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Reports say GM will invest $1 billion in U.S. plants, adding more than 1,000 jobs

Action follows Trump’s threats to automakers

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Combined dispatches


General Motors plans to announce today that it will invest $1 billion in U.S. plants, adding more than 1,000 jobs, according to a source familiar with the automaker’s plans.

The new investment and jobs first was reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, was told by a source that multiple factories will see investment, but GM won’t say where the new jobs will go.

President-elect Donald Trump has attacked GM and other automakers for building vehicles in Mexico and shipping them to the U.S.

Trump has threatened to tax GM for importing the compact Chevrolet Cruze. While GM builds hatchback Cruzes in Mexico, most Cruze sales are Lordstown-built sedans.

Trump praised Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles last week for investing in the United States and adding jobs here. GM declined to comment Monday night, and representatives with Trump’s transition team could not immediately be reached.

Although details of GM’s investment, including at which plants, and the timing of the investments, was not immediately known, its announcement of new U.S. jobs and investment has been previously scheduled – and was not in response to Trump, according to a source familiar with the company’s planning.

Fiat Chrysler on Jan. 8 said it would invest $1 billion in plants in Michigan and Ohio, adding 2,000 jobs to produce new Jeep vehicles. Earlier in January, Ford announced it would invest $700 million in its Flat Rock Assembly plant, adding 700 jobs as it adds production of a new electric small SUV and an autonomous hybrid vehicle. Ford also said it canceled plans for a new small car plant in Mexico.

“I hope that General Motors will be following,” Trump said at a news conference last week. “I think they will be.”

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly targeted Ford for its plans to move small-car production to Mexico. Trump tweeted earlier this month that GM was shipping some Cruze vehicles from Mexico to the U.S.: “General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!”

The Detroit News reported that GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and Trump talked after the tweet, and Barra told reporters Jan. 8 that GM did not plan to change its production with the Cruze Hatchback.

In November, GM announced it would cut the third shifts and lay off more than 2,000 hourly workers in January at its Lansing Grand River Assembly and Lordstown. The news of the layoffs due to slowing sales of small cars came the same day GM said it planned to invest more than $900 million at three U.S. plants.

Those investments included $211 million at its Lansing Grand River plant for new tooling and equipment and a 32,000-square-foot addition to the body shop; $667.6 million for future products at Toledo Transmission and $37 million at Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana.

Last month, GM announced it would cut the second shift at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant in March, cutting some 1,300 jobs.