November 26, 2018 per Steve Hanley
Detroit's sad cry that "No one wants to buy an electric car" is partially correct. Relatively few consumers want to buy a passenger car, period. As the market moves strongly toward SUVs, crossovers and light trucks, General Motors is finding it needs to cut its way back into passenger car manufacturing in North America. Today, November 26, GM announced that it will stop production at five assembly plants in North America – three of them build cars and the other two make components for passenger cars.
The plan will mean the loss of 14,700 industrial jobs – 6,000 in Canada and 8,700 in the US – along with a 15% reduction in its white collar workforce of 54,000. GM began asking about 18,000 employees to consider an early retirement offer in October as the company struggled to adjust to new market realities, the company said. The Guardian.
According to a GM press release, the factories scheduled to be closed are:
- Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
- Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit, Michigan.
- Assembly of Lordstown in Warren, Ohio.
The affected powertrain installations are
- Baltimore operations at White Marsh, Maryland.
- Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan.
Chevy Volt is dead
The company also confirmed Within EVs that the production of the Chevy Volt will end on March 1, 2019. Is it the end of the General's incursion into building electric cars? No. The press release continues: "GM has recently invested in newer, more efficient vehicle architectures, especially in trucks, crossovers and SUVs. GM intends to prioritize future investments in vehicles in its next-generation battery-electric architectures. With the current portfolio of vehicles optimized, more than 75 percent of GM's global sales volume is expected to come from five vehicle architectures by the beginning of the next decade. "
Hmmm … does this sound a lot like the happy talk coming out of VW's headquarters today? "Early in the next decade" sounds a lot like "maybe 5 years from now." GM could have leveraged the Voltec plug-in hybrid technology developed by the Volt to bring plug-in hybrid minivans, SUVs, crossovers and light truck pickups to market so far, but preferred to pass up the opportunity.
That did not stop him from pressuring the US government to reverse fuel economy standards so he could build more full-size pickups from Silverado and Sierra. Does anyone see the impressive hypocrisy behind these latest GM moves? Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, says: "We are taking this action now while the company and the economy are strong to stay ahead of changes in market conditions," Barra said in a teleconference. GM's share price rose 5.5% in the news.
The Trump Effect
Last July, Donald used taxpayer funds to visit Ohio, where he told people at a demonstration in his usual bombastic style: "I'll tell you what – I rode through your beautiful roads from the [Youngstown Warren Regional] Airport and I were looking at some of those once-incredible big factories that produced jobs, and my wife Melania said, "What happened?" I said, "These jobs left Ohio." Then he shouted, "They're all coming back. They're all coming back. Do not move. Do not sell your home ".
Today, with the news that the Lordstown factory is closing, many people who have believed in Trump's promises are going to put their homes on the market. It is difficult to pay a mortgage without a job. However, people continue to believe their lies even when reality proves they are wrong. According to a report by Good Jobs Nation, outsourcing US jobs by federal contractors rose to the highest level ever recorded in Trump's first year, when federal contractors sent 10,269 jobs overseas – almost triple the 3,801 in the last year. Obama Administration.
Trump told reporters today that he is not happy with what GM is doing. "We do not like it," he told reporters. "This country has done a lot for General Motors. They'd better get back to Ohio, and soon. Or, Donald? More empty promises and lies? General Motors also said today that the tariffs on steel imposed by Donald "trade wars are easy to beat" Trump cost $ 1 billion in profits so far, with more financial pain expected in the coming months. So thank you for that too, Mr. President.
GM can survive?
GM has experienced a decline in sales in China and the US, as customers are finding the offers of other companies more to their liking. He fled the European market last year, preferring to sell his operations to get the best available price than dealing with the tightening of EU emissions standards. He seems to be more interested in operating a fleet of autonomous vehicles in the cities of the world than actually selling automobiles.
GM is in a downward spiral? It is too early to say, but seems slightly shocked by the tectonic changes in the market that have occurred in recent years. He went into bankruptcy in 2008 and was bailed out by the taxpayers. There will probably be little appetite to do this again soon enough.
All three US automakers – GM, Ford and Chrysler – will be severely tested in the coming years, as they face increasing competition not only from Tesla, but also from Chinese manufacturers. There is every reason to believe that only one so-called Big Three will still be around for a decade.
A brilliant idea
CleanTechnica Regular reader Dan Allard has a great idea. Tesla needs a factory for the upcoming Y, Semi and Roadster models. Why not buy one of those closed GM plants and reuse it? After all, the Fremont factory was already part of the GM empire and buying it went very well for Tesla. The perspective of Tesla doing what GM says can not be done with these factories would be a delicious irony. It may be unlikely, but it would be a great idea and a great way to show GM the wrong path.