GM defends US investment following Trump jabs over Ohio plant

By AutoFOXBusiness

Will Trump's pressure on GM cause a reversal at the Ohio plant?

Washington Examiner writer Tiana Lowe on President Trump's criticism of General Motors over the automaker's decision to close its plant in Lordstown, Ohio and the potential impact of Trump's threat of more auto tariffs.

U.S. automaker General Motors reiterated its commitment to its U.S. employees and manufacturing efforts on Wednesday, following a surge of pressure from President Trump over its unallocated Lordstown, Ohio plant.

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Without responding directly to the president’s comments – where he said “GM let our country down” – GM said it continues to invest in Ohio, where it has spent nearly $1 billion across four facilities outside of Lordstown since late-2016. The automaker said it spends more than $6 billion every year with state suppliers.

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Production at the Lordstown plant ceased earlier this month. It is one of several North American plants that the automaker announced it would shutter by early next year as part of a restructuring effort.

Across two unallocated plants – in Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck – GM said 2,800 jobs were affected, but it had 2,700 open positions at other plants as of the end of last year. About 1,200 workers were eligible for retirement.

“GM has been working tirelessly to place each employee across its U.S. manufacturing plants,” the company said. “Over 1,000 employees have already been placed in jobs at other U.S. GM plants, with several hundred more in the process of being placed.”

The company added that it employs 90,000 people in the U.S. across 27 states and has invested $22 billion in its plants since 2009.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, GM announced plans to invest $2.7 billion in Brazil factories over the course of five years.

Overall, the company said its restructuring plan would result in the elimination of about 14,000 jobs, though some of those workers would be able to transfer to other facilities. GM announced the restructuring bid as it shifts its focus to SUVs, trucks and electric vehicles.

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to push for General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to move up scheduled contract discussions regarding the automaker’s Lordstown plant.

Those comments followed a torrent of criticism posted over the weekend.

Trump said GM needs to act quickly because the U.S. economy "is so good" that other car companies – like Toyota – are investing heavily in their U.S. operations. Fiat Chrysler recently announced a $4.5 billion investment in the U.S., while Toyota pledged to commit around $13 billion over the coming years.

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He also said he spoke to GM CEO Mary Barra on Sunday and asked her to either sell the plant or “do something quickly.” Trump said Barra blamed sluggish action on the UAW union.

GM said the fate of unallocated plants will be resolved between itself and the union.

FOX Business’ Jeff Flock contributed to this report.