GM restructuring to affect Corvette plant

By JUSTIN STORY, The Bowling Green Daily News,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 11:38 AM CDT

Tuesday’s announcement that General Motors would embark on a restructuring plan to shore up its cash on hand may have implications for the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

“Our plant will be impacted by the salary reduction and by many of the other items announced yesterday,” said Andrea Hales, a spokeswoman for the Corvette plant.

Hales said she was unable to elaborate on how specifically the Corvette plant would be impacted by the restructuring.

The auto manufacturer was forced into action by an economy marked by high fuel prices and low sales, which had the recent effect of driving shares of GM stock below $10 for the first time since 1954.

GM was the top-selling automaker last month, but the overall market for automobiles is at an ebb.

The company reported 2,082 Corvette deliveries last month compared to 3,055 deliveries made in June 2007.

Restructuring plans call for cutting white-collar costs by 20 percent, with that likely occurring through the elimination of several thousand of GM’s 40,000 salaried jobs, according to reports.

GM has $24 billion in cash on hand, and its restructuring plan intends to cut costs by $10 billion.

The company is looking at buyers for its Hummer brand, which has been hit especially hard as consumers shy away from low-mileage trucks and SUVs in favor of smaller, more fuel efficient cars.

Eldon Renaud, who leads the United Auto Workers Local 2164, did not return several calls seeking comment, but had previously told the Daily News that he felt optimistic that the Corvette plant would weather the restructuring, with hourly employees on the manufacturing line expected to survive the job cuts.

While Corvette sales have tailed off in the past year, Renaud had said the car had enough of a loyal customer base that he did not anticipate manufacturing decreases.