General Motors Co. announced Monday that it will be undergoing a massive restructuring to give it “flexibility to invest in the future,” which will result in the cutting of 15% of its workforce — including 14,800 jobs in the U.S. and Canada and 25% of its executives — and the shuttering of five U.S. plants in Detroit and Warren, Michigan, Warren, Ohio, and White Marsh, Maryland.
The move, CEO Mary Barra said Monday, is intended to set up the company for the future, and is being rolled out now while the economy’s strong to avoid having to lay off employees in the expected upcoming recession. With fewer employees to pay and fewer factories to run, the company says it will save about $6 billion in just 2 years.
“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” Barra said in a statement Monday.
Along with the five U.S. plants, the company said it would be closing three others, including in Ontario and South Korea. “The transition will come at the expense of about 8,000 salaried workers, and 6,000 hourly workers will either lose their jobs or be reassigned to other plants,” CNN Business notes. “The company last month offered voluntary buyouts for 18,000 salaried workers.”
The White House revealed Monday that President Trump had spoken personally with Barra about the seismic restructuring plan. The president told the The Wall Street Journal that he warned Barra in the call, “You’re playing around with the wrong person.”
“They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” Trump told the Journal.
The president made similar comments in a brief exchange with reporters on Monday.
“Well, we don’t like it,” Trump said (video below). “I believe they will be opening up something else. I was very tough. I spoke with [GM CEO Mary Barra] when I heard they were closing, and I said, you know, this country’s done a lot for General Motors. You better get back in there soon — that’s Ohio, and you’d better get back in there soon. So we have a lot of pressure on them. You have senators, you have a lot of other people, a lot of pressure. They say the Chevy Cruze is not selling well. I say, well then get a car that is selling well and put it back in. So I think that you’re going to see something else happen there. But I’m not happy about it. Their car is not selling well, so they’ll put something else. I have no doubt that in a not-too-distant future they’ll put something else — they better put something else in.”
Video below (h/t Allahpundit):
GM’s new motto is “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion,” a clear nod to the production of self-driving, electric vehicles in the future, CNN Business notes. However, executives say the company also wants to emphasize making the cars people are buying now, particularly SUVs and hatchbacks.
After filing for bankruptcy in 2009 and receiving the controversial federal bailout from the Obama administration, Chevrolet has been relatively successful, but dips in sales in some of its cars was a troubling enough trend that the company has chosen to downsize its mid-size productions. Despite zero-emissions vehicles being a priority, one of the cars the company announced it’s discontinuing is the electric Volt. Other mid-size sedans that are being axed include the Chevrolet Cruze and Impala, the Cadillac CT6 and XTS, and the Buick LaCrosse.