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GM will close two SUV plants by end of 2008

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The Saab 9-7X is one of the vehicles made at the Moraine, OH plant that will close Dec. 23

The Saab 9-7X is one of the vehicles made at the Moraine, OH plant that will close Dec. 23

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Cutting back on SUV and pickup truck production while shifting focus to smaller and mid-size cars means some reallocation of the workload among General Motors' North American factories. While many factories are just changing what they do, some will have to be closed to align with the new face of the auto market, and the next on the list is the Janesville, Wisconsin SUV plant, which will shut its doors by the end of the year.

Earlier plans had the plant closing by 2010 anyway, but the tough market through September has forced GM to move up its timetable. The closure will put 1,200 UAW workers out of their jobs when the operation shuts down December 23. The plant has been used to make GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban SUVs.

Another plant in Moraine, Ohio, where the GMC Envoy, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Saab 9-7X are built, will face a similar fate. The plant there had also been slated for a 2010 shutdown, but was moved forward due to the worsening market conditions.

Looking further into the future, GM also plans to cut its Grand Rapids, Michigan, stamping plant by the end of 2009. In operation for the past 73 years, the plant today mainly stamps parts for GM's SUV lineup. The plant closures are all part of GM's ongoing restructuring plan for its North American business, involving a $10 billion cost-cutting program and raising $5 billion in cash. With revenues dropping through the floor on the weakest market in recent memory, however, cutting costs is easier - and quicker - than boosting revenues, and GM has taken to the task with vigor.
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