General Motors is reportedly extending its cutback of car production at its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant until May 28 amid sharp declines in North American car sales.
The plant builds the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala. Earlier this year, it also began final production on unfinished Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup bodies shipped to Oshawa from Fort Wayne, Ind.
GM stopped production of the XTS and Impala at the plant for three weeks in January before starting production again on one shift per day, instead of the two it had previously operated on.
The automaker, which had previously said the one-shift operation would last through the first quarter, is extending the cutback through May 28, according to a report in The Globe and Mail, citing a memo sent to Unifor members.
The move comes amid a weakening market for cars in the United States and Canada, where pickups and utility vehicles have been gaining momentum. Sales of the XTS in the U.S. dipped 27 percent from a year earlier to 16,275 units in 2017, according to the Automotive News Data Center, while Impala sales fell 22 percent to 75,877 units. Canadian deliveries of both vehicles rose last year, though not by enough to offset declines in the United States.
GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright would not confirm any details on Oshawa production, though she acknowledged the automaker is adjusting to meet changes in the marketplace.
As “market demand shifts from cars to trucks, we are aligning our production schedules accordingly,” Wright said in a statement to Automotive News Canada. “Employment levels are expected to be retained.”
A voicemail left for Unifor Local 222 President Colin James was not immediately returned. Local 222 represents about 2,570 workers at the Oshawa plant.
GM is expected to ramp up production of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks later this year. The plant began final assembly and painting on pickup bodies shipped from GM’s Fort Wayne line in January.
The pickup production was secured as part of a four-year labor contract reached with Unifor in 2016. The pickup production replaces assembly of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover on the plant’s consolidated line, which GM retooled for about $500 million. The XTS and Impala are built on the plant’s flex line.