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GM to Close 13 Plants for Nine Weeks in May, June, July

General Motors Corporation (GM) has confirmed that it will be shutting down 13 North American factories for up to nine weeks, most from mid-May through mid-July, on varied schedules depending on the facility. The company says the closures will include regularly scheduled one- or two-week closures in the summer months at some factories. "We're taking aggressive steps to accelerate our inventory initiatives that have worked well since the first of the year," says Troy Clarke, GM North America president. "While sales have been performing at or close to our plan estimates, and dealer inventories have been reduced accordingly, we want to more closely align inventories with even more conservative market assumptions. By reducing our inventories even more aggressively, we reduce pressure on GM and our dealers, and set ourselves up well for a clean 2010 model year startup." The company says the action does not affect plants that manufacture the new, about-to-be-launched products: the Chevrolet Camaro plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; and the Buick LaCrosse plant in Fairfax, Kansas. Laid-off workers covered under the United Auto Workers (UAW) contract would make approximately 70 percent of their regular salaries during the closure period, a combination of state unemployment benefits and union funds.

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