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