General Motors Powertrain will delay its planned shutdown of the metalcasting operation at Massena, NY, until mid 2009, according to Arvin Jones, manufacturing manager for GM Powertrain Transmissions & Castings Operations.
Late in 2007, GM identified Massena as one of the plants to be closed in the first phase of a comprehensive, special attrition program defined by the cost-cutting parameters of the automaker’s recent labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union. The plan was to close the plant at the end of 2008.
“We will still close the Massena plant,” according to Jones, but the end-date is now expected to come in mid 2009. The plant’s production will be reassigned to the GM Powertrain metalcasting plant in Saginaw, MI.
Massena casts aluminum four-cylinder engine blocks and cylinder heads. According to Jones, changing automotive market conditions have increased demand for four-cylinder engines, leading GM to delay the planned closing. “Massena operations will be extended to allow GM to meet increased demand,” he said in a conference call.
Keeping the plant open is in response to “rapidly changing consumer demand,” according to Jones. He said GM is responding to the fact that higher gas prices are “driving consumers away from trucks and SUVs to cars and crossovers.”