Here is a link to an article in the Detroit News about production cuts at the Orion factory that makes the G6.
Also some info on the convertible.
OK, link doesn't work. Here's the text.
GM cuts jobs, production at Orion factory
Sales for touted Pontiac G6 slip amid intense competition; output will be reduced in April.
Brett Clanton / The Detroit News
Not everything Oprah touches turns to gold.
Lukewarm sales of the new Pontiac G6 sedan, featured by the talk show host in a massive giveaway last year, have prompted General Motors Corp. to cut production of the car beginning in April.
GM said the Orion Township plant where the car is built will reduce G6 output by more than 10 percent and lay off an unspecified number of workers.
Workers at the factory said they were told last week that 250 to 400 people will be laid off across two production shifts. The layoffs will target workers with the least seniority, said Janene Emswiller, 34, of White Lake Township. She has worked at the Orion Township plant since last spring. Laid off from another GM plant prior to landing in Orion Township, Emswiller said she had high hopes for her new assignment since knew it was a key car for GM.
"I thought I was safe," she said. "But clearly, I'm not."
The cutbacks are a troubling sign for one of GM's most-touted new cars, which the struggling automaker has held up as a competitor to midsize stalwarts such as the Honda Accord and a vital plank in a makeover of its Pontiac brand.
While GM blames the decision on intense competition in the midsize car market, industry analysts say the automaker has made key missteps with the vehicle that also may have stunted sales.
Among them was the decision to introduce a four-door sedan before a well-received coupe version was available in showrooms.
"When they didn't offer that coupe initially, they lost a lot of momentum with the vehicle," said Rebecca Lindland, analyst with Global Insight in Lexington, Mass.
The production cuts in Orion Township come as GM is embarking on a sweeping restructuring of its ailing North American auto business, which lost $5.3 billion in 2005 due to slumping sales of its profitable SUVs, high materials costs and increasing foreign competition.
Under the plan, GM will close or downsize six assembly plants and several other components facilities and cut 30,000 U.S. hourly jobs in order to bring its plant capacity in line with demand for its vehicles.
The Orion cuts, however, come as a surprise since GM added a second 900-worker shift at the plant last spring to support stronger-than-expected sales of the G6. The automaker is also preparing to build a new convertible G6 with a unique glass-panel roof -- new work that appeared to further solidify the plant's position.
GM said the production cuts in Orion should not be viewed as a troubling sign for the vehicle.
"G6 sales were up significantly in the fourth quarter of 2005 and are actually growing when the mid-size car market is shrinking," said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
The cuts are the result of harsh competition in the midsize car category and are a way for the automaker to bring production to a "sustainable G6 volume in the long term," he said.
GM sold nearly 125,000 G6s last year. At the end of the year, about 35,000 G6s were on dealer lots.
The Orion plant will be idled during the weeks of April 3 and April 10, in part to make tooling adjustments for the G6 convertible, Flores said. Work will resume April 17.
At present, the factory has 2,900 hourly workers and 200 salaried positions.
Flores said any union workers laid off will continue to receive pay under existing labor contracts.
"Details are still being ironed out, but appropriate plans will be provided to the employees who are impacted," Flores said.
Pat Sweeney, president of UAW Local 5960, which represents workers in Orion, declined to comment.
The Pontiac G6 was introduced last year amid a blast of publicity, most notably with a promotion by GM to give away 276 of the new cars to guests of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Riding a tide of good press, GM said the G6 posted more than a 50 percent sales increase over the aging Grand AM it replaced and cleared about $5,000 more per vehicle.
Within a year, it had become the 11th-best selling car in the U.S. and won several consumer-based industry awards.
"There are a group of people out there who really like Pontiac and what they're doing," said Daniel Gorrell, vice president with Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based industry firm. "They're just aren't very many of them."
In part, that's due to negative associations with Pontiac, which has been starved for new products and so damaged by heavy rebates in recent years that consumers won't consider one of its models, he said.
"If your last name is Oswald," Gorrell said, "people always will associate you with Lee Harvey."
The G6 should get a bump from the launch of the new convertible, arriving by March, Global Insight's Lindland said.
But the car will continue to face challenges wooing buyers in a category that includes everything from the Volkswagen Jetta to the Nissan Altima. "When you're dealing with the midsize segment," she said, "buyers can easily go somewhere else."
You can reach Brett Clanton at (313) 222-2612 or [email protected]