GM to Offer Buyouts to All Hourly Employees

General Motors Corp. will offer buyouts to all of its hourly employees, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday, as the troubled automaker continues to slash costs.

GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said the buyouts will mainly target GM's 22,000 retirement-eligible hourly employees, though any union employee can take the offer.

The package will affect all employees at the GM Assembly Plant in Arlington, a plant spokeswoman said. Employees will get details on the offer on Friday, she said.

News of the buyouts first broke on Monday. A union official told The Associated Press then that GM would offer $20,000 in cash and a $25,000 car voucher for workers who retire early and those who simply leave the company. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, because workers were not yet notified of the packages.

Sapienza confirmed that the offer will consist of a car voucher and a one-time cash payment, though declined to offer more details. However, he said the latest offer would be less generous than previous buyouts.

Sapienza said employees will have until March 24 to decide whether to accept a buyout. Employees who accept the buyout will leave the company by April 1.

The buyouts are the latest round of cost-cutting measures by GM, which is racing to piece together a plan for returning to viability by the middle of the month.

The company reported its U.S. sales dropped 49 percent in January over last year, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday. GM attributed much of the decline to an 80 percent reduction in fleet sales. Retail sales were down 38 percent for the month. GM's market share held steady compared to December, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Shares of GM fell 4 cents, or 1.4 percent, to end at $2.85.

In January, Chrysler sales were down 55 percent, Ford was down 40 percent, Toyota was down 31.7 percent and Nissan sales were down 29.7 percent, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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