GM to idle Chevy Volt plant for 4 weeks in September, October
Automotive News has reported that two unnamed sources who are familiar with the matter have indicated that The Detroit Hamtramck plant will go idle starting on Monday September 17th with production expected to kick back off on October 15th. Evidently, local UAW officials notified the 1,500 workers at Hamtramck late last week that they would be getting 4 weeks of unplanned vacation starting in the middle of September.
Unfortunately, General Motors has simply stated that they do not comment on production schedules but the GM rep added “We continue to match supply and demand.” Based on that and the UAW announcement to the Hamtramck workers; it would lead us to believe that GM has an adequate number of new Volt electric sedans already built to fulfill the current demand. Provided that is true, it is good to see General Motors slowing production when it is not needed as “old GM” was frequently criticized for over-producing models when there was not enough demand. Having completed vehicles sitting around, going unsold, hurts the bottom line so a short period of downtime like this will allow GM to burn through their current stock of new Volts. Also, for those folks who like to gripe about the government "bailout" loans, this move shows that GM isn't wasting money building vehicles that they don't need right away.
While downtime is always a bad thing as the workers lose out on a portion of their pay, things are getting progressively better at the Hamtramck and will continue to do so in 2013. Through 2012, the Chevrolet Volt has seen much stronger sales figures than 2011 and in doing so – the Volt has vastly outsold the Nissan Leaf in 2012. Through the end of July, 10,666 Volts had left the dealership en route to a consumer’s garage while Nissan had delivered just 3,543 examples of their Leaf EV. In addition to the Volt, the Hamtramck plant currently provides some overflow production for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu (in low volumes) and starting in the first quarter of 2013, Hamtramck will add a second shift to build the new 2014 Chevrolet Impala.