GM to slash 14K jobs in North America, could close 5 plants

Ann Santiago
November 27, 2018

General Motors will cut up to 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it abandons many of its auto models and restructures to focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

GM doesn't foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts "to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong," Barra told reporters.

Unlike its plants making passenger cars, many of GM's plants producing its higher-margin trucks and SUVs are running on three shifts, with some running six and sometimes seven days a week to keep up wih demand.

The Lordstown, Ohio, plant could also go, with GM's boss saying the factory's production of the Chevrolet Cruze would stop on 1 March.

Both U.S. vehicle assembly plants scheduled to stop production next year now build slow-selling passenger cars.

General Motors is closing a Canadian plant at the cost of about 2,500 jobs, but that is apparently just a piece of a much broader, company-wide restructuring that will be announced as early as Monday.

The reduction includes about 8,000 white-collar employees, or 15 per cent of GM's North American white-collar workforce.

Unlike Japanese automakers Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Honda Motor Co Ltd and Toyota Motor Corp, which rely on a more flexible system where they make multiple vehicles at a single plant, GM has too many factories that make just a single model. GM says the move is part of a transformation for the future, which includes an increased focus on next generation battery-electric vehicles.

General Motors announced Monday that Lordstown, along with several other plants of operation, will remain "unallocated" meaning they won't receive any new product. Two transmission plants - one in White Marsh, Md., and another in Warren, Mich. - are also set to stop production.

Altogether, GM has five auto factories with plenty of unused capacity in Kansas City, Kansas; Lordstown; and Detroit-Hamtramck, Lansing, and Orion Township, Michigan. The plant is used to make the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala sedans as well as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. Sales of the compact auto were down 27 percent through September, GM said. The cuts would not benefit the balance sheet until 2019, and GM conceded that it will consider layoffs at the start of 2019 if not enough workers accept the buyout.

Two years after General Motors Corp. buys the McLaughlin Motor Car Company, its Oshawa operations becomes the company's the export manufacturing base.

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the company is aiming to cut executive positions by 25 percent, as part of its overall push to cut it workforce. A total of 14,700 factory and white-collar workers will be laid off as a result of the closures.

Last month, GM offered a voluntary severance program to 18,000 longtime salaried employees in North America.

The likely shutdowns have already opened up GM to political pushback, with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeting that he has expressed "deep disappointment" with Barra directly.

Meanwhile, GM's Barra said Monday the company will be investing in autonomous and electric vehicle technology.

The Oshawa closure would be a big deal for Canada.

General Motors is closing five production plants in the us and Canada, but it looks like the company's Arlington plant is still going at full speed.

A former Canadian auto executive said it would be hard for Canadian government officials to entice GM further to keep the plant open.

Bobbi Marsh, who has worked assembling the Chevrolet Cruze compact vehicle at the OH plant since 2008, said she can't understand why the factory might close given the strong economy.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article