General Motors 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.
GM Canada declined to comment on any changes at its Canadian operations.
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 GM to make up much of the difference between unemployment benefits and their wages.
GM is living on $13.4 billion US in government loans and faces a June 1 deadline to cut its debt, reduce labour costs and take other restructuring steps.