Gm to Stop Rainier Production, Commodore to Land in US Shores

by : Noah Scott

General Motors has recently announced the ending of its Buick Rainier production which is only made at its truck plant on West Stroop Road. GM, through its spokeswoman Karen Johnson has assured workers that the stoppage of Rainier production will not result in layoffs or closure of the plant. "The corporation still feels very positively about the work force here in Moraine. This is strictly a marketing decision."

The Buick Rainier is a midsize sport utility vehicle and comprised about 2.5% of Moraine plant's total 2007 model year volume said Mike Glinski the plant manager in a letter sent to plant employees, Monday evening. The mentioned percentage totals to 5,000 Rainiers that is a small number compared to the 229,000 vehicles produced by the plant in 2006.

"That means that the Rainier volume accounts for about one vehicle an hour of our volume. We plan to make up for the lost volume by adjusting our schedule and increasing production of the other models we build," Glinski said in his letter. He also added, "While the news about the Rainier is disappointing, there is going to be no impact on our plant."

The production of the Rainier will continue at the end of the 2007 model year and as always will be equipped with only the best quality auto parts like the popular said Johnson and she also added that she still doesn't know how many additional models the plant will produce. "The dealers are being asked to put in their final orders."

Willie Thorpe, chairman of the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communication Workers of America Automotive Conference Board with about 2,000 hourly workers at the Moraine plant said that workers should not worry the Rainier since the plant have great product lineups. "We should be bale to hold our own on that one. The volume of the Rainier wasn't that great."

The plant will still continue producing American SUV like the GMC Trailblazer and Trailblazer SS, the GMC Envoy and Envoy Denali, Saab 9-7x and the Isuzu Ascender. The only special thing about the Rainier is the fact that it was the first truck or SUV sold with Buick nameplate in decades. "I hate to see them leave the business," said Thorpe.

While workers at Moraine are distressed about the stoppage of Rainier production, South Australia's workers on the other hand are rejoicing. SA Deputy Premier Kevin Foley has welcomed a new Holden export announcement that is despite the fact that the company ruled out the return of its third shift at its Adelaide assembly plant.

The Australian made Commodores are to be exported to the United States as Pontiac G8s. It should be noted that almost fourteen hundred jobs were lost when Holden reduced its Adelaide plant to two shifts last year.

According to Foley the deal is good news for workers. "We want General Motors Holden to continue to grow and be a stable long-term employer in South Australia." He also added that the automakers decision will guarantee a long-term stability and security for General Motors and thousands of South Australians that are employed in the automotive industry.

Holden Chairman Denny Mooney commented that the deal will only secure existing jobs. "If you look at 95% o four plants around the world, they operate on a two shift mode. Not just us, if you looked at the industry in general." He further said, "You know, some of our other operations like an engine operation or a machining operation you can run 24 hours a day, it's very difficult on an assembly plant so a third shift is not an option going forward. We want to be chasing volume on a two-shift operation."