GM Suspending Cruze Output for Week as Japan Rivals Rebound

General Motors Co. will suspend production at its factory that assembles Chevrolet Cruze compact cars for one week to avoid oversupply of the model as Japanese rivals’ inventories rebound.

The Lordstown, Ohio, plant will stop output for the week of Nov. 28, Chris Lee, a spokesman for the Detroit-based automaker, said in a phone interview. United Auto Workers Local 1714, which represents the plant’s hourly workers, cited competitors’ inventories recovering from the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan as a reason for the shutdown in a message to members on its website.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.’s factories are resuming output after the natural disaster in March disrupted supplies of parts and depleted inventories of models such as Corolla and Civic. Cruze has outsold Tokyo-based Honda’s Civic this year through October and trails Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota’s Corolla by 1,316 deliveries.

“We don’t want to overproduce,” GM’s Lee said in a phone interview. “Those days are gone from a GM standpoint. We’re just keeping it in control and we’ll ramp it back up and be prepared for a strong start after the first of the year.”

GM added a third shift and 1,200 jobs at the Lordstown plant last year when production began for Cruze, which replaced the Chevrolet Cobalt. Through October last year, Cobalt sales trailed Corolla by 132,013 and Civic by 87,748, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata Corp.

Toyota is resuming plans to run overtime at its North American auto-assembly plants next week, with additional hours starting Nov. 14 and Saturday production scheduled for factories in Indiana and Ontario on Nov. 19, the company said in a Nov. 9 statement. Honda plants in North America are exceeding output plans announced last week, Ed Miller, a company spokesman, said in a Nov. 8 interview.

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