Trump Slams GM: Plants Close as Economy Grows

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on election night

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on election night Aleksei Pavloff

President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to paint General Motors' plant closures as an anomaly, claiming auto companies are "pouring into the U.S." and BMW is building "a major new plant".

Trump said Tuesday that he was "very disappointed" that General Motors was closing plants in the United States and warned that the White House was "now looking at cutting all GM subsidies", including for its electric cars program.

The U.S. government lost $11.2 billion on its bailout of General Motors, according to a 2014 government report.

Beyond the subsidies given to customers, GM has received about $333.5 million in federal spending in the past 12 months, according to a USA government website that tracks federal expenditures.

Shares of GM rose 0.7 percent to $36.95.

The US automaker explained its decision as a response to a slowdown in new-car sales, as well as to consumers shifting toward pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles. "The booming!" he tweeted.

"What's really disgusting is how Tim Ryan, Sherrod Brown and Dave Betras use the Lordstown issue as an excuse to criticize President Trump, who has done more to boost American jobs than any president in memory", Munroe said.

While it's true that GM, like other USA automakers, has received substantial federal assistance over the years - including a almost $50 billion bailout in 2009 - experts cast doubt on the idea that Trump could unwind federal aid for the company by executive fiat. "Don't move, don't sell your house", he said. Kudlow, who met with Barra on Monday, said Trump felt betrayed by GM.

"Look, we made this deal, we've worked with you along the way, we've done other things with mileage standards, for example, and other related regulations", Kudlow said.

"They're all coming back".

A White House rebuke to GM would fly in the face of long-held Republican opposition to picking winners in the marketplace. You better get back in there soon. GM is expected to hit that 200,000-unit limit at near the end of this year, which triggers the process of diminishing the credit until it's phased out completely.

It's also hard, if not impossible, for Trump to overcome the dynamics that are driving companies to choose robots over humans, discontinue brands and close plants. The decision also affects employment at GM locations in Baltimore and Michigan's Brownstown and Warren transmission plants. GM announced some fresh investments in US factories, which seemed to placate Trump.

The president also said other countries sending their cars to the USA have been taking advantage of the situation for decades.

The company said the cuts - 2,500 jobs in Oshawa, GM's Canadian heartland, as well as 3,300 production workers in the USA and 8,000 salaried staff - are part of a dramatic course correction aimed at better positioning GM for the dominance of electrified, interconnected and automated automobiles.

The German automaker said if it goes ahead with plans for a United States engine plant, it is because it needs to supply engines to its North American assembly plants. The company has also promised to add technical and engineering personnel to support the development of electric and autonomous vehicles.

U.S. Steel earlier this year announced plans to restart its Granite City blast furnace. The company hopes to save $6 billion in the largest restructuring since its bankruptcy ten years ago.

Keeping open a factory slated to close is not without precedent at GM, and Lordstown has been near death before and managed to survive.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer on Tuesday criticized Trump for "overpromising" as a candidate about protecting against plant closures if he was elected. In 2009, for instance, GM announced that it meant to close a huge assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan, north of Detroit. Those SUVs are the only models built in that plant. "If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here". "Today, GM is continuing to take proactive steps to improve overall business performance, including the reorganization of its global product development staffs, the realignment of its manufacturing capacity and a reduction of salaried workforce". In October, nearly 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the USA were trucks or SUVs.

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