27 November, 2018
GM plans to shut down its auto assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, in order to focus on hybrids and zero emissions vehicles, resulting in around 2,500 job cuts, according to reports that began circulating on Sunday.
Still, several Twitterians suggested that GM was not the only one to be blamed and noted that the government could do more to save the plant. The company offered buyouts to 18,000 white-collar workers in October, but hasn't said how many accepted.
Barra said tariffs on imported aluminum and steel have hit the company, but she stopped short of saying they had anything to do with the restructuring.
"These actions will increase the long-term profit and cash generation potential of the company and improve resilience through the cycle", says GM CEO Mary Barra. The automaker intends to close the plant in December, 2019.
GM added that it expects to save some $6 billion by the end of 2020. Barra said the company will double resources dedicated to electric and self-driving vehicles over the next two years.
The plant makes the Chevrolet Impala, a once-popular vehicle that has seen its sales crater in recent years as consumer tastes shifted away from small and midsize sedans toward bigger vehicles like pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
GM, the largest automaker in the USA, which sells the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands, said the moves will save $6 billion in cash by the end of next year, including $4.5 billion in recurring annual cost reductions and a $1.5 billion reduction in capital spending.
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That was followed in 2008 with the closure of the city's truck plant, leading to a almost two-week blockade of GM Canada's head office in Oshawa. "We all know there is strong demand for manufacturing space in Detroit and we are willing to work with GM to fill all the available manufacturing space at Poletown with either GM-related entities or other companies".
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains listens to a question during a press conference on General Motors' decision regarding the future of its automotive plant in Oshawa, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.
The largest USA carmaker also said it will halt production at facilities in Lordstown, Ohio, Hamtramck, Michigan, and Oshawa, Ontario. Their futures will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year. They could get new vehicles to build or close altogether.
General Motors in Oshawa employs around 2,800 people and the plant has been in Oshawa for over 100 years.
GM said the closures, which will also affect four US factories, are part of a broader shift toward electric and autonomous vehicles. GM has informed the Canadian government of the plan.
GM will also close two additional plants outside of North America by next year. GM, Ford Motor Co. and other manufacturers have warned the US tariffs on metals and foreign autos will drive up prices and lead to layoffs.
As Michigan Radio reported, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called the news "troubling" and said that the union and local officials are "working together to come up with a solution that works for GM and the employees".