DETROIT -- General Motors plans to idle its Chevrolet Cruze assembly plant for one week later this month amid cooling sales of the compact car.
GM will take down its Lordstown, Ohio, plant the week of Nov. 28, GM spokesman Chris Lee said. Production will resume the week of Dec. 5.
After months of tight stockpiles, Cruze inventory shot up to a 73-day supply as of Nov. 1, from 43 days on Oct. 1, as sales eased, according to the Automotive News Data Center. GM has cited seasonal factors for the slower sales.
"With the traditional seasonal behavior in terms of sales, we don't want to overproduce," Lee said. He said the 70-day supply is "not a bad place to be."
The downtime is meant to allow supply to catch up with demand for the Cruze.
U.S. sales for the compact totaled 14,295 in October, the first time monthly sales dropped below 18,000 since January. For five straight months through September, the Cruze had been the top-selling U.S. compact car, as Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic sales sagged.
The drop in Cruze sales has coincided with replenishing inventories of the Corolla and Civic. Sales of those rival vehicles sank sharply because of parts shortages in the months following the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
"The scheduling modification is attributed to traditional seasonal buying behavior coupled with competitors' recovering inventories previously impacted by the March earthquake in Japan," according to a notice on the Web site of UAW Local 1714, which represents workers at the Lordstown plant.
For months, the Lordstown plant has been running three shifts, along with a Saturday shift on most weeks.
Through October, GM's Cruze sales totaled 201,819.
"Historically, GM would overproduce at a time like this, and they're not doing that," said Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1714. "That's a good thing."