TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer DETROIT
General Motors Corp. is planning to temporarily close most of its U.S. factories for up to nine weeks this summer because of slumping sales and growing inventories of unsold vehicles, two people briefed on the plan said Wednesday. The exact dates of the closures are not known, but both people said they will occur around the normal two-week shutdown in July to change from one model year to the next. Neither person wanted to be identified because workers have not been told of the shutdowns. GM spokesman Chris Lee would not comment other than to say the company notifies employees before making any production cuts public. One of the people briefed on the plan said a few plants that make more popular models could remain open for part of the shutdown period, but at reduced assembly line speeds. Thousands of workers could be laid off but would still get most of their pay because their United Auto Workers union contract requires the company to make up much of the difference between state unemployment benefits and their wages.