December 20, 2016 / 10:56 PM / 3 years ago

Ford shutting Kansas City plant for a week, GM lays off shift in Detroit

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) will close its Kansas City, Missouri pickup truck and van plant for a week in early January to match production and demand, the automaker said on Tuesday.

A Ford logo is pictured at a store of the automaker, in Mexico City, Mexico, April 5, 2016. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

The plant makes F-150 pickup trucks and Ford Transit vans. Ford also closed the Kansas City plant for a week a couple of months ago.

The move comes a day after GM announced it was closing five U.S. plants, mainly ones that make light-selling sedans, in January from one to three weeks.

Later on Monday, GM also said that in March it will lay off about 1,300 plant workers and cut the second shift at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant. The plant makes the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, and three sedans: the Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse.

Sedans remain essential for most auto manufacturers, but U.S. consumer appetite for them has waned in the past few years in favor of SUVs and pickup trucks.

“General Motors will explore placement opportunities at other GM facilities for those affected by this decision,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The new layoffs are on top of 2,000 as GM in January eliminates a shift each at plants in Lordstown, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan, which the company announced in November.

The single week shutdown of the Ford Kansas City plant will allow “time to perform maintenance” of the machinery at the factory, Ford said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

Data from the Automotive News, which reported the Kansas City shutdown earlier on Tuesday, shows there were 108 days of Transit inventory at the start of this month, up from 82 days a month earlier. The Kansas City plant is the only U.S. plant that makes the Transit van.

The Volt has been well-received among electrified vehicles, with sales up nearly 60 percent this year through November. However, it remains a low-volume niche product at about 2,500 in U.S. sales in November.

U.S. sales of the Impala are down 20 percent this year, and inventory data for the Buick LaCrosse shows a lofty 168 days of supply, and for the Cadillac CT6 it was 111 days, Automotive News data shows.

Overall, Ford held 83 days of U.S. vehicle supply at the star to this month, down from 90 days a month earlier, and GM was holding 86 days supply, from 84 days a month earlier, the data shows.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by David Gregorio

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