Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Trump Bashes General Motors For Closing Factories

Ohio’s U.S. senators weigh in on GM’s layoffs plant closures GM is offering thousands of buyouts despite good economic news
Jodi Jackson | 28 November, 2018, 00:21

GM said Lordstown is one of five factories up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus on autonomous and electric vehicles.

The United Automobile Workers released a statement in response to the news from GM: "General Motors decision today to stop production at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Michigan, assembly plants will idle thousands of workers, and will not go unchallenged by the UAW". Propulsion plants targeted are Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Md., and Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Mich. Layoffs would amount to 14,700 jobs. We've got to think about all those people and all the others who don't work at GM who are going to be impacted from trucking companies, logistics companies. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles got out of small and midsize cars two years ago, while Ford announced plans to shed all cars but the Mustang sports vehicle in the U.S.in the coming years.

CNN reports that the "company said the plan would make it more efficient, saving $6 billion a year by the end of 2020".

The restructuring reflects the changing US and North American auto markets as manufacturers continue a dramatic shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks.

"It's not about jobs to them; it's about profits", said U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland.

When The Drive reached out to General Motors for further info on the eventual fate of both plants, a GM spokesperson didn't have anything to add aside from what's already been made public.

Autonomous vehicles remain in testing and face a litany of safety and regulatory hurdles, while full battery-electric vehicles represent roughly 1 percent of US sales this year, according to IHS Markit.

Consultancy LMC estimates that Lordstown will operate at just 31 percent of production capacity this year.

But before any plants can close, GM must reach a deal with the United Auto Workers Union, who is vowing to fight.

Trump was particularly frustrated with the prospects of a possible closure of a GM plant in OH, according to a transcript of the interview.

Auto sales have slowed in both China and the United States, two of GM's most important markets.

International Automotive Components in Iowa City laid off hundreds of workers back in 2016, when Fiat Chrysler phased out the Dodge Dart.

As recently as 2012, passenger cars made up more than 50 percent of all U.S. new vehicle sales. The company last month offered voluntary buyouts for 18,000 salaried workers.

Ohio's incoming governor, Republican Mike DeWine, said he plans on meeting with GM officials and make a case for the plant after he takes office in January. Trump said he told the company that the USA has done a lot for GM and that if its cars aren't selling, the company needs to produce ones that will.

GM has begun what is expected to be a long and expensive transition to a new business model that embraces electrified and automated vehicles, many of which will be shared rather than owned. The company said it is looking to concentrate on mid-size vehicles and pick-ups.

"We are taking this action now while the company and the economy are strong to keep ahead of changing market conditions", General Motors CEO Mary Barra said during a conference call on Monday. Some US workers would transfer to truck and SUV plants where GM is increasing output, the company said.

Cost pressures on GM and other automakers and suppliers have increased as demand waned for traditional sedans.

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