GM to halt production of pickup trucks because of Japan earthquake image

GM has suspended production at Shreveport Assembly in Louisiana for the week of March 21 due to a parts shortage resulting from the crisis in Japan.

GM makes two compact pickups at its Shreveport plant, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado. Both use a five-speed manual transmission made by Japanese supplier Aisin Seiki Co, which has halted production in Japan and suspended overtime in North America.

GM spokeswoman Donna McLallen said the shutdown is not a permanent one.

“We hope to be back up as soon as possible,” she said. “We are going to monitor the situation constantly, but there is no way to speculate how long this shutdown will last.”

It is the first time a U.S.-based automaker will stop production in North America over parts shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

About 900 employees work at the plant. The workers will file for state unemployment benefits and will also receive some supplemental pay from GM that will bring their income to about 70% of their regular wages, the automaker said.

Graham said union and company officials were expected to meet this morning, and more information would be available.
Production of the Chevrolet Cruze was shut down March 4 through 7 after a fire at a supplier in Michigan.