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GM Extends Shutdown At Two Plants As Car Sales Plunge

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General Motors world headquarters are seen before GM CEO Mary Barra addresses the media ahead of the start of GM’s annual shareholders meeting at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

By Ted Goodman
General Motors will extend a regularly scheduled two-week shutdown at two American-based car manufacturing plants in response to a dramatic plunge in mid-size sedan sales.

The Lordstown, Ohio plant near Cleveland, and the Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan. will remain closed for as many as five weeks this summer, according to CNBC.

American consumers are opting for pickup tucks and SUVs instead of the midsize family sedan. Car sales fell 9.6 percent in 2016, and declined 11.5 percent in March 2017 compared to March 2016 according to the Los Angeles Times. Small truck sales increased at the same time.

The Fairfax plant builds the Chevrolet Malibu, and the Lordstown plan is home tot he Chevrolet Cruze. The closing comes as light truck, SUV and cross over sales continue to increase at a faster pace than small cars and mid sized sedans.

Auto manufacturers cannot respond immediately to shifting consumer demands. Companies prepare years in advanced for production of its cars and trucks. General Motors isn’t alone in its struggle to adapt to the consumer.

“We’ve had times where a car market has been 67 percent to 35 percent, you know, two-thirds, one-third car to truck,” Jack Hollis, chief marketer for Toyota, told NPR in Feb. “It’s reversed now.”

Toyota is especially experiencing some growing pains in the U.S. market as it increases SUV and crossover production. The Toyota Camry has been the best selling car in America for a decade, but the company has been working diligently to ramp up SUV production.

The Lordstown plant has about 3,000 hourly and salaried workers, and the Fairfax plant has about 3,500 workers according to CNBC.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to General Motors for comment and did not hear back by press time.

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