GM Adds 1,200 Workers at Michigan Plants on Rosy SUV Demand


(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. said it will hire 1,200 new workers for its two plants in Lansing, Michigan, in part because of rising demand for the company’s mid-sized sport utility vehicles.

The automaker plans to add a third shift and 800 workers at its Lansing Delta Township plant, where it builds the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs. GM also will institute a second shift, including 400 new hires, at its Lansing Grand River factory. That facility makes the Chevy Camaro sports car and the all-new Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans.

While GM had planned on hiring workers for the Cadillac facility, the additions in the Delta Township plant were not part of a comprehensive four-year labor deal signed with the United Auto Workers in October. Those new jobs come in response to growing sales of SUVs as U.S. consumers abandon sedans for those models and crossovers.

Last year, sales of the Chevy Traverse rose 0.3% to almost 150,000 units. That increase came despite a 40-day strike that cut production and resulted in fourth quarter sales of the SUV falling 15%. Enclave sales rose 3% last year.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said inventory of the Traverse and Enclave are low and the company needs more of them to meet consumer demand. The company may also be trying to steal market share from Ford Motor Co.’s competing Explorer, which has suffered due to problems at the plant that builds the SUV.

Cadillac sedan sales have done poorly in recent years, but GM is betting the new Cadillac models will find enough buyers to justify two shifts of work. The CT4 replaces the ATS, which saw sales fall 90% last year as GM phased out that car. The CT5 is all new and sales just started in December. GM is expected to ramp up production of both new Cadillacs this year.

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