The challenges faced by General Motors at its Oklahoma City plant and elsewhere are well known.

The plant tooled up a few years ago to make larger vehicles to meet market demand. Just as shifts of GM workers were cranking out vehicles, oil prices rose again and demand for SUVs fell sharply. The company's supply of vehicles rose and something had to give.

Employees at the Oklahoma City assembly plant feared a shift layoff or even a shutdown. GM officials gave the plant a reprieve and production continued. But the solution may be short-lived.

The latest tactic to move some vehicles is the extension of "employee discounts" to all customers. GM started it and other manufacturers have followed.

A Chicago Tribune news report published in Sunday's Transcript said the discount plan has pushed sales for June to the highest level since September. Discounts and rebates can cut the sticker price by as much as $9,000 on some of the larger vehicles.

The program lets consumers buy vehicles for three to four percent less than dealer invoice, the amount dealers pay to purchase vehicles before incentives, as well as receive cash rebates.

Some dealers expect the discounting to continue through July, rather than end in June as had been planned. Even without the extension dealers report increased showroom traffic.

Analysts quoted by the newspaper expect GM to sell 420,000 vehicles this month, 9 percent more than in May and 12 percent more than in June of 2004. That'll help the giant automaker as it attempts to reduce its inventory of more than 1 million vehicles just waiting for customers to get behind the wheel.

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