While U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade last week at General Motors and its CEO Mary Barra about its decision to propose idling four U.S. factories, Barra said she and the automaker are committed to growing jobs in the U.S., according to Fox Business. Barra iterated many of the same talking points first aired by CNBC last week, saying GM wants to create good-paying jobs. However, she did caution that while GM wants to add jobs, it must do so with a sustainable business model.
“I think when we talk about jobs and investing in the U.S. workforce and the American worker—that’s where General Motors and I think the president are very aligned,” Barra said in an interview with Fox Business.
Trump, in a series of tweets, excoriated Mary Barra and GM for ending operations at its Lordstown plant. Chevrolet Cruze production ended earlier this month with no public plans about the future of the plant known. This has worried area community leaders as the loss of jobs it could cost the Lordstown area economy $3B this year alone. Barra said 500 Lordstown employees have moved to other locations.
General Motors also received criticism for its move to produce the Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico. The news came as the automaker continued with its restructuring, laying off workers and idling factories. However, such a decision has to understood in context. While GM will build the Blazer in Mexico, production of the Cadillac XT5 moved to the U.S.
Some say GM’s PR navigation of the matter could use refinement. The announcement of idled factories and layoffs doesn’t gel well with the public or politicians who are seeing a strong U.S. economy, which could help some of those affected by GM’s restructuring quickly find new jobs. GM is reshaping itself for a future likely filled with electric and autonomous vehicles. However, to achieve success going forward, CEO Mary Barra is making the necessary changes to finance the future. It’s a political and PR nightmare for the automaker; however, if GM is right in its vision for the next generation of transportation, could turn into a windfall.