Ohio Representatives urge GM to reverse course after announced plant closures

Roman Schwartz
November 30, 2018

President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to contrast General Motors, which he rebuked this week after the automaker announced plans to lay off thousands of US workers as part of a broad restructuring move, with American steelmakers and other auto makers.

He said the small truck business in the USA has been a favorite for many years due to a 25-percent tariff on foreign trucks.

President Donald Trump's latest threats to get back at General Motors could end up doing the exact opposite of what he wants.

'If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here, ' Trump said, 'and G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland'.

President Trump weighed in too, saying he directed GM CEO Mary Barra to replace production in the affected factories with other models rather than closing plants.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, GM tried to appease the Trump administration while at the same time justifying the decisions it announced Monday.

Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday that his administration was "looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars".

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GM said it has invested more than $22 billion in USA operations since 2009, when it exited bankruptcy protection. Automakers were on pace before the GM layoffs to add 8,660 jobs this year.

Also, BMW didn't announce a major new plant, but its CEO said Tuesday the company is considering a new USA engine factory to supply assembly plants in SC and Mexico.

It's unclear exactly what subsidies Trump was referring to in his tweet, but most think he was talking about the electric-vehicle tax credit, which gives a $7,000 break to anyone who buys an electric vehicle.

But when it comes to General Motors' announcement of plant closures in the two countries, the two politicians are on the same page.

GM said in June that the trade war could lead to a "smaller GM", and the White House dismissed the warning as "smoke and mirrors".

The EU has already retaliated against the United States earlier this year for the steep tariffs Trump imposed on steel and aluminum, which Brussels says are "deeply unjustified". In 2009, for instance, GM announced that it meant to close a huge assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan, north of Detroit. He also warned GM the White House is studying moves he can take using his executive powers to punish the company. He argued that would make US -made vehicles of the same class more competitive and create jobs at home. That figure was about 50 percent cars just five years ago. The ability to make more components in the USA would help BMW address local content rules, according to Bloomberg.

"If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here", Trump wrote on Twitter. The bill is reactionary in a way that will do nothing to sway GM, Wyndham said.

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