President Donald Trump fired off tweets at General Motors Tuesday and sent the company's stock tumbling, showing he is still fuming about the news that the company has chose to close down several North American plants and potentially cut more than 14,000 jobs.
His tweets cited his disappointment with GM CEO Mary Barra and also referred to the 2008 government bailout of the USA auto industry.
Needless to say, GM is feeling the heat and chose to respond with a short statement saying it is "committed to maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S". GM will also cease production of several auto models, including the Chevrolet Cruze and the Buick LaCrosse.
That didn't seem to placate Trump, who famously promised OH supporters their jobs were "all coming back" during a 2017 rally not far from GM's Lordstown facility, where production will grind to a halt in the spring. The statement continued, "Many of the USA workers impacted by these actions will have the opportunity to shift to other GM plants where we will need more employees to support growth in trucks, crossovers and SUVs".
GM CEO Mary Barra said the industry is changing rapidly and moving toward electric propulsion, autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, and GM must adjust.
GM doesn't foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts "to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong", CEO Mary Barra told reporters.
"It seems like GM would prefer to build its electric cars in China rather than the United States".
While industry-wide passenger auto sales were down 13.2 percent through the first nine months of the year, pickup truck and SUV sales rose 8.3 percent. GM has said sagging demand for small cars largely prompted the cuts.
The company also said it will reduce the size of its global workforce by 15%, including a 25% cut in white-collar staff.
Mr. Trump said Monday he is "not happy" with GM's decision and warned Ms. Barra to build another plant in OH soon. In October, nearly 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the USA were trucks or SUVs. Alongside two plants in MI, one in Maryland, and one in Ontario, Canada, GM said one of the plants targeted to be closed-or, um, "unallocated" in the terrible PR-jargon used by GM in the announcement-is just outside of Youngstown, Ohio.
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Even before Monday's announcement, though, the Lordstown plant had already lost two shifts and 3,000 jobs, with 1,500 left.
Barra said that the goal was to make the company more efficient.
The factory announcements likely represented GM's opening bid in contract talks with the union that start next year, said Kristen Dziczek, vice president of labor and industry with the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
"GM received record tax breaks as a result of the GOP's tax bill past year, and has eliminated jobs instead of using that tax windfall to invest in American workers", he said in a statement. She said the company could increase its investments in electronic and autonomous vehicles.
"Look, we made this deal, we've worked with you along the way, we've done other things with mileage standards, for example, and other related regulations", Kudlow said, referencing the recently negotiated U.S. -Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
It was not immediately clear whether the president has the authority to halt those payments on his own. "I am here to protect America's Workers!" he wrote. "That's what we're working towards", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday.
GM closed a plant in Indonesia in 2015 and fired 500 workers after reportedly losing about US$200 million on the Chevrolet Spin. Some UAW workers could land jobs at other GM factories, but many will face uncertain futures unless GM reverses course.
The company has marked a sedan plant in Detroit, a compact vehicle plant in OH, and another assembly plant outside Toronto for possible closure.
Among the vehicles GM offers is the battery-powered Chevrolet Bolt, which can go 238 miles on a single charge.
Ms Keller added that boosting electric-car output will be important for the Chinese market.