DETROIT -- General Motors will cut about 900 jobs early next year at a pickup plant in Pontiac, Mich., in a move underscoring sagging demand for some of its most profitable vehicles.
Some of the affected workers, who account for almost 20 percent of the plant's work force, could be offered jobs at other GM plants, the automaker said Wednesday.
Detroit automakers have cut tens of thousands of jobs in recent years as they face mounting competition from foreign rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp., which has scored huge gains in U.S. market share.
GM will cut a third shift at the plant in January, which builds the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickups, spokesman Stefan Weinmann said.
"It's really a market-driven decision so that we can better align our production output with current demand and also what we see for future demand," Weinmann said.
The pickups are two of GM's top-selling vehicles, but both of the trucks are aging and face competition from newer models. This month, GM launched an incentive program called Truckfest that included as much as $2,500 cash back on many of its 2005 model-year pickups.
Weinmann said GM would discuss with the United Auto Workers union the possibility of placing some of the workers at other plants. Terms of the union contract prevent GM from permanently laying off workers. Typically, the laid off workers receive 95 percent of their take-home pay from government unemployment benefits and supplemental pay.
The job cuts follow last week's financial results when GM posted the first quarterly loss in its core automotive business since strikes effectively shut its North American operations for most of the third quarter of 1998.
GM last week said it would cut up to 12,000 jobs in Europe, where the automaker has lost money since 1999 and grapples with growing competition from Asian automakers, weak European economies and high labor costs.