DETROIT -- General Motors is cutting the work force at its Saturn assembly complex in Spring Hill, Tenn., because of weakening demand for the brand's Ion car, a company source said Thursday.
He said one of three work crews on the Ion assembly line will be eliminated effective Sept. 7. As many as 400 workers, or about 7 percent of the complex's 5,600-strong work force, will be affected by the move.
A no-layoff clause in the autoworkers' labor contract prevents any outright move to cut their jobs through the end of the year.
But the source said an early retirement or attrition package was expected to entice most of the workers into leaving voluntarily.
"We can't lay anyone off right now," he said.
"We hope that this attrition package will be attractive enough ... so that we won't even have to worry about the whole layoff issue next year," he said.
Ion sales have fallen 10 percent year to date and were off a steep 18 percent in July.
GM's board decided this month to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the Spring Hill complex as it prepares to produce a new Ion and Saturn Vue SUV.