DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. said Friday it will extend the temporary shutdown of its Wilmington, Del., assembly plant for three more weeks because of slow demand for the vehicles it makes.
The factory's 1,500 workers make the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT two-seat roadsters.
Workers already were told that the plant would be shut down the weeks of Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Spokesman Tony Sapienza said the plant will remain closed the following three weeks, and GM plans to reopen it in the first week of December.
"These are not uncommon, either up or down, for us to make adjustments like this," Sapienza said. "It's always market demand, in particular for those vehicles."
Last week, GM said it will cut the plant's second shift starting Dec. 8, indefinitely laying off 400 workers.
Solstice sales are down 26 percent through the first nine months of the year, while Sky sales are off 8 percent, according to Autodata Corp. GM sold only 653 Solstices and 724 Sky roadsters last month.
Friday's announcement came as GM continues to cut shifts and close factories in response to a sagging U.S. auto market due to economic woes, the tight credit and high gasoline prices. J.D. Power and Associates is predicting industrywide U.S. sales of 13.6 million light vehicles this year, 2.5 million fewer than last year's figure of 16.1 million.
GM has made announcements cutting more than 4,300 factory jobs in the past two weeks.
In addition to cutting the second shift at Wilmington, GM announced earlier this month that about 700 workers at its pickup truck plant in Pontiac will be furloughed starting Feb. 1, and another 500 at the Detroit-Hamtramck sedan factory will be laid off starting Jan. 12.
The automaker also announced it would shutter its metal parts stamping factory near Grand Rapids by the end of 2009, costing 1,520 jobs. It also sped up the end of SUV production at its Janesville, Wis., plant to Dec. 23, eliminating another 1,200 positions.
The Wilmington plant announcement is more bad news for Delaware's auto industry.
Chrysler LLC on Thursday sped up the closure of a sport utility plant in Newark, Del., costing 1,000 jobs.