Photographer: David Maxwell/Bloomberg

GM Firing 1,500 Workers Undermines Trump's Boasts on Auto Jobs

Updated on
  • Carmaker plans to cut a shift at Ohio plant making Chevy Cruze
  • Trump claims ‘beautiful, brand new auto plants’ being built

General Motors Co. will fire as many as 1,500 workers at the end of June at the Ohio factory building the Chevrolet Cruze compact car, undercutting President Donald Trump’s bombast about bringing back auto jobs.

The Lordstown assembly plant will operate on only one shift as part of the cutback, spokeswoman Dayna Hart said in an email. The company will be roughly halving the workforce at the factory, though Hart wrote that it’ll remain open for the foreseeable future.

“Lordstown is among the few remaining builders of small cars in the U.S. and it is our plan to keep it that way,” she said. “GM recently stated our commitment to sedans and the role Cruze plays in that commitment.”

The job cuts fly in the face of Trump’s repeated claims that he’s spurring a renaissance in U.S. auto factory jobs. He’s touted investments in American plants as proof that his administration is revitalizing the Midwest at the expense of Mexico.

As recently as this week, Trump has touted the move by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to retool an existing plant to make heavy-duty Ram pickups. He’s incorrectly claimed that the company is leaving Mexico and building a new factory in Michigan. The Italian-American automaker is actually re-purposing the current heavy-duty truck factory in Saltillo, Mexico, to build commercial vehicles.

Turnaround Claim

“We’re turning it around,” Trump said Thursday from the White House Rose Garden. “Already, Chrysler is coming back with auto plants. Many companies are now in Michigan, Ohio, different places, Pennsylvania. They’re building beautiful, brand new auto plants. Nobody thought they’d ever see that happen.”

GM’s plans for its Ohio factory are the result of American consumers snubbing cars in favor of crossovers. Cruze sales plunged 26 percent in the first three months of the year to less than 40,000 units and slipped 2.2 percent last year. Automakers have been laying off workers in passenger-car plants as roomier sport utility vehicles have seized record share of industrywide deliveries.

Marked for Death: Detroit ditching cars to mint money off trucks

GM shares slipped 0.3 percent to close at $38.73 on Friday. The stock has dropped 5.5 percent this year.

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