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GM Plant in Lordstown, Ohio, Begins Its Makeover for Chevrolet Cobalt
Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio - January 16, 2004

Motor Trend

Workers returning to their jobs at the Lordstown Assembly Plant after two weeks of training will find much has changed.

Construction crews descended on the General Motors plant over the holidays and started a large part of the remodeling needed for the launch of the Chevrolet Cobalt in October.

Meanwhile, workers are being trained off-site on new production methods. When they begin returning Tuesday night, their work stations will have changed a great deal, said Maureen Midgley, plant manager.

Platform levels where they do their work will be different. Locations of tools will be changed, and there are new ways for materials to be delivered. Some areas have new robotic equipment.

The remodeling being done this month amounts to between one-third and one half of the total construction to be done in the original plant, Midgley said. That estimate doesn't include the new paint shop being built, which is a large part of the total cost.

GM is spending about $1 billion to upgrade the assembly plant and adjacent fabrication plant. In announcing the project in 2002, GM said it would spend $550 million, but Midgley said that didn't include all parts of the work.

Production of Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires has been shut down since the holidays but will restart slowly next week to give workers time to adjust to the changes that have been made, she said.

The plant will produce only 50 cars on each of the three shifts next week. After a couple months, the plant should be up to full speed at about 430 cars a shift, Midgley said.

But the chief concern is maintaining quality, she said.

For example, employees will have time to give input on how they think their work stations can be run more efficiently, she said.

"We're going to build a few and then talk," said Midgley, who met with reporters Thursday along with Ben Strickland, shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 1112.

Strickland said quick communication will be the key to a smooth restart of the line. Union officials will meet with management to try to resolve any concerns so that official grievances don't have to be filed.

Strickland, who has been the local's lead negotiator for a year, said he and management have had success in talking through concerns and he expects that to continue. Using the grievance procedure is too slow because months usually pass before disagreements are resolved, he said.

Much construction work is yet to be completed.

The paint shop still is under construction and won't be completed until next year. The Cobalt and Pontiac Pursuit, which will be sold only in Canada, will use the current paint shop until the new one is ready. Areas that won't be completed until later this year include the body shop, door line and ****pit line.

The body shop will have a new way of putting together the sheet metal of the cars to provide better quality, Midgley said. For example, gaps between the hood and side of the car will be 3 millimeters, compared to 5 millimeters with the Cavalier. The new system requires new equipment that is being installed adjacent to the current body shop.

He said the plant will shut down for a week about the end of September to prepare for the Cobalt launch. Exact dates haven't been confirmed, he said.

The four-door sedan will be built first, but production on the two-door coupe will start soon after, Midgley said. Dealers are asking for the Cobalt SS coupe, which has a supercharged engine, so the plant intends to build 2,000 of them by the end of the year.

At full production, the plant will produce about 320,000 cars a year. GM hasn't released sales goals for the Cobalt and Pursuit.

Full Article Here

 

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Good old Lordstown assembly....home of the Vega! Hopefully though this will be a great little car, I like the car very much, especially the coupe.
 

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My first post as a registered member. I do hope the line is successful and gives merit to GM quality.
Here, here, Coffee.

when did they say they will start hitting dealers?
By this info, late October-early November. The cool thing is that the SS-SC coupes have been moved up.

You might be horrified, BigAl, but I'll be posting soon on my traumatizing internal debate, as I consider trading for an SS-C or SS-SC.

Ghrankenstein
 

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Originally posted by Ghrankenstein@Jan 20 2004, 05:55 AM
My first post as a registered member. I do hope the line is successful and gives merit to GM quality.
Here, here, Coffee.

when did they say they will start hitting dealers?
By this info, late October-early November. The cool thing is that the SS-SC coupes have been moved up.

You might be horrified, BigAl, but I'll be posting soon on my traumatizing internal debate, as I consider trading for an SS-C or SS-SC.

Ghrankenstein
SS-C SS-SC? and trading the 4th gen in for one?
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Jan 17 2004, 06:26 PM
The Cobalt and Pontiac Pursuit, which will be sold only in Canada
Did anyone else catch that?
 

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Originally posted by Ghrankenstein@Jan 20 2004, 12:55 AM
You might be horrified, BigAl, but I'll be posting soon on my traumatizing internal debate, as I consider trading for an SS-C or SS-SC.

Ghrankenstein
I might be doing the same... but i'm not about to get rid of my Z28 for a Cobalt. It'll be the daily driver Grand Am for the supercharged SS. :)
 
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