The Pontiac Vibe crossover vehicle will go out of production at the end of this August at the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) facility that is jointly operated by GM and Toyota in Fremont, California.
It is expected that the Toyota Corolla built there, which is closely related to the Vibe and shares the same basic architecture, will continue for the time being.
However, the longer term prospects for the plant are by no means clear, since NUMMI is the only UAW plant in North America that Toyota is dependent on. Japanese makers almost universally prefer non-unionized facilities here. And if the GM bankruptcy goes as planned, contracts such as the one governing NUMMI will be invalidated.
Troy Clarke, President, General Motors North America, said that no replacement for Vibe production has been determined. “GM and Toyota remain in active discussions regarding potential future production at NUMMI,” Clarke said.
The latest cutback is part of GM’s long-term viability plan, which — after the U.S. Treasury Department said it wasn’t viable — was modified to eliminate the Pontiac brand, instead of retaining it as a niche product as originally proposed.
A NUMMI spokesperson confirmed that it will not manufacture the Pontiac Vibe after August 2009, but will continue to produce the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Corolla.
“NUMMI will focus on building high quality vehicles and work on lowering its costs while GM and Toyota discuss NUMMI’s future direction. It is our understanding that the current intention of both Toyota and GM is to continue NUMMI as a 50/50 venture,” according to Lance Tomasu from Communications and External Affairs at NUMMI.