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By DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. will eliminate 30,000 manufacturing jobs and close nine North American assembly, stamping and powertrain plants by 2008 as part of an effort to get production in line with demand.
The announcement Monday by Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO of the world's largest automaker, represents 5,000 more job cuts than the 25,000 that the automaker had previously indicated it planned to cut.
GM said the assembly plants that will close are in Oklahoma City, Lansing, Mich., Spring Hill, Tenn., Doraville, Ga., and Ontario, Canada.
An engine facility in Flint, Mich., will close, along with a separate powertrain facility in Ontario and metal centers in Lansing and Pittsburgh.
Wagoner said GM also will close three service and parts operations facilities. They are in Ypsilanti, Mich., and Portland, Ore., and one unidentified site. A shift also will be removed at a plant in Moraine, Ohio.
"The decisions we are announcing today were very difficult to reach because of their impact on our employees and the communities where we live and work," Wagoner told employees. "But these actions are necessary for GM to get its costs in line with our major global competitors. In short, they are an essential part of our plan to return our North American operations to profitability as soon as possible."
GM said the plan is to achieve $7 billion in cost reductions on a running rate basis by the end of 2006 -- $1 billion above its previously indicated target.
GM shares rose 77 cents, or 3.2 percent, in premarket trading. Its shares traded below $21 last week at an 18-year low.
Wagoner said last month the automaker would announce plant closures by the end of this year to get its capacity in line with U.S. demand. GM plants currently run at 85 percent of their capacity, lower than North American plants run by its Asian rivals. The plant closings aren't expected to be final until GM's current contract with the United Auto Workers expires in 2007.
GM has been crippled by high labor, pension, health care and materials costs as well as by sagging demand for sport utility vehicles, its longtime cash cows, and by bloated plant capacity. Its market share has been eroded by competition from Asian automakers led by Toyota Motor Corp. GM lost nearly $4 billion in the first nine months of this year.
The automaker could be facing a strike at Delphi Corp., its biggest parts supplier, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month. GM spun off Delphi in 1999 and could be liable for billions in pension costs for Delphi retirees.
GM also is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for accounting errors.
Last week, after the automaker's shares fell to their lowest level in 18 years, Wagoner sent an e-mail to employees saying the company has a turnaround strategy in place and has no plans to file for bankruptcy.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)