President Donald Trump says his administration and lawmakers are exerting "a lot of pressure" on General Motors in response to its decision to cut up to 14,000 workers in North America and possibly shutter up to five plants. Trump says GM needs to "get a vehicle that is selling well and put it back" into the OH plant. Trump tweeted, noting that GM facilities in both China and Mexico appeared to escape unscathed.
GM told the remaining workers at its sprawling plant in Lordstown on Monday that it is going to shut down all us production of the Chevy Cruze in March 2019. 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. These would most likely affect three assembly plants in Detroit, Ohio and Ontario as well as two factories in MI and Maryland that build transmissions and batteries.
Work on six-speed transmissions made at the Warren, Michigan, transmission plant would stop August 1, while the Baltimore transmission plant would stop production April 1, GM said.
National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said Tuesday the White House's reaction was "a tremendous amount of disappointment maybe even spilling over into anger".
President Trump had a simple suggestion for General Motors, which is looking to lay off thousands of works and possibly put plants up for closure in order to focus on the production of electronic vehicles: "Make a better auto". The brand will discontinue the Chevrolet Cruze, Impala, Volt, Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse and will instead focus on their SUVs and trucks.
Congressman Bill Johnson said he was very disappointed about GM's decision to close the plant, but was hopeful for the future.
GM isn't the first to abandon much of its auto market.
Trump also said that the tariffs, which GM warned would "undermine [its] competitiveness against foreign auto producers.", have "nothing to do" with the layoffs. However, after an automaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles, that manufacturer gets phased out of the program over the course of about a year.
Over the last two years, GM has been removing shifts from the Lordstown plant, causing approximately 3,000 workers to lose their jobs. It was about 50 percent cars just five years ago.
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra speaks at GM's press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Jan. 16, 2018. The President continued in a follow up tweet.
"Representative Holmes said the State Government reached out to GM about what they can do to help them bring a new vehicle to Lordstown, and will continue talks for a new product line to come to Lordstown".
"I said, those jobs have left Ohio".
Barra is cutting staff from operations that make conventional cars and hiring people who can design electric cars or add software prowess to GM Cruise LLC, the automaker's autonomous vehicle unit in San Francisco.
Keeping open a plant slated for closure is not without precedent for GM.