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GM plant to close for 8 more weeks
400 Craft Centre workers idle as glut of SSRs persists


By Barbara Wieland
Lansing State Journal

General Motors Corp. has added eight more weeks of layoffs to the beleaguered Lansing Craft Centre plant.

The plant that makes the Chevrolet SSR will be closed the weeks of April 18 and 25. It will reopen for production during the weeks of May 2, 9 and 16, and then close for the rest of May and all of June.

The 400-worker plant will reopen again July 18 after GM's annual companywide two-week break. When it reopens, it will begin producing 2006 Chevrolet SSRs.

The new layoffs come on top of a two-week furlough at the factory that began Monday.

"We are continuing to monitor production schedules to see that they're in line with demand," GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said.

The troubles at the plant are part of a larger struggle GM has faced in recent weeks. After announcing that it would likely lose $1.50 a share in the first quarter, GM saw its shares tumble on Wall Street and its bond ratings have been nearly reduced to "junk" status.

The new weeks of layoffs are being taken to thin GM's SSR inventory. As of March 1, GM had 6,500 SSRs on hand, according to the Automotive News. At recent selling rates, that translates into a 217-day supply of vehicles. Automakers aim to have about 60 days' worth of a model in inventory. A faster sales pace would help turn around the situation.

The SSR had its best unit sales month in March, selling 1,125 vehicles. Sales of the convertible might further improve as cold winter weather gives way to spring.

Sales also might pick up as the 2006 model is introduced, said Brian Fredline, president of United Auto Workers Local 1618, which represents the plant's 350 hourly workers.

"They're bringing out new option packages and trim enhancements," Fredline said.

Chevrolet spokesman Joe Jacuzzi declined to outline new options on the '06 model.

The temporary layoffs at Lansing Craft Centre are compounded by the indefinite layoff of 45 employees there last month.

The Craft Centre's woes aren't GM's alone. American Specialty Cars Inc., which supplies 42 sub-assemblies for the SSR, also will lay off its 257 Lansing employees during the shutdown weeks.

"We operate pretty much in tandem with the Craft Centre," spokesman Tim Yost said. "We look forward to the SSR inventory situation getting back where GM wants it to be."

Contact Barbara Wieland at 267-1348 or [email protected].
 

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I still say lower the price and they will sell more. There are still a fair amount of 04's on dealer lots. If GM does not do something to help the dealers sell SSR's then a lot of them are going to be sitting for a long time. IMO closing the factory is not helping very much. Closing the factory only seems to have kept workers from working (while still making 95% of their pay). GM is still paying out 95% pay and getting nothing for it. Not the smartest move IMO.
 

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I think they are trying to keep the price up, probably because the automobile will not be profitable selling at the price pt where demand increases. Plus a lower price decreases the "Halo" appeal, which in this case is the only way to justify keeping the model alive. The marketing dept can come up with claims like "the ssr was a deciding factor in why x amount of additional other vehicles sold"

jmo.
 

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:agree

I agree with you 100% about taking the Halo appeal away if you lower the price.
I feel GM took a gamble when they brought the SSR to market and a few of us are lucky enough to enjoy their dare. Ford and Chrysler did not lower the price on their Halo vehicles, Thunderbird and Prowler for example. Its just a good advertising tool to get people into the showrooms.

Scott 0168
 

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Scott 0168 said:
:agree

I agree with you 100% about taking the Halo appeal away if you lower the price.
I feel GM took a gamble when they brought the SSR to market and a few of us are lucky enough to enjoy their dare. Ford and Chrysler did not lower the price on their Halo vehicles, Thunderbird and Prowler for example. Its just a good advertising tool to get people into the showrooms.

Scott 0168[/QUOTE

THESE PLANT SLOWDOWNS DO NOT SPEAK WELL FOR THE FUTURE OF THE SSR.
SEVERAL PEOPLE WITHIN GM HAVE SAID THAT THE 06 MAY BE THE LAST YEAR IF
SALES DO NOT IMPROVE AND THAT WAS SEVERAL MONTH AGO. THEY THOUGHT AT
THE TIME THAT THE NEW ENGINE AND STANDARD TRANS WOULD BRING THE NEEDED
SALES RESPONSE. DON'T THINK NEW PAINT AND TRIM WILL TURN THE CORNER FOR
THIS FINE AUTOMOBILE.. GM HAS SOME MAJOR ISSUES TO ADDRESS AND THE SSR
MAY BE WRITTEN OFF BECAUSE OF ALL THE OTHER PROBLEMS IN THE NORTH AMERICAN MARKET. UNLESS OTHER AREA'S OF GM IMPROVE AND THE STOCK MOVES INTO THE MID $30 RANGE I BELIEVE THAT MANY PROJECTS WILL BE CANNED. MANY OF GM'S VETERAN STAFF JUST TOOK EARLY RETIREMENT AND CURRENTLY OR VERY SOON THEIR WILL BE A VOID IN THE TALENT POOL. HOPE THEY TURN THINGS AROUND. 34 YEARS WITH GM AND COUNTING.
 

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John, I can see that happening too. Being that the SSR was really a project of a past leader, the current leads have new issues and would have no problem pulling the plug it they can't justify it. If the sales don't pick up, naturally they will be forced to take the hit, unless the marketing department can sleeze up some of those studies that show the auto drives showroom traffic. Problem here is without a large ad budget behind the SSR, consumers may not even have enough of an awareness to even see the auto. I think to a certain extent the execs were counting on the first 20000 units getting on the road and doing the free advertising. When that didnt happen, they regrouped and started a more expensive direct consumer marketing program, including tv ads (like the Duke coach driving it)- and NASCAR pacing) etc... I read somewhere that one way GM justified the SSR to start with was they thought it would not require a large marketing campaign - they thought people would see 1 or here of 1 and rush to see/buy. Of course, the economy isn't helping either. Bottom line is they HAVE to sell units at some point. Anyone have a figure on how much GM has in this thing? Only figure I ever saw was something like 100million for LCC updates. I'll bet they have over 700mill into it. totally a guess.
 

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Took an 05 for a ride

I took an 05 for a ride last week. It was like pulling teeth. I am an airline pilot with one of the few profitable carriers (frieght) and a business owner and these guys wanted me to agree to agree to purchase the car BEFORE I test drove it. I should not say these guys but rather one of the managers. I handed them a business card from both of my jobs so they would know I wasn't trying to get a free ride or something. He said sorry. I told him that I was looking at an 04 for $32,000 from an out of state dealer and really wanted an 05. My plan was drive an 05 and an 04 (they did not have an 04) and decide how much more an 05 was worth to me. He told me sorry, they did not want to put the miles on it. Fortunately, one of the other managers had traded his Vette in on an 05 and tossed me the keys. I am in love with it. Problem is I have not driven an 04 and this first manager started giving me the BS that yes, the sticker was 48,500 but really it was 61.000 and the best he could do was 45,000. He went in to the whole don't worry about the cost difference between the 05 and the 04 but what the payment would be thing. I laughed at him and left. How on earth are they going to sell these bad ass trucks/cars with that attitude? I can go to any BMW or Porsche lot and take a test drive with no problem. But with a 200 day supply of SSR's. they are locking them down at Fort Knox. Anyone with an 05 manual out there have any advice for a guy torn between an 05 for 13 grand more than 04. I am buying one, its just a matter of which year and what price, the SSR rocked.

Steve
 
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Heres what happened to me..........My dealer has a 05 automatic.......we went by Sat morning, he flipped me the key and said "I am open until 2 pm so be back by then......put the top down and have some fun".......

We drove it for the better part of an hour with top up and top down........what a great ride and way more power than a 03/04......

Upon returning I told him that now my only concern is declining resale value and I think we have a great solution......I am leasing the car for 2 years with a one time "upfront" lease payment........I am gonna drive this toy and in two years I will be done with it. You get a great write off if you own your own company and a great ride in the bargain......

Sooooooooooo he is dealer trading for a red 6 speed and the lease deal is being based on $100 over invoice.......There are some good dealers out there.
 

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Well, the halo effect worked for me, I wouldn't have gone near a Chevy dealership except for the SSR. :)

But I don't think Chevy dealers know how to handle a "halo" vehicle.

Plus, why did they trick them all the way out? A base SSR is only 43,000, yet the ones on the dealer's lots are all 50,000. This doesn't fit into the typical Chevy price range, and the chrome wheels and wood bed doesn't exactly fit into the 50's beat up pickup truck retro look. It seems like they could move a lot of these at 40,000, but instead they advertise them at 50,000, which is getting up there into luxury car area.

I don't think they thought thru the image very well. It's supposed to be a 50's retro look, but with a 21st century hard folding top. It's supposed to be a touch 50's beat up truck, but that's only in the drivers compartment, outside they want to put 1200 chrome tires on it and paint it in bright primary colors.
 

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Ya it worked

I swore off ever buying a new car again because they all look the same, but here I am. The SSR is the only reason I'm back in the showroom buying new. The SSR is the perfect base for me to play with. Thank you risk taker. :thumbs
 

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dougnc said:
Well, the halo effect worked for me, I wouldn't have gone near a Chevy dealership except for the SSR. :)

But I don't think Chevy dealers know how to handle a "halo" vehicle.

Plus, why did they trick them all the way out? A base SSR is only 43,000, yet the ones on the dealer's lots are all 50,000. This doesn't fit into the typical Chevy price range, and the chrome wheels and wood bed doesn't exactly fit into the 50's beat up pickup truck retro look. It seems like they could move a lot of these at 40,000, but instead they advertise them at 50,000, which is getting up there into luxury car area.

I don't think they thought thru the image very well. It's supposed to be a 50's retro look, but with a 21st century hard folding top. It's supposed to be a touch 50's beat up truck, but that's only in the drivers compartment, outside they want to put 1200 chrome tires on it and paint it in bright primary colors.


Think Doug is close to right.
Few of the Chevrolet dealers present the SSr and every fewer of them still know how to support it (i.e. try and get your top adjusted in your service department or find someone who has SSr specific training).
There is no reason, other than greed, why the dealers load the trucks up the way they do when all but three of the options are readily available from Parts (1SB is hard to duplicate in the field, and both chrome wheels and the compartment trim costs much more after the fact). The other items are all Regular Production Accessories or RPA’s that cost a bit more after the fact from parts but at least you get what you want and most dealers will cut you a deal. One of my buddies has a 1SA with compartment trim that drives and looks like a truck that most dealers stocked that cost $3-4 thousand more, but the reality is that Chevrolet Division and the dealers put way too much content into the vehicle such that price is an issue if they want volume over 2 to 3 thousand per year.


WTS, sorry Doug but I need to have the Compartment Trim….


:seeya
 

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SSRGUY said:
Think Doug is close to right.
Few of the Chevrolet dealers present the SSr and every fewer of them still know how to support it (i.e. try and get your top adjusted in your service department or find someone who has SSr specific training).
There is no reason, other than greed, why the dealers load the trucks up the way they do when all but three of the options are readily available from Parts (1SB is hard to duplicate in the field, and both chrome wheels and the compartment trim costs much more after the fact). The other items are all Regular Production Accessories or RPA’s that cost a bit more after the fact from parts but at least you get what you want and most dealers will cut you a deal. One of my buddies has a 1SA with compartment trim that drives and looks like a truck that most dealers stocked that cost $3-4 thousand more, but the reality is that Chevrolet Division and the dealers put way too much content into the vehicle such that price is an issue if they want volume over 2 to 3 thousand per year.


WTS, sorry Doug but I need to have the Compartment Trim….


:seeya
A halo vehicle should be presented as part of a marketing thing. BMW used to have these Z8's. You'd go in an look at that $120,000 monster, then they'd sell you a Z3.

But the SSR isn't marketted as fitting into any sort of lineup, even tho it could, Chevy has a lot of pickups.

Also, the halo vehicle should bring in people like me, people that would normally go for a beamer or some upscale Japanese car. But they were't ready for me.

The thing on the extras, I don't want to pay interest on 7 or 8 grand. In a few year, if I want to upgrade tires or whatnot, I'd rather pay cash.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a 1SA now. :cuss
 

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Interesting on the "SSRs on the road will advertise themselves" theory. I would have thought, with 03s, 04s, and 05s on the road that I would see one occasionally. I live in the 16th largest city in the US (Louisville KY) with a metro population of almost 1 million - and I have not seen one on the road in my hometown since I purchased mine 2 months ago. Seen a couple on dealership lots. Do y'all think that a huge percentage of purchasers are simply garaging them for future value?

I agree that this is a problem for GM sales: 90% of the people who comment on mine have never seen one, and 50% don't know what it is, and don't recognize the name when I tell them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
KY ultraviolet said:
... I have not seen one on the road in my hometown since I purchased mine 2 months ago. Seen a couple on dealership lots. Do y'all think that a huge percentage of purchasers are simply garaging them for future value?
Hey KY,

I have to think in your climate that they would be on the road all year around.... way up North everyone I know (in my area) stores their SSRs or Vettes through the winter months.

I am sure there are a lot of people just storing them and only driving them on rare occasions too. Most people in my area are not using the SSRs for a daily driver.
:ssr
 

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Got mine out of storage this morning - damn I love that truck!!!!! :thumbs
I'm back on the road doing my PR duties for GM, and making people happy again.

Same reaction KY is getting - still amazing how many people have never seen one or heard of it.

Hanging around the SSR at the Auto Show last weekend was interesting - still a lot of people thinking it's a concept truck of some kind - and of course - no big push from GM to change that perception.

How can the designers and craftsmen build something so good, and the marketing people do such a terrible job of promoting it?

:banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead

So what would it cost to put someone in the durned thing at the show, and run the top up and down every few minutes? It always brings a crowd on the street - why would they not show its best feature where they've got people paying 15 bucks to park and another 12/person to get in the door??????????? Maybe then someone just might think - wow - that's so cool - I need one!!!!

I ranted about this last year too - same deal whenever someone begged to see the top working - "sorry - don't have the keys" or "sorry - battery's dead" or sorry, can't open the trunk!!!! duhhhh - how about a battery charger? You've already paid a gazillion dollars for the space - seeing as you're there anyways, why not do some promoting???? Hey, GM - here's a deal for you. Hire me to be in charge of promoting the SSR at next year's Vancouver show - wouldn't be hard to create some excitement. Then, at least someone would know the engine size and a few other tidbits that were beyond the product specialists this year.

Ray
 

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Fishslayr1 said:
I took an 05 for a ride last week. It was like pulling teeth. I am an airline pilot with one of the few profitable carriers (frieght) and a business owner and these guys wanted me to agree to agree to purchase the car BEFORE I test drove it. I should not say these guys but rather one of the managers. I handed them a business card from both of my jobs so they would know I wasn't trying to get a free ride or something. He said sorry. I told him that I was looking at an 04 for $32,000 from an out of state dealer and really wanted an 05. My plan was drive an 05 and an 04 (they did not have an 04) and decide how much more an 05 was worth to me. He told me sorry, they did not want to put the miles on it. Fortunately, one of the other managers had traded his Vette in on an 05 and tossed me the keys. I am in love with it. Problem is I have not driven an 04 and this first manager started giving me the BS that yes, the sticker was 48,500 but really it was 61.000 and the best he could do was 45,000. He went in to the whole don't worry about the cost difference between the 05 and the 04 but what the payment would be thing. I laughed at him and left. How on earth are they going to sell these bad ass trucks/cars with that attitude? I can go to any BMW or Porsche lot and take a test drive with no problem. But with a 200 day supply of SSR's. they are locking them down at Fort Knox. Anyone with an 05 manual out there have any advice for a guy torn between an 05 for 13 grand more than 04. I am buying one, its just a matter of which year and what price, the SSR rocked.

Steve
I have a 05 - 6 speed. I love it. I didn’t pay full price, but close. Is it worth $13k more than a 03/04? Not sure I can answer that, but me personally... I don't think I would have bought an SSR if it weren’t for the LS2/6-Speed/Big-but Eaton rear-end.

It really is a lot of money, but I decided not to worry about it! Spring is here and I drove home from work today with the top down and shifting the gears.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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Thanks Bill, I am trying to find a manual in town to go drive. I really want the 05, I can afford it, just trying to justify to myself. Did you ever drive an 04? How noticable was the difference?
 

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Has the LCC Factory built any SSRs in 05? I put my order in Feb with a production date of March 28, the dealer isn't sure if the car has been built yet, says they haven't sent him the vin yet, my guess is that it won't be built to May.
 

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Bill Bogert said:
I have a 05 - 6 speed. I love it. I didn’t pay full price, but close. Is it worth $13k more than a 03/04? Not sure I can answer that, but me personally... I don't think I would have bought an SSR if it weren’t for the LS2/6-Speed/Big-but Eaton rear-end.

It really is a lot of money, but I decided not to worry about it! Spring is here and I drove home from work today with the top down and shifting the gears.

Good luck with your decision.
Ditto :) :)

I wanted an SSr but waited until the LS2/6 Speed was available and am glad I did. Mine listed (MSRP) $50,890 and I gave dealer $46,000 (Cash Deal). Good or Bad deal I don't know but it's what I wanted. However, some local dealers wouldn't budge off of MSRP as they acted like they were selling GOLD :)

As Bill Bogert stated Top Down and shifting the gears is worth the $$$$$

Enjoy whatever you decide

George
 

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Another thread falls off the main topic only to digress to $$$$$$$$$$$
 
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