Saturn Corp. is cutting the output of its new L-series family sedan and wagon for the third time this year because of slow-moving inventory. As the $1.2 billion venture to enter the mid-sized segment continues to ramp up, Saturn will reduce the cars' Wilmington, Del., plant to a single work shift.
At the same time, Saturn also will cut back production at its small-car plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The plant will change from a three-shift operation to a two-shift schedule on Saturday, April 1. That effectively will reduce production to 80 hours a week, from 120 hours a week currently.
Wilmington will operate on a single shift until May 25. The plant's two existing shifts will take turns working the one shift.
Saturn introduced the mid-sized products last July. But faced with stiff competition and low sales, Saturn began regrouping early this year, creating a new advertising strategy to promote the cars.
Dealers reported this month that the new strategy has helped fan sales. But the remodeled Delaware plant continues to outpace market demand.
North American car and truck production reached 4 million on Monday, March 20, three days earlier than last year.
U.S. car production reached 2 million on Friday, March 24, three days earlier than in 1999.