GM may reopen some factories
General Motors Company may reopen some shuttered factories because it can't produce certain vehicles fast enough, its North American president said Monday.
Mark Reuss told reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that plants building the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles and the Buick LaCrosse sedan are at capacity and can't satisfy demand.
Reuss mentioned an idle factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee, but stopped short of saying any plants would be reopened.
He said if he does his job right and restores faith in the GM brands, the company could hire workers again. In the short term, he said the company will try to raise output at existing plants.
14 factories closed
The Terrain and Equinox are made at a factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, while the LaCrosse is built in Kansas City, Kansas. The SRX is made in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
Reuss said he will meet with GM's manufacturing and sales executives next week to see if they can figure out how to squeeze more vehicles out of the existing plants for the short term.
For the long term, he said he doesn't like GM to have factories idle. The company has closed 14 factories in the past year as it struggled through bankruptcy protection, and it has placed the idle Spring Hill and Janesville, Wisconsin, plants on standby in case they are needed.
"We've got some plants that I'd like to allocate product to," Reuss said, adding that Spring Hill was a very good factory that is versatile enough to build several models.
Reuss also said GM has finished tweaking the Chevrolet Cruze compact car and is ready to begin producing it at the factory in Lordstown, Ohio. Last month, he said the production schedule had been stopped while engineers worked out transmission shifting and other driving dynamics issues with the car.
The Cruze, due out later this year, is a key product for GM as it tries to re-enter the growing small-car market with a more competitive product.