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Old 01-15-2008, 04:47 AM   #1
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300 jobs at the General Motors

GM’s Fairfax plant is gaining 300 jobs
By RANDOLPH HEASTER
The Kansas City Star

Strong demand for the new Chevrolet Malibu has fueled plans to add about 300 jobs at the General Motors Corp.’s Fairfax plant this spring.

Production-line speed will increase from the current 47 vehicles an hour to 59 in April, said Jeff Manning, president of United Auto Workers Local 31.

That will create about 300 positions on the production line, virtually all of which will be filled by transfers from closed GM or Delphi Corp. plants, said John Melton, Local 31 bargaining chairman.

The midsized car has been selling well in a sluggish auto market amid positive industry reviews.

On Sunday, the Malibu was crowned “Car of the Year” at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Last year, the Saturn Aura, which also is built at the Fairfax plant, was bestowed the top honor. The award is given by a committee of automotive journalists.

Including skilled trades workers, the plant will have about 2,700 hourly employees on two shifts once production is increased, Melton said.

When combined with the salaried workforce, the Fairfax plant will have about 2,900 employees, said Linda Heater, a Fairfax plant spokeswoman. Plant employment has ranged between 2,000 and 2,300 in recent years.

Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager, said the goal with the new Malibu was to compete with the top sellers among midsize cars.

“Customers are getting that message because the new Malibus are selling faster than we can put them in dealers’ lots,” he said in a statement.

The auto show award is validation for GM as it tries to assert itself in the midsize passenger-car market, which has been dominated for years by the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

“It’s a great deal,” Manning said. “A lot of hard work went into the new Malibu, and we were able to match what we did last year with the Aura.”

The Malibu is “easily as good as anything near its price and better than most,” said Gary Witzenburg, a freelance automotive journalist and one of the award’s jurors.

The new Malibu began production in mid-October and didn’t reach dealer showrooms until November. In December, when the overall industry saw a sales decline, GM sold 12,172 Malibus, nearly 7 percent more than it did in the same month in 2006.

The Malibu initially was produced exclusively at the Fairfax plant, which has been on an overtime schedule. Melton said brisk sales prompted GM to build new Malibus in recent weeks at its Orion, Mich., factory. That plant primarily makes the Pontiac G6 sedan.

Malibu’s sales figures continue to be dwarfed by the most popular Japanese midsize cars. Toyota sold nearly 39,000 Camrys in December, while Honda sold more than 31,000 Accords in the United States.

Notably, though, Toyota sold 708 fewer Camrys last month compared with December 2006. The Malibu, meanwhile, gained in sales by 766 cars.

Although foreign automakers continue to enjoy the reputation for building quality vehicles, industry analysts have observed that domestic car companies are closing the gap. Being presented car of the year awards at the Detroit auto show in consecutive years reinforces that belief for GM.

“The back-to-back wins really say a lot about our commitment to quality and our workforce,” said Heater regarding the Fairfax plant. “Knowing that the award for the Malibu is our second straight makes it that much more gratifying.”
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:43 AM   #2
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This is good news!
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
The new Malibu began production in mid-October and didn’t reach dealer showrooms until November.
Don't know if you guys noticed this. But, if production starts and they have cars this soon??? Think you know where I'm headed w/ this one...

Great news for GM...great news. Two years in a row, same factory building the cars, more jobs (luckily to the same employees who have been cut elsewhere), and GM is slowly chop, chop, chopping at the competition. If they continue building such quality products and keep that advertising up, they continue to win over customers leaning towards other brands. This is great news for GM. I hope they continue to build so many cars that they have to continue working so hard, people continue to want more, and these 300 employees at the factory end up staying at the factory full time....and then GM has to hire even more employees.

Great job, designers of the Malibu!!! GREAT JOB!!!
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:48 PM   #4
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Its too bad the jobs couldn't be added in the Detroit area, which is really struggling, but good news for anyone in the auto-manufacturing trade who is willing to relocate.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:30 PM   #5
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yep is a change going from other companies cutting a lot of job to GM adding jobs
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