General Motors, Detroit, Michigan, USA, is expected to cut 14,000 staff from its North American workforce and put five plants up for potential closure. Around 3,300 factory jobs in the USA and 2,600 in Canada are said to be at risk, along with a total of 8,000 ‘white-collar’ office-based jobs.
The restructuring comes as GM moves to discontinue production for several of its car models and shifts focus toward autonomous and electric vehicles. In a statement to The New York Times, Mary Barra, GM CEO, commented that as cars and trucks become more complex, the company will employ more computer coders but fewer engineers for internal combustion engines. “The vehicle has become much more software-oriented,” she stated. “We still need many technical resources in the company.”
It was also speculated that GM’s layoffs may be related to ongoing tariff disputes between the USA, China and Europe, which are expected to lead to price increases for vehicle imports and exports. However, Barra stated that while the company faces challenges due to tariffs, job cuts are not directly related to them.
Factories up for closure by GM include assembly plants in Detroit, Michigan; Lordstown, Ohio; Warren, Michigan; Baltimore, Maryland; and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. The company also stated that it will stop operating two additional factories outside North America by the end of 2019.
The majority of factories affected by GM’s restructuring produce cars which will not be sold in the USA after 2019. In total, six car models are expected to be discontinued through 2019, with nine car models remaining across its four brands.