Big summer shutdowns loom for U.S. auto plants

Auto workers may be getting some extra time off around Independence Day, but they won’t be celebrating. They’ll know it means sales are weak and that profits -- and profit-sharing checks -- could be shrinking. Manufacturers used to shut plants for a week or two in July for maintenance and to keep inventories in check. As sales boomed in recent years, most factories cranked out cars without a break. This summer, widespread closures may be back, and for weeks longer than before. The reason: four s...

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