Trump vs. GM

General Motors Co. plans to cut up to 14,800 jobs in the U.S. and Canada and end production at several North American factories, marking the auto maker’s first significant downsizing since its bankruptcy last decade as the company tries to adjust to weak sedan sales.

The moves—affecting plants in Michigan, Ohio and Canada—would reduce GM’s annual costs by $4.5 billion by the end of 2020, freeing up money to invest in electric and self-driving vehicles. The decision, though, was called “callous” by the main auto workers union and prompted President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to each call GM Chief Executive Mary Barra to express their disappointment.

Ms. Barra said she wants to act now, despite strong economy and the company’s healthy earnings, to help GM sustain profits through an expected downturn in the U.S. car market and keep investing in burgeoning technologies.

“They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” Trump told the Journal. “I love Ohio,” Trump said. “I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person,'” he added, according to the Wall Street Journal. Trump continued: “I said, ‘I heard you’re closing your plant,'” he recalled from his conversation with Barra. “‘It’s not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you have a problem.'”

Ford also is restructuring its operations in the U.S. and overseas, including making deep cuts to its salaried workforce. The actions are aimed at improving profitability and helping it invest in new technologies that it believes are core to its long-term survival. GM’s announcement Monday drew rebukes from the United Auto Workers and elected officials, including those who represent factory towns affected by the production cuts.

 

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz