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GM to Cease Production of Chevy Cruze at Lordstown Plant

27 November, 2018, 07:19 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • Donald Trump’s victories in Ohio and Michigan—places where General Motors will shut shop—helped seal his electoral vote total and the presidency

Barra did not link Monday's cuts to tariff pressures, but said trade costs are among the "headwinds" GM faces as it deals with broader technology change and market shifts.

Rivals Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have both curtailed US auto production.

Amid a heavy winter downpour, stunned GM workers walked off the job in protest Monday after learning the company has no plans to produce vehicles there after December 2019.

GM does not 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", chief executive Mary Barra told reporters.

The meeting was planned prior to GM's announcement on Monday, the official said. The Cruze compact vehicle will be discontinued in the US market in 2019, although GM may continue building it in Mexico for other markets, Barra said. "I said 'Well, then get a auto that is selling well and put it back in.' So I think you're going to see something else happen there".

U.S. President Donald Trump won OH in 2016 campaigning on bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. At a rally in Youngstown in July 2017, the president said of manufacturing jobs that the state had lost over the years: "They're all coming back". And one reason for the certainty is that it's just easier for the company to close a plant in Canada than it is in the U.S. Under GM's contract with Unifor, the company only has to give the union a year's notice. The money freed up by these cuts will be used to strengthen the development of GM's electric vehicles, as well as its upcoming autonomous cars.

A former Canadian auto executive said it would be hard for Canadian government officials to entice GM further to keep the plant open.

Most of the affected GM factories, including those in Baltimore County, Maryland; Warren, Michigan; and Oshawa, Ontario - build cars that won't be sold in the USA after next year, including the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable gas-electric hybrid.

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The company already had announced plans to cease operations at its Gunsan, South Korea plant. The Detroit-Hamtramck facility is GM's last in the city, and the Lordstown plant in OH was one of its biggest. In the 1980s the three plants produced as many as 730,000 cars and trucks a year, and employed about 23,000 people.

In North America, GM's sales have been hit hard by falling demand for saloon cars, and the firm is set to follow rival Ford's lead in culling most of its saloon models to put greater emphasis on SUVs and pick-up trucks.

Many of those who will lose jobs are now working on conventional cars with internal combustion engines. Barra said the industry is changing rapidly and moving toward electric propulsion, autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, and GM must adjust.

The plant in Lordstown, Ohio, that makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact auto is on the possible closure list.

The firm said it was cutting production of the Buick LaCross, Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac CT6 and XTS and Chevrolet Impala, as well as older versions of the Silverado and Sierra. The Lordstown plant makes the Chevy Cruze.

GM said it was ending Volt production because the vehicle was meant to be a bridge to fully electric cars when it was introduced about a decade ago.

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from OH, helped shepherd through landmark corporate tax cuts past year as a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, of which Brown is also a member. The Canadian plant appeared to be most in danger of closing.

"If GM Canada is indeed turning its back on 100 years of industry and community ― abandoning workers and families in Oshawa ― then this is a callous decision that must be fought", she told the network.



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