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General Motors to close or idle 12 more plants

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 5:04 p.m. MDT

Robert Patton, a worker at General Motors Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich., talks to the media outside the plant Monday. (Carlos Osorio, Associated Press) Robert Patton, a worker at General Motors Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich., talks to the media outside the plant Monday. (Carlos Osorio, Associated Press)

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. said Monday it will permanently close nine more plants and idle three others to trim production and labor costs under bankruptcy protection.

Six of the plants are in GM's home state of Michigan, which has already been hard-hit by job cuts in the auto industry.

GM's assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., will close in July, followed by its Pontiac, Mich., pickup truck plant in October.

Assembly plants in Spring Hill, Tenn., and Orion, Mich., will end production this fall but remain on "standby," meaning workers can be called back should the company need to increase production. One of those plants would be retooled to produce a subcompact vehicle that GM had originally planned to build in China.

Assembly line worker Melvin Matthews, right, uses a large robotic machine to install front seats in a new 2009 Chevrolet Traverse last October at the GM Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant, in Spring Hill, Tenn. (Bill Waugh, Associated Press) Assembly line worker Melvin Matthews, right, uses a large robotic machine to install front seats in a new 2009 Chevrolet Traverse last October at the GM Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant, in Spring Hill, Tenn. (Bill Waugh, Associated Press)

Todd Horton, editor of the newsletter at the Spring Hill factory's United Auto Workers local, said the 2,500 employees got the news of the shutdown Monday morning. He said the Chevrolet Traverse crossover vehicle built there will be made in Lansing, Mich., instead.

Five GM powertrain plants, which make engines and transmissions, will close by December 2010. They are in Livonia, Flint and Ypsilanti Township, Mich.; Parma, Ohio; and Fredericksburg, Va.

Parts stamping plants in Indianapolis and Mansfield, Ohio, also will close starting next year. A stamping plant in Pontiac, Mich., will shut down production by December 2010 but remain in standby status.

In addition to the closures revealed Monday, a powertrain plant in Massena, N.Y., closed May 1, and GM previously announced the closure of a Grand Rapids, Mich., stamping plant, slated to shut down this month.

GM said it will also close service and parts warehouses in Boston, Jacksonville, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, by the end of this year.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said Troy Clarke, GM's head of North American operations, informed him Sunday night that the Wilmington plant would close. GM has downsized the work force at the plant, which makes the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, over several years. GM plans to sell off Saturn and phase out its Pontiac line.

"GM has sent many strong signals for the past four years that it was leaning toward closing this plant," said the governor in a statement. "But that does not make this news any less unfortunate or soften its impact on the workers and their families."

Officials will deploy teams of workers from the state departments of labor and health and social services to help workers with training and government assistance, said the governor's spokesman, Joe Rogalsky said.

AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit and Associated Press writers Bill Poovey in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Randall Chase in Newport, Del., contributed to this report.

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