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WILMINGTON, Del. - General Motors is closing four truck and SUV plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico as surging fuel prices hasten a dramatic shift to smaller vehicles.

CEO Rick Wagoner said Tuesday before the automaker's annual meeting in Delaware the plants to be closed are in Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; Janesville, Wis.; and Toluca, Mexico. He also said the iconic Hummer brand may be discontinued.

Wagoner said the GM board has approved production of a new small Chevrolet car at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, in mid-2010 and the Chevy Volt electric vehicle in Detroit.

Wagoner announced the moves in response to slumping sales of pickups and SUVs brought on by high oil prices. He said a market shift to smaller vehicles is permanent.

GM shares rose 36 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $17.80 in premarket trading.

The cuts will affect about 2,500 workers at each of the four facilities, although Wagoner did not know exact numbers. Many will be able to take openings created when 19,000 more U.S. hourly workers leave later this year through early retirement and buyout offers.

He said the company has no plans to allocate products to the four plants in the future.

"We really would not foresee the likely prospect of new products in the plants that we're announcing today that we'll cease production in," he told a Moraine, Ohio, city official who asked a question in a telephone conference call.

The moves will save the company $1 billion per year starting in 2010. Combined with previous efforts, GM will have cut costs by $15 billion a year, Wagoner said.

Wagoner said GM's board approved the production schedule of the Chevrolet Volt, and the company plans to bring the plug-in electric car to showrooms by the end of 2010. The Volt runs on an electric motor and has a small engine to recharge its batteries.

He said the change in the U.S. market to smaller vehicles likely is permanent. "We at GM don't think this is a spike or a temporary shift," Wagoner said.

The Detroit-based automaker also has just emerged from a spate of labor problems, with two local union strikes at key factories and a nearly three-month strike at key parts maker American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc.

GM said in a recent regulatory filing the strikes will cost it a total of $2 billion before taxes in the second quarter.
 

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WOW....not good :thud:
 

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They were banking on E85 with their larger vehicles but the infrastructure never came through for them. The only E85 pump I have ever seen is 20 miles from me.
 

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WOW.. It has been a while since I have seen Rick in the news.. I have chatted with a few times and is one ok guy.. I hate that this is happing to any brand.....
 

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Yeah, this is really bad, we ship to all of the plants they are shutting down, we just layed off 16 today, and i'm sure more lay offs will be comming.
 

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its crazy, there have been several companies going out of buisness in my neck of the woods recently. These are little guys either, I mean hundres if not thousands lost there jobs recently.
 

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all the plants are heading for mexico and cheap labour
 
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I'm sure the other companies will follow suit as well.
Well, not all. GM and Ford have been having problems since well before 2007.

I wonder how this move affects the DMax plant they dumped cubic dollars into just recently.

Chrysler has said it will shut a couple of plants, but thats normal for a restructuring.

Ford has had to rethink its plans several times now, and still isn't out of the woods.
 
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Yeah the present economy is killing everyone....good news though the fed claims to be done cutting rates! So the dollar will hopefully be worth something again soon.
Well, yes and no, the Fed just announced three money auctions in June, at $75 Billion each.
 
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