April 25, 2018 / 4:13 PM / 5 months ago

GM to add shift at Tennessee plant making SUVs, crossovers

DETROIT, April 25 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Wednesday it will start a third shift at its Spring Hill assembly plant to meet strong demand for its popular GMC Acadia midsize SUV and the Cadillac XT5 crossover, adding around 700 jobs.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker said the third shift is expected to begin production in September. Retail sales for the GMC Acadia were up 15 percent in the first quarter versus the same period last year, while total sales for the XT5 were up 10 percent.

As U.S. consumers have shifted away from traditional passenger cars in favor of roomier, higher-margin sport utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks, automakers have been left juggling production capacity to catch up.

While this has been good news for GM plants like Spring Hill, others have suffered. For instance, the automaker recently announced the removal of a shift at its Lordstown, Ohio, plant, with 1,500 workers to be laid off. That plant makes the Chevrolet Cruze sedan - sales of which were down 26 percent in the first quarter. (Reporting by Nick Carey in Detroit Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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