Arlington GM Plant Survives Cuts

Carmaker hopes to emerge from bankruptcy leaner, stronger

General Motors Corp. revealed Monday that it will permanently close nine more plants and idle three others as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy a smaller, stronger company.

GM's Arlington plant, which makes the GMC Denali, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade, is not among the plants closing.

At a union office near the plant, local UAW leaders expressed relief, but said they still face an uphill fight. 

"The overall economy has to improve and people have to go out and spend some money for us to get some job security," said J.R. Flores, president of UAW Local 276. 

The owner of the largest GM dealership in North Texas said the bankruptcy will provide customers with a sense of certainty about the company's future.

"Really, nothing has changed," said Tom Durant of Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine. "We're looking forward to being part of the new GM. I think this is going to make us stronger and better in the long run."

GM said plant closures will displace up to 20,000 employees and trim down GM's factory count in the United States from 47 at the end of last year to 34 by the end of next year.

Six of the plants are in GM's home state of Michigan, which is already reeling from auto-industry job cuts. The shutdowns start with an assembly plant in Delaware, which will close before the summer's over. It will be followed by a Pontiac, Mich., pickup plant in October.

Nearly all GM plants were scheduled to shut down for up to 11 weeks this summer as a cost-cutting measure.

The once-mighty corporate giant whose brands were household names and plants the lifeblood of many U.S. communities filed its Chapter 11 petition in New York Monday. It marks the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and the largest for an industrial company.

The new GM will be a leaner and quicker company that's more focused on its customers and its products, General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson said during a news conference. 

GM currently has 235,000 employees; and as recently as 1979, the company employed more than 600,000 Americans. The new GM will have approximately 63,00 employees.

The restructured GM will be smaller than Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., which despite all its recent downsizing, still employs nearly 85,000 people, but will be larger than Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which employs approximately 35,000 people.
In terms of employee numbers, the new GM will be 10 percent of its former self.
President Barack Obama said it is part of a "viable achievable plan" that will give the company "a chance to rise again."

Henderson said the new GM will be built from the strongest parts of its business, including its best brands and best products.

The company plans to focus on four core brands -- Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC -- and get rid of four others -- Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab.

For now, the plants that will be shuttered are still churning out cars. GM's VP of manufacturing said it was "business as usual" on Monday.

Click here to see the full list of impacted U.S. GM plants.

Scott Friedman and Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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