Trump threatens to slash GM's subsidies after the automaker announces layoffs, factory closings

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut subsidies to General Motors.
  • The threat came a day after GM announced plans to halt production of cars and parts at factories in Michigan, Maryland, and Ohio.
  • “The US saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!” Trump tweeted. “We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.”
  • A tax credit to GM consumers who buy electric cars was already set to be slashed in 2019.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut subsidies to General Motors over the automaker’s plans for layoffs and factory shutdowns.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The US saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.”

GM on Monday announced that the company planned to stop producing vehicles at three factories – one apiece in Michigan, Ohio, and the Canadian province of Ontario – and lay off as many as 15,000 workers by the end of 2019. Additionally, the company plans to shutter engine factories in Maryland and Michigan. The automaker said the changes were necessary to adjust to changes in the industry.

The company’s announcement was blasted by Trump and lawmakers of both parties. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Trump seemed to threaten the company if a new plant in Ohio was not opened shortly.

“They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” Trump said


Read more:
Trump attacks GM, says they ‘better damn well open a new plant’ in Ohio after the automaker announces layoffs and factory shutdowns»

As part of its announcement, GM cited a shift toward electric cars. GM customers currently receive a $US7,500 tax credit when purchasing a fully-electric vehicle from the company, but that credit shrinks to $US3,750 once a automaker has manufactured more than 200,000 electric cars. GM will pass that threshold in 2018, meaning consumers will already get a smaller credit starting in 2019.

It wasn’t immediately clear to what tax credits Trump was referring.

Trump’s comments came shortly after Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, suggested that the White House could make changes to incentives to prevent layoffs and factory shutdowns by the automaker.

“There is disappointment that they would rather build cars in China rather than the United States,” Kudlow told reporters at a White House press briefing on Tuesday. “We are going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others, whether they should apply. … I can’t say anything final, but we are looking into it.”

Trump also blasted GM’s decision to build factories in non-US countries in his Twitter tirade on Tuesday.

“General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!” Trump said.

Following Trump’s tweet, shares of GM fell to their lowest point of the day, trading down roughly $US1 per share, or 2.6%, as of 2:25 p.m. ET.

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