GM downsizing will affect scrap flows

The automaker’s prime scrap footprint slated to diminish in the Great Lakes region.

November 28, 2018

Detroit-based automaker General Motors (GM) has announced it is “unallocating,” or shutting down, three assembly plants and two transmission plants in North America. Four of the plants are in the Great Lakes region (three in the United States and one in Canada), while the fifth is in Maryland.

In a Nov. 26 news release outlining its near- and medium-term strategies, GM says assembly plants that will be idled in 2019 are its Detroit-Hamtramck plant in Michigan; the Lordstown plant in northeast Ohio; and its plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

Additionally, GM says it is idling its Warren Transmission Operations in suburban Detroit and its Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland, which also produces transmissions.

Assembly plants and transmission plants can generate considerable scrap materials on their own, most prominently metal but also old corrugated containers (OCC) and plastic film. Each of the five plants also are served by layers, or tiers, of nearby supplier plants that can generate prime grades of scrap metal.

Without naming specific facility locations, GM indicates it will continue to invest in plants related to sport utility vehicle (SUV) production and plants that assemble or make components for electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid vehicles.

“GM has recently invested in newer, highly efficient vehicle architectures, especially in trucks, crossovers and SUVs,” states the company. “GM now intends to prioritize future vehicle investments in its next generation battery-electric architectures. As the current vehicle portfolio is optimized, it is expected that more than 75 percent of GM’s global sales volume will come from five vehicle architectures by early next decade,” adds the auto maker.

The Chevy Volt EV had been assembled at the Hamtramck plant near Detroit, although it now appears the last Volts will be rolling off that assembly line in March 2019.