President Trump has been an outspoken critic of General Motors since his title of president-elect, but he opened up more about the nation’s largest automaker in a new interview with Fox News.
Reuters reported on the televised interview on Thursday where the president said GM’s electric car strategy is “not going to work.”
“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that [CEO Mary Barra is] doing I think is a mistake,” President Trump said.
GM announced last year it planned to introduce 20 new electric cars by 2023. However, it’s highly unlikely the United States will see all 20 models. Many automakers, including GM, have been swayed by Chinese regulations, which will require automakers to sell more zero-emission vehicles to do business in the country.
In the U.S., the Trump administration has proposed freezing fuel economy requirements at 2020 levels.
Although GM consistently says its “Triple Zero” vision guides its decisions, the market for electric cars remains incredibly small in the U.S. Pickup trucks and SUVs continue to fund investments in future vehicles. GM will also soon lose its $7,500 electric-car tax credit after it sells 200,000 qualifying vehicles.
President Trump has threatened to revoke the credit in retaliation to the automaker’s decision to idle four U.S. manufacturing plants, which comes at the cost of up to 15,000 layoffs. Crucially, two car production plants are in Ohio and Michigan, key states that helped the president win the 2016 election.
On the topic of plant closures, the president said the news is “not acceptable to me” and continued to urge GM to reverse its decision to idle the plants.
“Ohio is going to replace those jobs in like two minutes,” President Trump said. “She’s either going to open fast or somebody else is going to go in.”
GM cannot shut down the plants without negotiating their closure with the United Auto Workers. Labor negotiations will begin next year as the current contract expires next September.