GM ships $300 million to Michigan to build electric vehicle


ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Less than a week after a series of critical tweets from the president over an Ohio plant closure, General Motors is announcing plans to add 400 jobs and build a new electric vehicle at a factory north of Detroit.

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township, Mich., to manufacture a Chevrolet vehicle based on the battery-powered Bolt.

GM wouldn't say when the new workers will start or when the new vehicle will go on sale, nor would it say if the workers will be new hires or come from a pool of laid-off workers from the planned closings of four U.S. factories by January.

The company also announced plans today to spend about another $1.4 billion at U.S. factories with 300 more jobs but did not release a time frame or details.

The moves come after last weekend's string of venomous tweets by President Donald Trump condemning GM for shutting its small-car factory in Lordstown, near Warren. During the weekend, Trump demanded that GM reopen the plant or sell it, criticized the local union leader and expressed frustration with CEO Mary Barra.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said the investment has been in the works for weeks. Indeed, GM has said it planned to build more vehicles off the underpinnings of the Bolt, which can go an estimated 238 miles on a single electric charge. The company has promised to introduce 20 new all-electric vehicles globally by 2023.

In November, GM announced plans to shut the four U.S. factories and one in Canada. About 3,300 workers in the U.S. would lose their jobs, as well as 2,600 in Canada. Another 8,000 white-collar workers were targeted for layoff. The company said the moves are necessary to stay financially healthy as GM faces large capital expenditures to shift to electric and autonomous vehicles.

Plants slated for closure include Lordstown; Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich.; Warren, Mich.; White Marsh, Md., near Baltimore and Oshawa, Ontario, near Toronto. The factories largely make cars or components for them, and cars aren't selling well these days with a dramatic consumer shift to trucks and SUVs. With the closures, GM is canceling multiple car models due to slumping sales, including the Chevrolet Volt plug-in gas-electric hybrid.

GM has said it can place about 2,700 of the laid-off U.S. workers at other factories, but it's unclear how many will uproot and take those positions. More than 1,100 have already transferred, and others are retiring.

10:18 a.m.

ORION, MICH. — General Motors announced today it’s investing $300 million in its Orion Township, Mich., assembly plant to produce a new Chevrolet electric vehicle that will bring 400 new jobs there.

GM said the announcement is part of its commitment to invest a total of $1.8 billion in its United States manufacturing operations, creating 700 new jobs and supporting 28,000 jobs across six states.

The new Chevrolet electric vehicle is in addition to the existing Chevrolet Bolt EV, further advancing GM’s commitment to an all-electric future. It will be designed and engineered off an advanced version of the current Bolt EV architecture. Additional product information and timing for the new Chevrolet EV will be released closer to production.

“We are excited to bring these jobs and this investment to the U.S.,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra during an announcement at the plant. “This new Chevrolet electric vehicle is another positive step toward our commitment to an all-electric future. GM will continue to invest in our U.S. operations where we see opportunities for growth.”

In addition to the job growth at the Orion plant, GM has job opportunities at several other U.S. manufacturing plants for virtually all U.S. hourly employees impacted by the recent announcement of unallocated plants, including Lordstown. Other GM manufacturing plants adding jobs include Toledo; Flint, Mich.; Spring Hill, Tenn.; Bowling Green, Ky.; and Arlington, Texas.

For the 2,800 impacted U.S. hourly employees at GM’s unallocated plants, GM has confirmed it has 2,700 openings across its U.S. manufacturing plants. To date, 1,100 employees have been placed at other GM plants, with several hundred more in the process of being placed in new jobs. In addition, 1,200 of these employees are retirement eligible.

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