Both U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are expressing disappointment with General Motors’ announcement it is slashing 15 percent of its salaried workforce and halting production at five facilities across North America,
“We don’t like it,” Trump said. “I believe they will be opening up something else (in the state of Ohio).”
The president told reporters at the White House that he had spoken with the chairman and chief executive officer of America’s top carmaker, Mary Barra, and that he “was very tough” with her. “I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, ‘You know, this country has done a lot for General Motors. You better get back in there.’”
Trump, speaking Monday afternoon prior to boarding Marine One to head to political rallies in the state of Mississippi, added: “They say the Chevy Cruze is not selling well. I said, well, get a car that is selling well and put it back in. I think you’ll see something else happen there.”
He also pressed Barra to close down GM’s production in China, the president told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
Trudeau, on Twitter, said his government “we’ll do everything we can to help the families of those affected by this news get back on their feet.”
The Canadian prime minister added that he had spoken with Barra on Sunday “to express my deep disappointment in the closure” of the factory in Oshawa in the province of Ontario.
Barra, in a statement, said her company’s decision is motivated by market pressure and she will transform GM “to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future.”
“This industry is changing very rapidly,” Barra later said during a briefing for reporters. “These are things we are doing to strengthen our core business.”
Besides Ottawa and Ohio — a critical swing state for the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign — GM will shut down the Detroit-Hamtramck factory in the U.S. state of Michigan. Plants in Baltimore, Maryland, and another in the suburban Detroit community of Warren, which make powertrain components, have no products assigned to them after 2019 and risk being closed, according to the automaker. It also revealed it will shutter two unidentified factories outside North America.
GM says said it is shifting its focus to electric and autonomous vehicles, but the transition will mean the loss of 6,300 hourly and salaried workers.
Declining demand for sedans and the anti-globalist policies of the Trump administration have taken their toll on the automotive manufacturer. The company has said that steel tariffs imposed earlier this year have cost it $1 billion.
Shares of GM, which reported surprisingly strong third quarter earnings, closed Monday up nearly 5 percent, after rising 7.9 percent during the trading session on the New York Stock Exchange.