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GM to Cease Production of Chevy Cruze at Lordstown Plant

GM to Cease Production of Chevy Cruze at Lordstown Plant”

"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", Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO, said in a news release.

Though the plant, once one of the largest vehicle manufacturing facilities in the world, has curbed production dramatically in recent years, the news still came as a shock to the many workers filing into the facility.

Those include a factory in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM makes the Cruze; the Detroit-Hamtramck plant in the company's hometown, where it makes the Volt and several large sedans; and a factory in Oshawa, Ontario, where such models as the Impala, the Cadillac XTS, the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra pickup are made.

Among the possibilities on the chopping block are the Detroit/Hamtramck assembly plant, which makes the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Impala and Volt, and the Cadillac CT6, all slow-selling cars.

General Motors will close its production plant in Oshawa along with four facilities in the U.S.as part of a global reorganization that will see the company focus on electric and autonomous vehicle programs. Most of the affected factories build cars that won't be sold in the US after next year. "We supported GM years ago when they were in trouble".

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The union representing the Oshawa auto workers says it will put up what it calls "the fight of our lives" to keep the plant open.

Members of Unifor, the union representing the workers of Oshawa's General Motors vehicle assembly plant, parked their cars to block the entrance to the plant, Ont., Monday Nov 26, 2018.

The company also said it will stop operating two additional factories outside North America by the end of next year, in addition to a previously announced plant closure in Gunsan, South Korea. The Cruze compact vehicle will be discontinued in the U.S. market in 2019.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles got out of small and midsize cars two years ago, while Ford announced plans to shed all cars but the Mustang sports auto in the United States in the coming years. The cuts would not benefit the balance sheet until 2019, and GM conceded that it will consider layoffs at the start of 2019 if not enough workers accept the buyout. "For decades, workers have devoted their lives, working day and night, to produce some of the finest cars in the country for General Motors". "In the meantime, we've set up a jobs center to help employees find new work as quickly as possible", he said in the statement.

Barra did not link Monday's cuts to tariff pressures, but said trade costs are among the "headwinds" GM has to face as it deals with broader technology change and market shifts. The company last month offered voluntary buyouts for 18,000 salaried workers.

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General Motors shut down its Australian manufacturing arm in October 2017, closing its Adelaide plant and placing 944 people out of work. The company will instead concentrate on trucks and SUVs, and will double its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Barra said in a conference call with reporters that she wanted to transition the company when times were good.

Governor Kasich says he is seeing if there is any way to preserve the Lordstown plant and his office is going to do everything it can to help affected families have access to new opportunities.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with Barra and expressed "deep disappointment". "The ship has already left the dock", he said.

"We need to make sure that we are well positioned to compete, not just over the next few years, but well beyond", she said.

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