General Motors has announced significant layoffs – 15% of its workforce – in a bid to restructure the company.
“Today, GM is continuing to take proactive steps to improve overall business performance including the reorganization of its global product development staffs, the realignment of its manufacturing capacity and a reduction of salaried workforce,” a statement released by the company read.
“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.”
The company says it is responding to a changing landscape in the automotive industry with trends such as electric and self-driving automobiles emerging. Car sales have been strong in the U.S. for several years – over 17 million new cars have been sold in each of the past three years a first for the U.S. market. This year however has seen slagging sales and GM management is worried the slump could continue into next year.
In addition to the layoffs GM also signaled a move away from passenger cars announcing the discontinuing of the Chevy Volt, Impala and Cruze models for North America. The company choosing instead to concentrate on pickup trucks and SUVs.
The move simulates that of another major North American carmaker, Ford Motor Co., which announced in April that it will eliminate all but two car models from dealerships by 2020.
The news was harshly criticized by political leaders. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio called the changes “corporate greed at its worst.”
The moves were also harshly criticized by the President.
“I was very tough. I spoke with [Barra] when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors. You better get back in there soon. That’s Ohio. And you better get back in there soon. We have a lot of pressure on them,” President Donald Trump said.
“Not happy about it. [The Chevy Cruze] is not selling well, so they’ll put something else. I have no doubt that in a not-too-distant future, they’ll put something else. They better put something else in,” he added.
President Trump campaigned heavily on convincing manufactures to bring jobs back to the U.S.
Photo by the Office of Former Senator Claire McCaskill via Flickr