UPDATE 2-GM to temporarily idle four North American auto plants

Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:06pm EDT
 
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(Adds more of company's statement, updates stock price)

April 22 (Reuters) - General Motors said on Friday it will close four North American plants, which primarily make cars rather than SUVs or trucks, for two weeks because of a parts shortage following the earthquake this month in Japan.

GM looked at parts availability and its North American plant operations and decided that these four plants would close to ensure adequate parts supply, a company spokeswoman said.

GM said the steps are being taken proactively, as it "continues to assess the potential impact on its supply chain" of the earthquake, which has curtailed some auto supplier plants in Japan.

Operations at Lordstown, Ohio; Fairfax, Kansas; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and the Flex Oshawa plant in Ontario will be shut for two weeks beginning on April 25, GM said in a statement. (bit.ly/1NFs7v9)

GM will make up the production lost during the shutdowns by the end of this year, the company said.

It said the "temporary adjustment" was not expected to affect the company's full-year production plan, or its second-quarter or full-year financial results for North America.

In the past few years and especially as gasoline prices have remained low, GM and other automakers have experienced greater consumer demand for pickup trucks and SUVs than sedans and hatchbacks.

The Lordstown plant makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact car; Spring Hill makes the Cadillac XT5 midsize crossover SUV; Fairfax makes the midsize Chevrolet Malibu and the fullsize Buick LaCrosse sedans; and Oshawa Flex makes the fullsize Chevrolet Impala and the midsize Buick Regal sedans as well as the fullsize Cadillac XTS sedan.

GM shares were down 1.5 percent at $32.16 at midday on Friday. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Diane Craft and Frances Kerry)