ibusinesslines.com December 17, 2018

General Motors To Close Ohio Plant, Thousands Affected

26 November 2018, 10:15 | Kelvin Horton

GM employs about 2,500 union staff in Oshawa which produces both the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans

GM employs about 2,500 union staff in Oshawa which produces both the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans

GM shares rose 5.4 percent to $37.90 in midday trading on Monday.

GM plans to halt production next year at three assembly plants - Lordstown, Ohio, Hamtramck, Michigan, and Oshawa, Ontario.

At the time, GM was reviewing whether to cancel at least six passenger cars in the USA market after 2020, including the Chevrolet Volt hybrid, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Sonic, according to sources familiar with the review. The Cruze compact vehicle will be discontinued in the US market in 2019.

On Monday morning, dozens of workers were seen walking out of the assembly plant, with some saying they were very unhappy with news of the planned closure.

The news comes shortly after the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement.

"If GM Canada is indeed turning its back on 100 years of industry and community - abandoning workers and families in Oshawa - then this is a callous decision that must be fought", she said in a statement. The company also has said tariffs on imported steel, imposed earlier this year by the Trump administration, have cost it $1 billion.

GM plans to lay off about 6,000 factory workers.

"General Motors in Oshawa has been the anchor in that region since 1908", Mr. Volpe said by phone.

More than 16 months ago, the UAW confirmed that it was discussing with GM the potential threat to plants and jobs from slumping USA sedan sales.

In an emailed statement to CTV Toronto, GM spokesperson David Paterson said the company "won't be commenting. on speculation".

"In contrast to times past..."

"In contrast to times past, General Motors, under CEO Mary Barra, is trying to get ahead of a potential crisis by making cuts now", said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.

Even as GM is moving to lay off salaried staff, the company is hiring.

Sources tell 680 NEWS that GM is set to announce it will be phasing out operations over the course of the next year at the plant, which dates back to 1918. And over the next two years, GM will double how much it spends on electric and autonomous vehicles. Sales of the compact auto were down 27 percent through September, GM said.

The White House has yet to comment on GM's plans. He noted GM's Oshawa plant has, like other Canadian plants, elevated operating costs, even as it won industry awards for producing high-quality vehicles. GM has several plants running well below that.

Earlier this year, the second and third shifts at GM Lordstown were cut with employees being offered buyouts.

Congressman Tim Ryan called the decision, "Maddening".

The Oshawa Assembly plant recently became the only factory in North America capable of building both cars and trucks. But the restructuring is also about making cars people want now.

Rivals Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have both curtailed USA auto production. Of that amount, US$600 million was due largely to USA tariffs on imported steel and US$200 million from retaliatory tariffs imposed by China on American vehicles, Ford said.

US consumers have swiftly shifted away from passenger cars to larger, more comfortable SUVs and pickup trucks, leaving automakers scrambling to readjust. The Wall Street Journal reports, however, that the plan includes "phas [ing] out several vehicle models over the next year", which would suggest that sedan-producing plants have become expendable. Through the first nine months of 2018, that had fallen to a little over 31 percent.

The decline of traditional passenger cars in favor of larger SUVs and pickup trucks has been a major factor in GM's evolution. As well as being roomier, the fuel economy on SUVs and crossovers has improved significantly. USA sales of the Impala were down 13 percent through September. "GM didn't build Oshawa, Oshawa built GM".

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