GM to close plants in Canada, Ohio, Maryland and MI


Republican Senator Rob Portman told GM chief executive Mary Barra on Monday that the company should bring a new product to the plant and he also urged GM "to at least reallocate some of the production and employees to the Toledo GM plant".

Shares spiked on the news. Plants that will be "unallocated" in 2019 include Lordstown, as well as Detroit-Hamtramck in MI and Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Canada.

Further plants in White Marsh, Maryland, and Warren, Michigan will be "unallocated". It announced similar fates for three factories in MI and one in OH, and said it would also close two unspecified facilities outside North America.

The moves are calculated to dramatically slash costs and capital expenditures. GM said the cuts will boost automotive free cash flow by US$6 billion by the end of 2020 and result in one-time charges of up to US$3.8 billion in the fourth quarter of this year and first quarter of 2019.

GM is cutting more than 6,300 hourly and salaried workers at its plants and 15 per cent of the salaried workers in North America for a total of more than 14,000.

About 18,000 of its 50,000 salaried employees in North America have been eligible for the buyouts.

"This callous decision by GM to reduce or cease operations in American plants, while opening or increasing production in Mexico and China plants for sales to American consumers, is, in its implementation, profoundly damaging to our American workforce", said Terry Dittes, UAW vice president. GM said the closure affects a total of 2,973 assembly line jobs. It also completes final assembly of the stronger-selling Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks which are shipped from Indiana. But the automaking leader of the future may not be GM or one of its traditional rivals. Under Unifor's four-year contract signed in 2016, GM must give the union a year's notice before closing the plant. "We think it is appropriate to do it at this time while the company is strong and the economy is strong". "Obviously incentives by themselves don't keep a vehicle plant open", said the executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The company has been making cars there for 65 years, and is still pumping out models such as the Chevrolet Impala.

Most of the factories to be affected by GM's restructuring build cars that will not be sold in the US after next year.

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GM said it was ending Volt production because the vehicle was meant to be a bridge to fully electric cars when it was introduced about a decade ago.

Jerry Dias, head of the Unifor union that represents about 2,500 employees at the plants, said he does accept that the company has planned no autos for the factory beyond December, 2019.

GM's latest move includes the possible closure of seven plants worldwide, as the firm shifts its focuses from away from a stagnant sedan/saloon auto market.

Meanwhile, GM's Barra said Monday the company will be investing in autonomous and electric vehicle technology.

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Oshawa Mayor John Henry said he hopes the news is "just a rumour", and adds that he had not spoken to anyone from GM.

Sales of Cruze, built at Lordstown, fell 27 percent through September 2018.