Shreveport's GM plant losing one shift due to weak truck market

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors will cut one shift at its Shreveport Truck Plant because of a drop in demand for pickup truck and sport utility vehicles.

The Shreveport plant builds the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, the Hummer H3 SUV and the upcoming Hummer H3T pickup truck.

GM said it is also cutting a shift at its Moraine, Ohio plant, which builds the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Ranier, Isuzu Ascender, Saab 9-7x midsize SUVs.

That means GM will produce 117,000 fewer vehicles between the two plants.

The cuts bring GM's total production cuts to just under the 300,000 units company officials had hoped to cut this year, GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said.

GM also is looking at the possibility of idling production at other truck and SUV plants later this year to further align its offerings with consumer demand, he said.

Record-high gas prices and a weak overall economy have led to a steep drop in U.S. sales of trucks and SUVs this year, as consumers have opted for small, more fuel-efficient passenger cars or put off buying new vehicles all together.

GM's U.S. sales were down about 16 percent for the first half of this year, largely as a result of a plunge in truck sales, and it's not the only automaker facing lower demand.

Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., which outsold GM by 277,532 vehicles worldwide in the first six months of this year, cut its global sales forecast earlier Monday by 350,000 vehicles to 9.5 million, blaming sluggish North American sales.

Toyota also is shifting production from SUVs and trucks to smaller models. It said earlier this month that it plans to shut down truck and SUV production at its U.S. plants for three months starting in August, and it will start building the Prius hybrid in the U.S. for the first time in 2010.

GM shares fell 42 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $11.48 in midday trading.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)