Buoyed by record monthly sales of its Chevy Volt hybrid electric plug-in car in March, General Motors will resume production of the Volt at the Detroit Hamtramck plant one week early, the United Auto Workers told Talking Points Memo on Tuesday night.
“They’re adding a week of production back in,” said Don LaForest, the chairman of the UAW’s bargaining committee at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, where the Volt is manufactured, in a phone interview.
GM in early March startled observers by announcing a temporary hold on Volt production scheduled for five weeks, from March 19 to April 23, during which time employees would be temporarily laid-off but receive SUB pay.
At the time, GM and the UAW told TPM that hold was “totally normal,” and put in place to “re-align” supply of the Volt with demand, following sluggish sales in January at just 603 units.
But now, thanks to the GM’s news on Monday that the Volt sold a record 2,289 units in March, employees will be coming back to work a week early.
“We received note of it yesterday,” LaForest added, “It was widely rumored that GM would put a week back onto the schedule, but now it’s confirmed. It’s very good news.”
Still, LaForest noted that the Detroit Hamtramck plant would be shut down in the summer for two weeks for routine maintenance of equipment, plus one week to re-align Volt supply with demand. LaForest said the UAW was still hopeful GM could shave one week off that temporary shutdown as well.
More to the point, LaForest said UAW workers remained confident in the Volt’s propensity for success, and that many at the plant were bewildered and angered by the verbal attacks on the American-made car by Republican Presidential candidates Mitt Romney on Tuesday and earlier, Newt Gingrich.
“Anybody who’s been in a Volt knows it’s not a boondoggle, they know it’s for real,” LaForest told Talking Points Memo. “I don’t think Newt or Mitt have said a single negative thing about the Nissan Leaf,” (the Volt’s Japanese competitor).
“They’re attacking our car to get at the President,” LaForest said. “But our car is going to change the way America does business. It’s a breath of fresh air.”
This article, written by Carl Franzen, was originally published on TalkingPointsMemo, an editorial partner of GreenCarReports.