General Motors announces plans to add 400 jobs and build a new electric vehicle at a plant north of Detroit. The $ 300 million investment comes less than a week after a series of critical tweets from President Donald Trump on the closure of the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
The company said the investment in its plant in Orion Township, Michigan, will allow the plant to manufacture a Chevrolet vehicle based on the battery-powered bolt.
GM would not say when new workers will start or when the new vehicle will go on sale, or whether the workers will be new employees or will come from a group of laid-off workers from the planned closure of four US plants. in January. Last weekend, Mr. Trump publicly voiced his dissatisfaction with the closure of the Lordstown plant, issuing a series of tweets prompting the automaker to sell or reopen the plant.
Mary Barra, CEO of GM, said in a statement that the company "will continue to invest in our US business where we see growth opportunities."
The company also announced Friday its intention to spend an additional $ 1.4 billion in US plants with 300 additional jobs, but did not release a schedule or details.
These moves come after President Donald Trump 's poisonous tweets series last weekend, condemning GM for closing its small – car factory in Lordstown, Ohio, east of Cleveland. Over the weekend, Trump asked GM to reopen or sell the plant, criticized the local union leader and expressed his frustration at the executive director, Mary Barra.
GM spokesman Dan Flores said the investment has been ongoing for weeks. Indeed, GM has announced plans to build more vehicles from the Bolt's foundations, which can cover approximately 238 miles with a single electrical charge. The company has promised to introduce 20 new 100% electric vehicles in the world by 2023.
In November, GM announced plans to close the four US plants and one in Canada. In the United States, approximately 3,300 workers would lose their jobs, as would 2,600 in Canada. Some 8,000 white-collar workers were fired. The company said these changes were necessary to stay financially healthy, as GM faces significant capital expenditures to switch to electric and autonomous vehicles.
Plants scheduled to close include Lordstown; Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan; Warren, Michigan; White Marsh, Maryland, near Baltimore and Oshawa, Ontario near Toronto. Factories make mostly cars or components, and cars are not selling well these days, as consumers are turning more and more to trucks and SUVs. With these closures, GM is canceling several car models due to lower sales, including Chevrolet's hybrid diesel-electric Volt hybrid.
GM said it could place about 2,700 US workers laid off in other factories, but it is unclear how many people will uproot and take these positions. More than 1,100 have already been transferred and others are retiring.
"At the moment, we are focusing on the people of Lordstown, providing them with opportunities because we have jobs," Barra told reporters after the announcement on Friday. "We want every person in Lordstown to stay in the GM family, and that's what we're working on."
United Auto Workers sued GM for its closures, which must still be negotiated with the union.
"I'm not going to spoil a great opportunity here today, but four of our sites are struggling, and we've made it clear that we disagree with that," he said. said the Vice President of the UAW, Terry Dittes.
GM's last tweet on Monday said GM should: "Close a factory in China or Mexico, where you've invested so heavily before," and "Take home jobs!"
"I understand a lot the anguish that people feel and I feel it too," said Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday. "And I want to make sure that GM knows that their investment here in Michigan is encouraged, welcomed and appreciated, and we will continue to do so."
Ohio and the vicinity of the Lordstown plant are important to Trump's bid for the 2020 reelection. The state helped push him to victory in 2016, and Trump focused on Lordstown, rarely mentioning other US plants that GM is about to close.
"General Motors is committed to supporting the manufacturing sector in the United States, including in the larger states of Ohio and Michigan," said Barra, who claims not to see any further layoffs or closures of factories by the end of 2020.