General Motors To Cut Shift At Chevy Cruze Plant In Ohio, Potentially Affecting 1,500 Workers

General Motors will close three assembly plants by the end of 2019, and lay off up to 5,600 workers. USA TODAY, USA TODAY

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra speaks about the financial outlook of the automaker, Jan. 10, 2017, in Detroit.(Photo: Paul Sancya, AP)

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General Motors is poised to end production at five plants in the U.S. and Canada, kill off several passenger cars – including the Chevrolet Impala – and slash 15 percent of its salaried workforce in a sweeping cost-cutting plan designed to boost profits and adjust to America's changing tastes in vehicles.

The Detroit-based automaker said it would end production by the end of 2019 at its Lordstown Assembly plant in northeast Ohio, its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in southeast Michigan, its Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario, its Baltimore Operations parts plant in Maryland and its Warren Transmission Operations plant in southeast Michigan.

The moves reflect the stark consumer shift to SUVs, crossovers and pickups. All of the GM plants on the chopping block make passenger cars.

The company will also discontinue the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt in North America as well as the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS and Cadillac CT6.

While sales of those models were suffering, they continued to support thousands of jobs. GM has about 1,500 employees at the Detroit plant, 1,600 at the Lordstown factory and 2,500 in Oshawa.

About half of those workers will be given the chance to relocate to another GM operation, the company said.

The announcement comes ahead of next year's contract talks with the United Auto Workers union, which could potentially lead to decisions to devote vehicles to those facilities.

The union vowed to fight the plan, but there's a serious chance that the plants will close for good.

More: GM to kill Chevrolet Volt, Cruze, Impala as Americans ditch passenger cars

More: GM offers buyouts to 18,000 salaried workers, says layoffs possible

CEO Mary Barra is seeking to reposition GM for a future defined by self-driving cars, ride-sharing networks and electric vehicles.

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Olds Motor Works was founded in 1897, the same year
Olds Motor Works was founded in 1897, the same year it created the first Oldsmobile. General Motors was incorporated in 1908 and Oldsmobile became a part of GM. Here's a look back at the history of General Motors and its many iconic vehicles. General Motors>FullscreenThe first Cadillac's were produced in 1902 and were
The first Cadillac's were produced in 1902 and were modeled after horse drawn carriages. Cadillac became part of General Motors in 1909. General Motors>FullscreenIn 1907, the first Oakland automobile was created.
In 1907, the first Oakland automobile was created. The company was soon bought by GM and would become know as Pontiac. General Motors>FullscreenCadillac placed the first order for closed-body cars
Cadillac placed the first order for closed-body cars in 1910. General Motors>FullscreenThe Pontiac brand was introduced in 1926 by General
The Pontiac brand was introduced in 1926 by General Motors. General Motors>FullscreenThe Chevrolet Suburban first came out in 1935 and is
The Chevrolet Suburban first came out in 1935 and is one of the longest-running nameplates in production. General Motors>FullscreenWidely regarded as the industry's first concept car,
Widely regarded as the industry's first concept car, the Buick Y-Job is a landmark vehicle in automotive history. Constructed in 1938 under the direction of Harley J. Earl, GM's first design chief, the Y-Job was the first to have retractable headlamps, power windows, power convertible top and integrated side panels. GM, Wieck>FullscreenThe Buick XP-300 was one of two dream cars built in
The Buick XP-300 was one of two dream cars built in 1951. The original styling and a super-charged engine, helped give way to a new era of cars. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1951 Le Sabre concept car set the trend for the
The 1951 Le Sabre concept car set the trend for the 50s. General Motors>FullscreenIn 1953, Chevrolet rolled out its first sports car,
In 1953, Chevrolet rolled out its first sports car, the Chevy Corvette. General Motors.>FullscreenGeneral Motors produced the first Cadillac Eldorado
General Motors produced the first Cadillac Eldorado in 1953 and it was used in President Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural parade. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1953 Firebird I concept car was the first gas turbine
The 1953 Firebird I concept car was the first gas turbine engine car. General Motors built the car as an engineering and styling exercise. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1953 Buick Wildcat was a concept car that featured
The 1953 Buick Wildcat was a concept car that featured a new front fender style. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass concept car got its name
The 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass concept car got its name and avionic design from a Navy fighter plane. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1955 Chevrolet Nomad  station wagon.
The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air is known for those classic
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air is known for those classic fins. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1961 Mako Shark Corvette concept car.
The 1961 Mako Shark Corvette concept car. General Motors>FullscreenThe most prominent feature of the 1963 Corvette was
The most prominent feature of the 1963 Corvette was the split back window. General Motors>FullscreenThough it wasn't the first muscle car, the 1964 Pontiac
Though it wasn't the first muscle car, the 1964 Pontiac GTO is heralded as a trend setter for the era. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado is often credited as being
The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado is often credited as being the first front wheel drive vehicle. General Motors>Fullscreen1967 was the year that heralded the classic Camaro
1967 was the year that heralded the classic Camaro pony car. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1970 Monte Carlo.
The 1971 Monte Carlo. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird.
The 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. General Motors>FullscreenThe 1984 Corvette.
The 1984 Corvette. General Motors.>FullscreenThe 1992 Ultralite concept car could get up to 100
The 1992 Ultralite concept car could get up to 100 miles per gallon. General Motors>FullscreenThe 2009 Corvette is one of the fastest vehicles produced
The 2009 Corvette is one of the fastest vehicles produced by General Motors Richard Prince, General Motors>FullscreenThe 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric car was named North
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric car was named North American Car of the Year. General Motors>FullscreenThe 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport General Motors>FullscreenThe 2017 Cadillac Escalade.
The 2017 Cadillac Escalade. General Motors>Fullscreen2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Camaro.
2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Camaro. General Motors>Fullscreen

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    The cuts will make GM "lean and agile" as the company aims to "lead in autonomous and lead in electric vehicles," Barra said.

    The poilitical backlash against GM was swift and intense. President Donald Trump said he was "very tough" on Barra in a one-on-one conversation about the decision.

    "This country has done a lot for General Motors," Trump said as he departed the White House for a series of campaign events in Mississippi. "They better get back to Ohio and soon. So we have a lot of pressure on them."

    Meanwhile, fans of fuel-efficient vehicles were dismayed at the loss of several smaller cars and the semielectric Volt.

     The automaker trumpeted the Volt for years as a symbol of its alternative propulsion expertise, but the company has since pivoted toward building fully battery-powered cars, such as the Chevy Bolt. The Volt, whose production model debuted about 10 years ago, still had a small gas engine paired with its battery pack.

    Like the Volt, the Cruze was also described for years as an illustration of GM's recovery after its federal bailout and bankruptcy. GM's decision to locate Cruze production in Ohio breathed new life into the Lordstown plant and was hailed by President Barack Obama's administration as reflective of the auto industry's revival.

    GM isn't getting rid of all of its passenger cars. It's keeping models such as the Chevy Malibu, Chevy Bolt, Cadillac CTS and Buick Regal.

    GM deserves credit for "taking bold action" but risks losing in the long run if consumers rediscover passenger cars, said Mike Ramsey, a transportation and mobility analyst for Gartner.

    "There’s no guarantee that it’s going to stay SUV, SUV, SUV, SUV," Ramsey said. "There may be a big return to sedans. So it could be problematic for them."

    Taken together, the moves will deliver more than $6 billion in additional annual cash flow by the end of 2020, GM said. That includes $4 billion in cost cuts and $1.5 billion in reduced capital expenditures.

    The UAW said it would "confront this decision by GM through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership."

    It's a "callous decision" to cut American operations about 10 years after the automaker first accepted federal bailout money, UAW GM official Terry Dittes said in a statement.

    “GM’s production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days," Dittes said. "These decisions are a slap in the face to the memory and recall of that historical American made bailout.”

    GM said it would also close two additional plants outside of North America by the end of 2019. It will also continue with plans to close its plant in Gunsan, South Korea.

    The workforce reduction will affect 15 percent of the company's salaried and salaried contract workforce. It's not clear how many of those cuts will be voluntary and how many will take the form of layoffs. GM offered buyouts to 18,000 workers several weeks ago.

    GM has 54,000 salaried workers in North America, meaning the company will cut about 8,000 of those positions, GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said. 

    While Morrissey declined to specify how many workers agreed to take the buyout offer, he said, "We did not get all 8,000 of that reduction through voluntary buyouts." 

    GM is expected to do involuntary cuts "sometime in January," he said. 

    The company said it would also have 25 percent fewer executives.

    Contributing: Detroit Free Press reporter Jamie Lareau, USA TODAY reporter John Fritze

    Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

    Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/11/26/gm-general-motors-plant-closures-job-cuts/2113275002/

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