An angry President Donald Trump lashed out at General Motors on Monday following the company’s announcement that it would close five auto plants and put 14,700 people out of work – some of whom will be voters in the politically crucial state of Ohio.
He told The Wall Street Journal that the company should stop making cars in China, and instead bring its American factories up to full capacity.
‘They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,’ the president said, adding: ‘I love Ohio.’
Trump said he spoke Monday with GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, and ‘I told them, “you’re playing around with the wrong person”.’
He told reporters as he left the White House for a pair of political rallies in Mississippi that the United States ‘has done a lot for General Motors. They better get back to Ohio, and soon.’
The president won the Buckeye State by 8 percentage points in 2016; his re-election push is likely to focus on a strengthened economic recovery.
President Donald Trump scolded Genetal Motors CEO Mary Barra on Monday, saying she must reopen an Ohio auto plant scheduled for closure; Ohio is a missionj-critical state for the president to win if he hopes to be re-elected in 2020
The General Motors Lordstown Complex in Warren, Ohio is the main assemply plant for the compact Chevy Cruze model, which the company is phasing out due to poor sales
POLITICS: Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, posed at union headquarters in Lordstown, Ohio in June; his union endorsed a Democratic senator who won re-election in a state Trump needs to rally back to his side
Given Demorcats’ built-in advantages in the Electoral College, the proportional voting scheme that actually elects U.S. presidents, it’s difficult for Republicans to win without prevailing in Ohio.
In addition to trimming its workforce, GM said Monday that it would eliminate some models whose sales have underperformed expectations.
One of those, the Chevy Cruze, is asembled at the Lordstown, Ohio plant that’s now scheduled for mothballs.
Trump told reporters that Barra had told him the elimination of the Cruze had ‘nothing to do with tariffs’ — only with slumping sales.
His response, he said, was that she should ‘get a car that is selling well and put it back in [Ohio].’
‘I am not happy with what she did,’ Trump said of Barra. ‘You know, the United States saved General Motors, and for her to take that company out of Ohio is not good.’
About 6,000 factory workers (pictured at the Oshawa plant) could lose jobs in the US and Canada, although some could transfer to truck plants. The plan will help save the company $6 billion by 2020, according to GM
GM’s plant-closure restructuring is aimed at saving $6 billion as the company shifts its focus to electric and autonomous cars.
In addition to the Ohio plant, it will close two in metro Detroit and one in Ontario, Canada.
Too many of its factories are only set up to make older models while GM wants to reshape to focus on lower emitting hybrid vehicles.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said that the savings were necessary to be able to invest in the future.
‘What we’re doing is transforming this company,’ Barra told the Detroit Free Press. ‘This industry is changing very rapidly when you look at propulsion, autonomous driving and ride sharing. We want to be in front of it while the company is strong and the economy is strong,’ she said.
The move won’t affect GM’s core products such as its pickups, SUVs and certain cars including its full-sized 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
‘Those are good architectures from a fuel economy perspective … we’ll continue to put those in the market, but we can take down our capital expenditures, while investing in electric and autonomous vehicles,’ said Barra. ‘You will see a greater share invested in autonomous and electric vehicles, both from a capital expenditure and’ increased hiring for electric and self-driving engineering jobs.
GM will lay off 14,700 factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. One of those closures would be the Oshawa plant in Canada (pictured)
In a press statement, the company said it will close the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant in Detroit and Warren Transmission Operations in Warren.
Other plants closing include the Oshawa Assembly Plant in Oshawa, Ontario, the Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio, and the Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland.
The company also plans to stop building several models now assembled at those plants, including the Chevrolet Cruze, the Cadillac CT6 and the Buick LaCrosse.
‘The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,’ said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
‘We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.’
The reduction includes 8,100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off. Most of the affected factories build cars that won’t be sold in the US after next year.
They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. They will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.
About 6,000 factory workers could lose jobs in the US and Canada, although some could transfer to truck plants.
The plan will help save the company $6billion by 2020, according to GM.
The announcement is the biggest restructuring in North America for the US No. 1 carmaker since its bankruptcy a decade ago.
The Monday closure of GM’s plant in Oshawa, Ontario, was confirmed late Sunday by an official familiar with the decision.
GM opened its factory in Oshawa, near Toronto, in 1953. The plant is used to make the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala sedans as well as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.
The company has three other sites in the province of Ontario. It is unclear whether they will also be affected
GM needs to reshape the company as it shifts its focus to lower emitting hybrid vehicles, technology that is not at the forefront at the Canadian plant.
Too many GM factories are devoted to making slow-selling cars and the company can no longer afford to keep them all operating without making some tough decisions. But the political atmosphere might limit realistic choices for the Detroit automaker.
In a press statement, GM officials announced the closure of Lordstown Assembly (pictured) in Warren, Ohio
The company will also close the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant (pictured) in Detroit
The company said that the moves will help continue its focus on crossovers, SUVs and trucks.
With the move, GM plans to cut 25 per cent of the executive staff and 15 per cent of the salaried and salaried contract staff.
‘These actions will increase the long-term profit and cash generation potential of the company and improve resilience through the cycle,’ Barra said in the statement.
The closure of the Lordstown plant in Ohio didn’t shock some analysts who predicted that location as one of GM’s targets.
The car produced there is also is built in Mexico. The once-bustling factory already has lost two of its three shifts and 3,000 union jobs since the beginning of last year.
Barra did not link the cuts announced Monday to tariff pressures, but said trade costs are among the ‘headwinds’ GM has to face as it deals with broader technology change and market shifts.
With US car sales lagging, several car plants have fallen to just one shift, including its Hamtramck and Lordstown, assembly plant.
A rule of thumb for the automotive industry is that if a plant is running below 80 per cent of production capacity, it is losing money.
GM has several plants running well below that. Consultancy LMC estimates that Lordstown will operate at just 31 per cent of production capacity in 2018.
Rivals Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have both curtailed US car production. Ford said in April it planned to stop building nearly all cars in North America.
The industrywide slowdown in passenger car sales started to pick up steam in 2017.