Would consider 'viable' opportunities for Cruze and Lordstown plant — GM


In addition to the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Orion Assembly plant now builds the Chevrolet Sonic and the Cruise AV test vehicles.

The company also announced plans Friday to spend about another $1.4 billion at USA factories with 300 more jobs but did not release a time frame or details. The company has promised to introduce 20 new all-electric vehicles globally by 2023.

The largest US automaker has come under heavy criticism from President Donald Trump in recent days over its decision to end production at its Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant earlier this month. Trump called GM CEO Mary Barra on Sunday to urge her to reverse the decision to end production at the OH plant, which is in a crucial state for the 2020 presidential election.

Orion Assembly now builds the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Sonic and the Cruise AV test vehicles. "This new Chevrolet electric vehicle is another positive step toward our commitment to an all-electric future", she said during the announcement Friday.

The new auto was originally expected to be built outside the U.S., but GM CEO Mary Barra said at an event announcing the new vehicle that terms of the new U.S./Mexico/Canada trade agreement encouraged the company to build it in the U.S. "So we're taking the steps and being responsible to make sure that we can continue to grow in these areas, and continue to have a strong USA manufacturing base that creates a lot of good paying jobs". GM has invested more than $22 billion in its USA manufacturing operations since 2009.

"There are a significant number of U.S.jobs that go to that product".

Plants slated for closure include Lordstown; Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan; Warren, Michigan; White Marsh, Maryland, near Baltimore and Oshawa, Ontario near Toronto. The factories largely make cars or components for them, and cars aren't selling well these days with a dramatic consumer shift to trucks and SUVs.

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Since killing off the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt previous year, the Orion plant is the heart of GM's electrification strategy moving forward.

GM has said it can place about 2,700 of the laid-off US workers at other factories, but it's unclear how many will uproot and take those positions. To date, 1,100 employees have been placed at other GM plants, with several hundred more in the process of being placed in new jobs. "And we've made it clear that we disagree with that", UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said.

The event is the first public meeting between Barra and Dittes since he was named to the position in June.

Trump, this week, in a series of tweets called on GM to reopen its Lordstown plant very quickly.

Trump allies acknowledged that Trump may be limited by what he can accomplish for the Lordstown plant, but they said his vocal advocacy signaled to his supporters in the area that he is fighting on their behalf. The state helped push him to victory in 2016, and Trump has focused on Lordstown, seldom mentioning the other USA factories that GM is slated to close.

"We want to create jobs, good paying jobs", Barra said, saying her talks with Trump had a "business focus".