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GM to Lay Off 160 at Lake Orion in 2015.
Detroit Free Press
November 11, 2014
By: Greg Gardner


General Motors will begin laying off up to 160 workers at the Orion Township assembly plant in January to balance production more closely with expected sales.

Today about 1,900 hourly and salaried workers produce two small cars, the Chevrolet Sonic and the Buick Verano. Sonic sales fell 23% in October from a year earlier, but are up nearly 9% through the first 10 months of the year.

Verano sales slipped 7% in October and are about 6% below last year's pace for the 10-month period.

"We'll be having a phased layoff beginning in January and conclude by the the end of 2015," said Chris Bonelli, a GM spokesman for the plant. These will be permanent layoffs, but the actual number could be reduced by planned retirements and general attrition.

Full article available at link.
 

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So Sonic sales are good YOY and Verano needs a mild refresh. GM's answer - layoffs and reduced capacity!!

The Sonic can stay a good seller with some content increases and special models. If GM made a LT1 level Sonic Sport with alloy rims, fog lights, and the Sun & Sound package for ~$18-19K they could actually increase volume. Keep up the funky color special edition models too. Also consider swapping out the 1.8L engine for the new family of Ecotec engines sooner (i.e. 2016) versus later (2020 if GM is normal GM).

The Verano didn't get the 2015 tweaks that the sister Cruze got. I don't understand why GM still makes 2.4L engines for just this and the Theta twins. Do a mild refresh with 2.5L and update the center stack and trim materials and be done with it until the next generation comes along. Verano is still nicer than competitors like the ILS by a big chunk of change. Spend a little to get a lot here GM!!
 
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Isn't that the plant that had the 2 tier pay scale?
Correct, when they resumed production they had a 60/40 split with tier 1 and tier 2 workers. However the goal is for the plant to eventually be 100% tier 2. It is called a red circled plant, you cannot transfer in from another facility, and if you leave you may not come back. Tier 2 workers have no transfer rights unless they are laid off. So eventually over a period of time, unless the contractual language changes that ratio will get closer to 100% tier 2, could take 20 years.
 

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Correct, when they resumed production they had a 60/40 split with tier 1 and tier 2 workers. However the goal is for the plant to eventually be 100% tier 2. It is called a red circled plant, you cannot transfer in from another facility, and if you leave you may not come back. Tier 2 workers have no transfer rights unless they are laid off. So eventually over a period of time, unless the contractual language changes that ratio will get closer to 100% tier 2, could take 20 years.
I wonder what tier will be laid off? My guess is tier1 and this is part of the overall plan.
 

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Hope an updated Verano is will along the pipeline... once again (cough Rendezvous cough) Buick entered a new market and brought in some new customers, and needs a strong follow-up to keep them and continue the trend. They've certainly crunched the numbers, but I wish they could make a case for a 2-door based on the GTC... ONE coupe in Buick's lineup isn't asking too much, is it?!
 

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I saw a couple of Veranos on the street today. Both were driven by elderly people, but a sale is a sale. It's a very attractive compact sedan. Shame on GM, though, in letting it stagnate. There's so much they could have done to keep it fresh and get some attention. Yes, they could have moved up to the 2.5L engine. Or they could have gone all-turbo, with a lower-power version of the 2.0T as the base engine. Heck, they could have even added some new colors. Instead, they didn't do diddly squat for 2014 or 2015. And thus the lower sales and layoffs. Very frustrating.
 

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Correct, when they resumed production they had a 60/40 split with tier 1 and tier 2 workers. However the goal is for the plant to eventually be 100% tier 2. It is called a red circled plant, you cannot transfer in from another facility, and if you leave you may not come back. Tier 2 workers have no transfer rights unless they are laid off. So eventually over a period of time, unless the contractual language changes that ratio will get closer to 100% tier 2, could take 20 years.
Thanks for the info. I was wondering why the layoffs were "permanent" at Orion and were occurring over a year, while the layoffs at Lansing were considered "temporary." I suppose if they bring in additional product such as the Encore, they would want to get the Tier Ones out and hire Tier 2.

Good luck to you. GM certainly could make better use of Orion than they already are.
 

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I suppose if they bring in additional product such as the Encore, they would want to get the Tier Ones out and hire Tier 2.
The innovative staffing plan at Orion was supposed to be for entry level low margin products like the Sonic.
Now GM is setting the same thing up in Spring Hill with the high volume, high profit CUVs.
Orion would have been the perfect place to run over flow low volume Cruze models like a Hatchback, wagon or Coupe. The Encore would have been a good fit as well.
 

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This is almost a non-story, 160 people over the next 14 months!?

A plant that size, and knowing a bit about the demographic of the workers there, I bet 1/2 that number would go away on it own.

I'm wondering if GM did this to take a bit of the focus off of Lansing Grand River?
 

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I saw a couple of Veranos on the street today. Both were driven by elderly people, but a sale is a sale. It's a very attractive compact sedan. Shame on GM, though, in letting it stagnate. There's so much they could have done to keep it fresh and get some attention. Yes, they could have moved up to the 2.5L engine. Or they could have gone all-turbo, with a lower-power version of the 2.0T as the base engine. Heck, they could have even added some new colors. Instead, they didn't do diddly squat for 2014 or 2015. And thus the lower sales and layoffs. Very frustrating.
Agree.

The Verano is an "Old Man's" car due to it's pricing structure which I have been saying for years would kill sales and doom the Verano and think there are 160 people that might agree.

Yes, the Verano needs those updates (2.4 to 2.5) and still do not understand why GM does not offer a NA version of the 2.0L for a lower entry priced Verano with an MSRP near 20K.

No sense being frustrated, this is GM, it is what they do.
 

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The Sonic and Verano are probably two of GM's most competitive vehicles. I found driving the Sonic better than the Cruze.
Sonic is not a bad car outside of a small tweak or two to trims, but when was that last time you saw an Ad for one?

Why isn't GM screaming that it is the ONLY car in the segment made in the U.S.A.???
 

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Because GM's marketing is braindead? I've never seen a company as large as GM with marketing as ****ty as theirs. It's absolutely ridiculous.
Incredible, isn't it?

Out here if you are not an enthusiast you would never know Chevy made anything but the Silverado.

The Ads are non-stop; how does that create an image for Chevrolet that it offers fuel efficient cars that can be fun to drive and affordable (at least in the Sonic's case)??

I have never heard one person even mention the Sonic even when they are considering a Fit or Fiesta and I forget they even make it more often than I would like to admit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The average consumer knows this about Chevrolet:

1.) It used to run deep? What?
2.) Rednecks buy them because they're STRAWNG.
3.) The richest guys on Earth buy the Malibu. LOL.
 
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