Trump ramps up GM threats

U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the press while departing the White House on November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC.Image copyright
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Donald Trump is ‘not happy’ about GM’s planned cuts

US President Donald Trump has escalated his attack on General Motors (GM) a day after the carmaker announced major job cuts.

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that he was “very disappointed” and “looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including … for electric cars”.

It was not immediately clear what specific subsidies he had in mind.

GM’s decision to halt production at factories in the US and Canada has angered many politicians.

For Mr Trump in particular, the cuts are a blow, as he has made rebuilding the US auto industry one of his administration’s priorities.

“I am not happy about it,” he said yesterday.

GM did not respond directly to questions about assistance it has received.

But the firm defended its restructuring plan, which it said supports “our ability to invest for future growth and position the company for long-term success and maintain and grow American jobs”.

It added: “We appreciate the actions this administration has taken on behalf of industry to improve the overall competitiveness of US manufacturing.”

Government assistance

General Motors benefits from a federal tax credit for electric vehicles, but the programme phases out after a manufacturer sells 200,000 cars.

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GM plans to stop making several models in North America, including the Buick LaCrosse

GM is expected to hit that cap in the next few months and has urged Congress to extend the credit.

The firm also received taxpayer assistance during the financial crisis and has been awarded federal grants worth hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years, according to a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a non-profit that tracks corporate subsidies.

That bailout has been cited by Mr Trump and leaders of labour unions, who have criticised GM’s planned cuts.

The firm on Monday said it would reduce its salaried workforce by 15% and shut eight factories around the world.

The restructuring follows a decline in auto sales and comes as the firm prepares for the next economic slump.

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More than 14,000 people in North America could lose jobs in GM’s restructuring

As part of the plans, GM said it planned to phase out certain models of slower-selling cars, halting production at four factories in the US and one in Canada.

The moves are likely to lead to the loss of more than 14,000 jobs in North America, including over 6,100 shift workers at the plants.

GM said many of the workers will have the opportunity to move to other GM factories. The company also continues to hire for technical and engineering roles related to electric and self-driving cars.