GM's Fairfax Plant Revs Up for Fuel-Efficient Aura, Changeover to '09 Model Planned for Tomorrow

The Kansas City Business Journal reports that General Motors is planning to start building the 2009 Saturn Aura beginning this Friday. In addition, the plant been given approval to work overtime to increase production. For '09, the 2.4L Aura will offer customers a class-leading 33 mpg EPA fuel economy rating. The Chevrolet Malibu is also built at the plant in Kansas City.

General Motors has its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, working overtime to meet increased demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Jeff Manning, president of United Auto Workers Local 31, said employees worked mandatory eight-hour Saturday shifts on June 21 to meet demand. Manning said that was the last opportunity to add extra production for the 2008 Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Malibu. The plant is switching production to 2009 models, with a goal of being up and running by Friday. Manning said the new labor agreement between the union and management includes working six Saturdays during the 2009 model year. The plant also is on an overtime schedule, which entails 10-hour shifts five days a week, along with the six scheduled Saturdays spread between now and December, he said. "It's pretty much in stone, in the agreement," Manning said. "If they need more than the six Saturdays because the market demands it, I'm sure we could talk. We want to make GM as many cars as they can sell."

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GM Considers Selling Opel Cars in U.S. as Saturns

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Reuters reports that General Motors is considering bringing Opel cars to the United States, and selling them under the Saturn brand. The story confirmed rumors that indicated GM was looking to its European arm as a way to give Saturn fresh product that was different from other GM models sold in North America. GM wants to craft a sophisticated European image for Saturn.