Demand for the small Chevrolet Cruze is sinking, and General Motors has said it intends to lay off about 1,500 of its workers at its Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant.
Sales of the Cruze fell about a third between 2014 and 2017, as SUVs and trucks surged in popularity, relatively speaking. Cruze sales have plunged another 26 percent in the first three months of 2018, CNN has reported.
In response, GM is cutting a shift at Lordstown.
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Longtime workers will be offered a buyout package to try to cut involuntary layoffs, set right now for June. Some workers may be able to find openings at other GM plants.
No WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act) letter has been filed yet with the state.
An Ohio senator, meanwhile, is demanding answers of GM.
The office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said the senator wrote to GM CEO Mary Barra, condemning and questioning the automaker’s plans for its Lordstown workers.
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“This decision will be devastating to the families and communities of the workers whose lives will be impacted, and it is particularly galling after your company received massive tax benefits from the recent enactment of the corporate tax cut bill,” Brown said in a release from his office. “I urge you to reverse this decision and instead invest your tax windfall in the facility and workers in Lordstown.”
The Dayton area’s last vehicle assembly plant closed in December 2008. Today, that plant in Moraine is home to a Chinese-owned company, Fuyao Glass America, which has about 2,000 workers. Fuyao says the plant is the world’s largest facility devoted to production of original equipment and after-market auto glass.
GM co-owns the DMAX truck engine plant, also in Moraine, close to its former assembly site. That 585,000-square-foot plant has about 800 workers.