GM Lordstown nears switch to Cobalt production

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Thread: GM Lordstown nears switch to Cobalt production

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    GMI Contributor Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    GM Lordstown nears switch to Cobalt production that saved plant
    Associated Press



    LORDSTOWN, Ohio - A changeover to making the new Chevrolet Cobalt at General Motors' northeast Ohio plant will mean fewer workers and more flexibility for employees' job roles. The changes were the difference between life and death for the Lordstown Assembly Plant, a key employer for the Youngtown-Warren area in northeast Ohio.

    "Everything is going very smoothly right now," Jim Graham, UAW Local 1112 president, said Wednesday, anticipating the start of Cobalt production Oct 18.

    GM has not disclosed how many workers will be making the Cobalt at the plant about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland, but Graham said the union expects about 3,000 to 3,200.

    The plant now has about 3,600 workers still making Cavaliers, he said.

    Several hundred will not initially be involved in Cobalt production but still will be paid by participating in a "job bank," in which they will train to be able to step in and handle various jobs, Graham said.

    An adjacent metal-stamping plant, which makes body panels, has about 1,700 hourly workers now. UAW Local 1714 President Kaster said it will need about 1,000 workers for the Cobalt.

    Chevrolet hopes to sell 230,000 to 250,000 Cobalts a year, with the split about even between the sedan and coupe styles of the small car.

    "GM Lordstown is undergoing a cultural change. There will be a difference in how the product is built because the work force will be more engaged. If an issue comes up we want them to help us solve the problem," GM spokesman Dan Flores said.

    Until the union found out for sure in 2002 that GM would build a newly designed car at Lordstown, workers did not know whether company wanted to continue any work there once production of the Cavalier ended in 2004. The Cobalt saved the plant from having to shut down, but Graham said he always had faith that there would be work available.

    "The thought (of the plant closing) never crossed my mind even in the dark days," he said. "I had full confidence in the work force. The membership can compete with anybody in the world."

    GM Lordstown years ago had a reputation for tough unionism at odds with management.

    "We are older now, and we realized that the company has to make a profit," Kaster said. "We are more quality-conscious and more mature."

    The old assembly line is not being replaced. But GM is spending about $1 billion on the plant, with major expenditures including $162 million for a new shop to paint the vehicles and an improved body shop, which welds pieces together.

    Flores said GM is putting its "Global Manufacturing System" in the Lordstown plant, the production model using teams of workers and interchanging jobs.

    Article Here


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  3. #2
    7.0 Liter LS7 V8 dindak's Avatar
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    This car can't come fast enough.

    Too bad GM wasn't up and running now. It sure could use the sales boost!

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    2.8 Liter Turbocharged V6 cemaxc's Avatar
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    I agree that this car can't come fast enough.

    That is also one great looking interior, for a GM product.
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    4.6 Liter Northstar V8 Premium Member paul3230's Avatar
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    Yeah, GM is really needing a serious shot in the arm in this area, but nice to say, I think the Cobalt series really addresses GM's weakness. The competition has to be just a little worried. I would.

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    I argee with paul3230.Gm does need a new compact car and it needs it fast.But you know how slow GM is about bringing a new product to the market.You can't get no slower.

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    Originally posted by dindak@Sep 1 2004, 11:16 PM
    This car can't come fast enough.

    Too bad GM wasn't up and running now. It sure could use the sales boost!
    I echo the sentiment wholeheartedly.

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    Originally posted by diablo4@Sep 1 2004, 06:31 PM
    I argee with paul3230.Gm does need a new compact car and it needs it fast.But you know how slow GM is about bringing a new product to the market.You can't get no slower.
    GM has been no slower than any other brand with new products. The Solstice should be enough proof.

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    Originally posted by laserwizard@Sep 2 2004, 01:47 AM
    The plant that built the vega is now building the cobore. Way to go, GM.
    I guess after the Vega, the plant should have been torn down and the earth salted so that nothing would grow there ever again.

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    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 TiburonJT's Avatar
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    The only reason that GM seems to be so slow about bringing vehicles to market is that they announce their products so far in advance. I mean the Solstice was on the cover of Car and Driver a long long time ago. I just wonder if that's a smart marketing strategy.

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    I agree too, this car can't come fast enough. Is the Lordstown plant the only plant producing the Cobalt? What about the Pursuit clone?

    PS. I just saw an Equinox today, coming out early in the morning. The car really caught my eye. It had a good exhaust note too, like a burbly pushrod, not a groany one... Reminded me a lil of the Infinity G35 coupe...

    Ah maybe not, but it sounded good. Must be the 5 speed auto.

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    Originally posted by Dumb_Ass_2003+Sep 2 2004, 01:55 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Dumb_Ass_2003 @ Sep 2 2004, 01:55 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-diablo4@Sep 1 2004, 06:31 PM
    I argee with&nbsp; paul3230.Gm does need a new compact car and it needs it fast.But you know how slow GM is about bringing a new product to the market.You can&#39;t get no slower.
    GM has been no slower than any other brand with new products. The Solstice should be enough proof. [/b][/quote]
    I have also been waiting for the Solstice but i&#39;m getting impatient.

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    Sorry, but I think the Solstice is proof that GM is still SLOW to the market. The concept car came out in Jan 2002. The production car was shown in Jan 2004. We will not see this car at the dealers until September 2005. That&#39;s a 3.5 year turnaround from concept to production. GM started working on the engineering and business case right after the Jan 2002 auto show. The car uses an off the shelf engine and tranny. The platform is new and exciting, but 3.5 years is no new benchmark in the industry.

    GM will invariably tout how fast they got this to market and twist the numbers with some meaningless internal measurements. GM and GM appologists will say this is a new platform and this justifies the time. Whatever, it&#39;s still too long in my book.

    Mark

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    Originally posted by laserwizard@Sep 2 2004, 01:47 AM
    The plant that built the vega is now building the cobore. Way to go, GM.
    You&#39;re not superstitious Laser, are you? Otherwise, I don&#39;t follow your comment.

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    I don&#39;t see anyone else bringing a muscle car to the market in under a year or production.

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