General Motors will close five of its plants in North America.
To go along with these cuts GM now has a new slogan going forward; "Zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion." This new slogan is as far a cry as is possible from the way GM used to conduct business as they were one of the pioneers of the American Muscle Car, along with big gas guzzlers.
These cuts are also designed to improve efficiency on the roads. According to CNN, the cuts will save the company a total of $6 billion by the end of 2020. The plants that will cease production on cars are Detroit, Michigan; Warren, Ohio; Whitewash, Maryland; Warren, Michigan; and Oshawa, Ontario. The aforementioned plants produced mostly sedans which have waned in popularity in recent years.
The sedans built in these plants include the Chevrolet Volt, Cruze & Impala, Cadillac XTS, and CT6, and the Buick LaCrosse. Of the plants closed, two of them made parts for those cars and some of them made trucks as well, but that was redundant as the trucks are also built in Mexico. Three plants are also going to close outside of North America, one of which is in South Korea. These closures are the first North American ones to shutter their doors since 2010. Because of the announcements, GM's stock went up more than five percent on the day of the announcement.
The times are changing in the auto industry and these changes will come at a cost, not just for companies that aren't willing to pivot to meet market demands but also for people working for all automakers. With Monday's closures comes at the expense of 8,000 salaried workers and 6,000 hourly workers. Last month, 18,000 employees were offered buy-outs. These cuts have also caused the union to state that the decision doesn't "live up to the spirit" of commitments made during the 2016 contract negotiations. Some workers at the Oshawa plant even walked off the job. The United Autoworkers Union have also stated that they will be fighting the decision made. UAW Vice President Terry Dittes had this to say, "This callous decision by GM to reduce or cease operations in American plants, while opening or increasing production in Mexico and China plants for sales to American consumers, is, in its implementation, profoundly damaging to our American workforce."
These closures will have wide-reaching consequences beyond General Motors as a company. There's a good chance that the other two members of The Big Three may make similar closures in hopes of improving the bottom line.