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Friday, 5 January, 2001, 22:54 GMT
General Motors cuts US output

The world's number one car maker, General Motors, has said that it will temporarily shut down production at eight US assembly plants next week.

The Detroit car-maker also warned more plants could follow during the rest of the month.

GM slowdown
St. Therese, Quebec
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US sales of GM vehicles in the US in December fell more than 18% while total sales of all makes fell 7.6%.

The falls reflect a worldwide slump in auto sales. Weaker consumer demand has also hit rivals such as Ford and DaimlerChrysler hard.

GM temporarily shut five of its 29 North American plants and shut a sixth for one day this week.

Slump in demand

GM is one of many US companies which have seen their sales hit as the economy - coming out of an 11-year boom - has started to slow.

GM also blames weakness in European markets, such as Germany, and the poor performance of Isuzu in Japan.

General Motors has already announced the closure of the Vauxhall plant at Luton
On 7 December, the company said that its US plant output for the first quarter would be down 14.5% from the same period last year.

GM also unveiled plans to cut about 10% of its salaried workforce in the US and Europe.

In December, GM also caught observers in the UK by surprise, by announcing the closure of its Vauxhall Luton plant that makes the poorly selling Vectra.

Chrysler said on Wednesday that it would idle several of its North American plants through the rest of January.

Two days later, it said it would cut its first-quarter vehicle production by almost 26% compared with last year.

The firm also said it would lose about $1.25bn in the fourth quarter of 2000.

And in the week before Christmas, Ford revised its production schedule for the first quarter because of slowing sales.

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See also:

04 Jan 01 | Business
Bush 'optimistic' on US prospects
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Vauxhall to close UK car plant
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