Trump warns USA may cut off GM subsidies

Devin Lawrence
November 28, 2018

United States president Donald Trump blasted General Motors (GM) for making plans to close seven production plants, including four in the USA, and demanded that the firm find a vehicle that sells in sufficient quantities to be able to increase the company's activities in OH, a key U.S. election battleground.

Reacting sharply, Trump asked the General Motors to review its decision, which the auto major said would help it save around $4.5 billion in costs by the end of 2020. Trump says GM needs to "get a vehicle that is selling well and put it back" into the OH plant.

General Motors (GM) may have delivered net income of close to $2.5 billion (€2.2 billion) in the third quarter of 2018 and be on a sound financial footing, but the company's intention to cease operations in three Midwestern states and the Canadian province of Ontario has been met with disdain by the USA president.

GM shares jumped after the announcement, closing up 4.8 per cent on the day.

On Monday, GM announced that it planned to cut 14,000 blue-collar and salaried jobs, or 15 percent of its total workforce, and halt production at five factories (four in the US and one in Canada) next year in a bid to reduce costs amid slowing sales and changing consumer tastes. Five plants are also in jeopardy of closing. The company has sold about 22,000 through September and in August sought an exclusion from 25 percent US tariffs imposed on Chinese vehicle imports.

"Obviously, there's a lot of disappointment, even anger", Kudlow told reporters during a White House briefing Tuesday afternoon.

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The plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact vehicle also is on the list, and Barra said the Cruze would no longer be sold in the U.S. Production would stop March 1.

In an investor call, Barra said some GM cars would no longer be available in North America, including the Chevrolet Cruze. Barra said the industry is changing rapidly and moving toward electric propulsion, autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, and GM must adjust.

In the Indian market, GM used to retail Chevrolet cars but had halted domestic sales in 2017. I say, "Well, then get somebody - get a vehicle that is selling well and put it back in".

At the factories, around 3,300 blue-collar workers could lose jobs in Canada and another 2,600 in the US, but some USA workers could transfer to truck or SUV factories that are increasing production. That largely ceremonial step has been uncertain as Canada and Mexico seek an end to their standoff with the USA over steel and aluminum tariffs. The second-largest domestic automaker had already scrubbed plans for a second assembly line in Mexico previous year due to declining passenger vehicle sales.

The company also said it will reduce the size of its global workforce by 15%, including a 25% cut in white-collar staff.

Today GM let Northeast Ohio down.

GM will stop producing cars and transmissions at the plants through 2019.

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