Earlier this year, General Motors announced that it would start a second shift at its Detroit-Hamtramck factory some time towards the end of 2011 to meet its production goals for the 2012 Chevrolet Volt. 

But on Friday the company announced that it was shelving plans to introduce a second shift thanks to a redesign of the Hamtramck facility which it said could double the efficiency of the Volt production line. 

By carefully examining the production process, GM engineers identified several bottlenecks throughout the plant, which was slowing down the entire production line. Using a variety of measures, including employing more staff and adding additional automation, GM claims its engineers have eliminated these bottlenecks.

The result, GM says, is that a single shift at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility is now capable of producing the 60,000 Chevrolet Volts -- and its European sibling the Opel Ampera -- in the next twelve months. 

2011 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View

2011 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View

Why delay plans to introduce a second shift? It’s all about the bottom line. 

“The decision will significantly reduce costs, and has no impact on the plant’s ability to make 60,000 Volts and Amperas,” GM spokesperson Chris Lee told the Associated Press on Friday.  “This approach is just a more efficient way to make the same number of vehicles.”

While GM has decided it won’t need to add a second shift to the Detroit-Hamtramck facility until it commences 2013 Chevrolet Malibu production at the end of 2012, it has already put plans underway to start a second shift at the factory where the Chevrolet Volt battery pack is assembled. 


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