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GM to Keep Louisiana Midsize Pickup Plant Open Until August

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. will keep open until August 2012 the midsize pickup plant in Louisiana that it set for closure as part of a new four-year labor contract.

The Shreveport, Louisiana, factory making Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks will close Aug. 23, Kim Carpenter, a spokeswoman for Detroit-based GM, wrote in an e-mail today. The closure date is dependent on pickup orders by dealers and customers, she said. Shreveport is the only assembly plant that the automaker and United Auto Workers agreed would shut as part of their contract ratified Sept. 28.

GM confirmed it will continue selling the Colorado pickup, which is smaller than its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, in an Oct. 10 statement. The UAW has said the company agreed to build midsize trucks in its Wentzville, Missouri, factory that makes full-size vans.

The UAW planned to continue pushing GM to postpone the closure of Shreveport and find stamping or other work outside of assembling vehicles, said Joe Ashton, the union’s vice president for GM relations.

“That’s probably the saddest part of this whole set of negotiations, to see any plant close,” Ashton told reporters at a Sept. 20 briefing in Detroit.

GM agreed to keep its plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, on standby as part of the contract, according to the UAW. The accord ratified by 48,500 members calls for GM to invest $2.5 billion through four years, reopen a factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and add or retain jobs at six other plants.

GM will add a shift at the Wentzville van factory for midsize trucks and boost output in Michigan at two powertrain plants and a casting factory, the union said. GM also committed to continue building trucks in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where workers make Silverado and Sierra pickups.

GM rose 0.5 percent to $26.45 at the close in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Trudell in Southfield, Michigan, at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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