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GM Keeping N.Y. Plant Open Through Mid-2009

Closure of an upstate powertrain plant has been pushed back to help boost its casting capacity as GM shifts its product lineup focus toward cars and crossover vehicles.

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. said Wednesday that it has pushed back the closure of an upstate New York powertrain plant to help boost its casting capacity, as the automaker shifts its product lineup focus toward cars and crossover vehicles.

The Detroit-based automaker said in May that it would phase out work at the Massena, N.Y., plant by the end of 2008 as part of a shift toward more precision-oriented manufacturing technologies.

But as a result of a steep increase in consumer demand for smaller vehicles, GM is now delaying the plant's closure until mid-2009, GM spokeswoman Lynda Messina said.

The plant makes an engine block for the automaker's Ecotec 2.2 liter engine, which is used in its Chevrolet Cobalt model, Messina said.

Production at the New York plant will eventually be shifted to another facility in Saginaw, Mich. Postponing the closer of the Massena plant will give the one in Saginaw more time to get up to speed, she said.

The Massena plant currently employs about 250 people, who are expected to remain employed there until the plant's closure next year, Messina said.

GM shares fell 84 cents, or 7.6 percent, to close at $10.26.

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