GM CEO Mary Barra will keep an ‘open mind’ on plant clos­ing

Business World - - World Business -

WASH­ING­TON — Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. (GM) Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) Mary Barra on Wed­nes­day vowed to keep an “open mind” about the fu­ture of an Ohio plant that will lose ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion, but warned the Detroit au­tomaker has ex­cess ca­pac­ity and did not sug­gest the com­pany was re­con­sid­er­ing the plan.

Ms. Barra came un­der pres­sure from Ohio’s two US se­na­tors and other law­mak­ers who want GM to shift pro­duc­tion of a ve­hi­cle from Mex­ico or build elec­tric ve­hi­cles at the Lordstown As­sem­bly plant in their state that the au­tomaker has said it in­tends to close.

“I want to make sure that the work force knows that there are lim­i­ta­tions and we do have an over­ca­pac­ity across the coun­try,” Ms. Barra said, urg­ing work­ers at plants set to close to take se­ri­ously of­fers of GM jobs in other parts of the coun­tries.

In a brief Reuters in­ter­view af­ter her meet­ings Wed­nes­day, she said it would be “very costly” to shift pro­duc­tion from Mex­ico of the Chevro­let Blazer due to be launched in the next few days.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump told GM last week that the com­pany had “bet­ter” find a new ve­hi­cle to build at the plant in Ohio, which could be cru­cial to his re­elec­tion chances in 2020.

Asked about Mr. Trump’s com­ments, Ms. Barra did not di­rectly an­swer but said she un­der­stood the strong re­ac­tion in Wash­ing­ton. “I un­der­stand this is some­thing that im­pacts the coun­try and I un­der­stand that there is a lot of emo­tion and con­cern about it,” Ms. Barra said.

GM said last week it would close five North Amer­i­can as­sem­bly plants next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs as it blames slow sell­ing car sales for the need to re­struc­ture.

The CEO said GM planned to add other prod­ucts at US plants next year and that the au­tomaker would have some jobs to fill at other Ohio fa­cil­i­ties in 2019. —

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