UPDATE 1-GM likely to cease vehicle production in Venezuela in July
(Adds details about U.S. corporation currency problems in Venezuela)
By Tim McLaughlin and Ben Klayman
April 29 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said it is likely it will cease vehicle production in Venezuela in July as the automaker joins other U.S. corporations in taking action to shield their profits from the South American country's volatile currency.
GM has one plant in Venezuela, in Valencia, where it builds the Chevrolet Aveo and Cruze cars, the Orlando crossover vehicle and the Silverado pickup truck. The company said it employs about 3,000 people in the country.
Venezuela's currency controls have been steadily reducing disbursement of greenbacks as low oil prices leave the OPEC nation receiving less export revenue.
That has resulted in broad consumer product shortages and caused auto assembly plants to struggle to import parts, forcing some of them to halt production lines and slash payroll.
GM has fired 446 workers and Ford Motor Co, which halted Venezuela operations two weeks ago for lack of parts, is considering laying off 267 workers, according to a union leader.
Other U.S. corporations, including Kimberly-Clark Corp , Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo Inc, have complained about how difficult it has been to convert Venezuelan bolivars into U.S. dollars.
In February, President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government launched a 70 percent devaluation of the bolivar via a new "free floating" currency system known as Simadi. Continuación...