The cuts keep coming at General Motors. The automaker will eliminate yet another 117,000 light trucks from its production plans for the rest of the year. That's on top of earlier reductions that means GM will shave a total of 287,000 SUVs and pickups from its U.S. total for 2008.
The latest news brings to 1,760 the number of layoffs that will result from GM's cutbacks. The automaker is eliminating shifts at some plants and trimming back elsewhere, it has revealed, as part of a turnaround plan that requires it to trim billions of dollars in costs - and bring production capacity in line with what the sluggish American market is actually asking for.
GM is by no means alone. Ford and Chrysler are also making major cuts in light truck production - reflecting the impact of the gas price crunch. Since the beginning of the year, full-size pickups, in particular, have lost about a third of their market share - a problem complicated by the slump in U.S. housing.
Even import makers Nissan and Toyota are feeling the pinch. The latter Japanese marque has scheduled significant downtime at its Tundra plant in San Antonio, and will pull additional production of that big pickup out of a second factory in Indiana. Nissan is sharply scaling back light truck production, meanwhile, at its own assembly line, in Canton, Mississippi.
While Ford CEO Alan Mulally said he expects some rebound as the economy recovers, he cautioned it is unlikely the big pickup segment will ever reach its former peak.