Corp. nixes plans to build a new minivan line at its Spring Hill, TN, plant, leaving the Saturn Corp. facility without a product after first-quarter 2007.
But GM President-North America Troy Clarke promises “there's something coming” for the Saturn plant. “There's still a robust product plan for Spring Hill,” he says. “The minivan was one of several options being considered.”
GM scuttled plans for front-drive minivans based on its Midsize Crossover Architecture at Spring Hill. That platform underpins the '07 Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia and the '08 Buick Enclave, all to be built at GM's new Delta Township, MI, assembly plant near Lansing.
The CUV-based minivan would have replaced the Saturn Relay and possibly other platform mates. Currently, the Relay shares its underpinnings with the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander and Pontiac Montana SV6. The current minivans are produced at GM's Doraville, GA, plant, earmarked to close in 2008.
As part of its North American turnaround plan, GM will idle the No.1 line at Spring Hill, ending the production of Ion small cars in late March.
The Saturn Vue CUV, built on Spring Hill's No. 2 line, also will cease production next year. A redesigned Vue for the '08 model year will be built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
Clarke says GM has shared its product plans with the United Auto Workers union. However, the UAW Spring Hill leadership appears to be taken aback by the decision not to build the minivans.
“With only four months left before we cease production of the Ion and Vue, we still have nothing tangible to call our own,” UAW Local 1853 President Mike O'Rourke reportedly wrote members in a recent newsletter.