GM postpones 2nd shift at Hamtramck Volt plant
General Motors is delaying plans to add a second shift at its Detroit-Hamtramck Chevrolet Volt factory after finding more efficient ways to build the car.
GM had said in May it would add a total of 2,500 workers on two shifts at Detroit-Hamtramck, with the first of those shifts to start this fall. But during a six-week shutdown this summer, GM made its production line and body shop more efficient, allowing the company to make twice as many Volts in the same amount of time, a person familiar with the situation said. That will allow the factory to meet scheduled Volt production by adding only 300 workers by January.
Those 300 jobs will go to laid-off workers and potentially to a few people who transferred out of Detroit-Hamtramck in past years, the person said. GM still plans to add the additional shifts; the second shift will start by summertime, when the factory starts producing the Chevrolet Malibu. The third shift will start once Detroit-Hamtramck adds the redesigned Chevrolet Impala, likely by 2013. GM will announce hiring procedures for those shifts in the future.
Building the same number of Volts in half the time will save GM $10 million, the person said. GM has said it will build 16,000 of the extended-range electric cars this year and 60,000 next year. The automaker is seeking ways to make the vehicle profitably.
“This approach is just a more efficient way to make the same number of vehicles,” GM spokesman Chris Lee said in an e-mail. “It’s good for our business and good for our customers.”
The savings not only comes through paying fewer workers over the next several months, but GM also benefits by not having to pay energy costs to run two shifts, the knowledgeable person said. When GM shortened the plant’s assembly line, the automaker in-sourced subassembly of the Volt’s instrument panel, dashboard, steering wheel and center stack. A supplier had previously performed that work outside the plant, so building it in-house saves transportation costs.
With the new workers, Detroit-Hamtramck’s total workforce will increase to about 1,300 hourly and salaried employees.
In addition, a second shift at the Volt battery assembly plant in Brownstown Township starts Monday. GM added 30 new workers, bringing the factory’s total to 100. It will add a third shift in the middle of 2012 with an additional 30 or so people, the knowledgeable person said.
2011 Silver Volt # 3945 arrived home 6/3/11
As of 5/26/12
Percentage on Electric:97.3%
Fuel Economy:1,098 MPG
Electric Economy:28 kW-hr/100 miles
Combined Economy:xxx MPGe
Gallons Fuel Saved:916 gal verses my Jeep Liberty
Est. CO2 Avoided:9,111 lbs