Trump, Kudlow play hardball with Barra and GM over planned cuts

General Motors To Close Ohio Plant, Thousands Affected

General Motors To Close Ohio Plant, Thousands Affected

The affected plants include three auto factories-one in Lordstown, Ohio, one in Detroit, Mich. and the other in Oshawa, Ontario-and two transmission factories in Baltimore and Warren, Mich. 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 very bad PR-jargon used by GM in the announcement-is just outside of Youngstown, Ohio.

GM said Monday it is closing the plants, in part, due to low demand for certain auto models, including the electric Chevrolet Volt.

President Trump's response wasn't as measured as he tweeted "Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland".

A person briefed on the matter told The Associated Press that the plant being shuttered in Canada is just the beginning as GM prepares for the next economic downturn, shifting trade agreements under the Trump administration, and potential tariffs on imported automobiles.

In a statement earlier this year to the Commerce Department, GM warned that President Donald Trump's import tariffs "could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and overseas for this iconic American company, and risk fewer - not more - United States jobs".

Tesla Inc. has already reached the cap and GM is expected to be next.

"GM's production decisions ... puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days". It also completes final assembly of the stronger-selling Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks, shipped from Indiana. Along with two other closures outside North America, the company is jettisoning some of its slower-selling sedans. GM claims 25 percent of this reduction will be of executive staff.

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With U.S. auto sales lagging, several vehicle 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 percent of production capacity, it is losing money.

Senator Rob Portman is urging GM to bring a new the production of another vehicle to the Lordstown plant.

"The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" the president wrote.

The industry-wide slowdown in passenger vehicle sales started to pick up steam in 2017. In October, nearly 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the USA were trucks or SUVs. Through the first nine months of 2018, that had fallen to a little over 31 percent.

At the factories, around 3,300 blue-collar workers could lose jobs in the USA and another 2,600 in Canada, but some United States workers could transfer to truck or SUV factories that are increasing production. The second-largest domestic automaker had already scrubbed plans for a second assembly line in Mexico previous year due to declining passenger vehicle sales. As well as being roomier, the fuel economy on SUVs and crossovers has improved significantly.

A sign is displayed at General Motors Lordstown Wast plant, November 27, 2018, in Lordstown, Ohio.

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