts in the U.S., including Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.

The other plant that will be completely closed is one in Pontiac, Mich., that builds the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups.

Eleven other stamping, powertrain and parts plants will close by the end of 2010, with another closing by the end of 2011. They reside in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and Florida.  

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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