Trump Races To Reopen GM Plant Ahead Of Ohio Visit

Trump said on Twitter he talked with Mary Barra, GM's chief executive, on Sunday, telling her he was "not happy" that the automaker closed the manufacturing plant in the industrial heartland of the country in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM manufactured the Chevrolet Cruze, a smaller vehicle the company says is still popular overseas but not in the U.S.

"Increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and overseas for this iconic American company, and risk less-not", the automaker warned the Trump administration in July, via a filing with the United States Department of Commerce. "Time is of the essence!" read the first GM-related tweet.

GM reaffirmed in a statement Sunday that Trump won't affect the automaker's future plans: "To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW", the company said.

A subsequent tweet expressed the President's disappointment that GM and UAW will start talks about the plant's future in September/October.

"She blamed the UAW Union - I don't care, I just want it open!" he added.

Trump's arm-twisting came in two separate tweets on Saturday and Sunday.

"Why wait, start them now!" he wrote.

"We remain open to talking with all affected stakeholders, but our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities", GM said.

He also blasted GM for letting down the US and asserted "much better" automakers are coming to the country. Likewise, his tweet conflicts with his own previous acknowledgment of GM's reason for closing Lordstown along with four other North American plants.

Trump praised Toyota for its investments in the an apparent attempt to depict GM as being less committed to its home country than the Japan automaker. Auto companies are all coming back to the U.S. So is everyone else.

GM didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.

In November, GM included Lordstown on a list of four plants in the USA and one in Canada that could be shuttered by the end of 2019 if the automaker and its unions don't come up with an agreement to allocate more work to those facilities. "We will leave no stone unturned to keep the plants open!" The company also announced it would close auto parts factories in MI and Maryland. The automaker said that it will offer buyouts to almost 14,000 workers across these five plants and mass layoffs would follow soon.

  • David Armstrong