Trump to GM: Build, or Get Off the Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
trump to gm build or get off the plant

Speaking against a very high-calibre backdrop at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, President Donald Trump turned up the heat on General Motors to do something for the Lordstown-area economy. The automaker’s now-shuttered assembly plant, which entered “unallocated” status earlier this month, had been an economic driver in northeast Ohio since its opening in 1966.

Trump’s message to GM: Do something with the plant, or sell it to someone who will. While the automaker maintains that the status of its idled plants hinges on United Auto Workers labor negotiations, it does say it’s open to Lordstown Assembly offers. It’s already had some.

As he touted the country’s economy, Trump pivoted to a regional issue.

“What’s going on with General Motors?” Trump asked the crowd. “Get that plant open, or sell it to somebody and they’ll open it. Everybody wants it. Sell it to somebody or open it yourselves. Get it going now, and the UAW will help you.”

The president then suggested that Lordstown’s mothball status could have been prevented by the UAW lowering its membership dues. He called on the union to lower its dues, then implored both GM and the UAW to start contract negotiations early. (The current contract expires in September, with bargaining talks scheduled to begin this summer.)

UAW Local 1112 President David Green, who represented Lordstown workers, said in an earlier Fox News interview that it was Trump’s own tax cuts that helped speed the plant’s closure. Naturally, Trump took to Twitter to voice his disapproval, telling Green to “get his act together and produce.”

As Automotive News reports, GM has picked up the phone about a possible Lordstown sale more than once.

Company spokesman James Cain said, in response to Trump’s tank plant speech, “We have received inquiries from interested parties related to the Lordstown complex and the Chevrolet Cruze. We will consider any that are viable business opportunities.”

This echoes statements made by GM spokesman Dan Flores to Detroit and Lordstown newspapers following reports, earlier this week, that a Cleveland businessman offered GM a deal to purchase over a hundred thousand Cruzes to supply his proposed ride-hailing company. Cain’s comment suggests someone else had an interest in the plant, too.

Still, whether or not GM keeps Lordstown (as well as Detroit-Hamtramck) or decides to sell depends on UAW bargaining which, as of this writing, is still on track to start in mid-summer.

[Image: General Motors]

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4 of 17 comments
  • 0Gravity 0Gravity on Mar 21, 2019

    China is a cheat but the Trump trade war has been a ham-fisted mess led by a figurehead in Trump who is deeply ignorant and has no interest in putting in the hard work and time to learn anything. GM announced back in 2018 that Trump’s tariffs have cost the company $1 billion, and that while they are not directly responsible for the layoffs, they are among the “headwinds,” as Barra put it.

    • James Charles James Charles on Mar 21, 2019

      0Gravity, Trump tends to complicate issues and let othees resolve the mess he makes, then hentries to take credit for others effort. I totally agree China needs to be reined in, so did the EU and most every country on the planet. Trump's method of putting friends and Allies off side by declaring them securitynrisks to the US has made the job of dealing with China so much more difficult. Even the North Korean issue has been made harder as the Chinese are guiding the North Koreans. Trump is a terrible negotiator as the North Korean and Chinese trade deal is linked politically.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Mar 21, 2019

    So Trump is blaming the union dues paid by members for the business decisions made by GM? Time to get some bumper stickers printed up. POTTED PLANT 2020: IT COULDN'T BE ANY DUMBER.

    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Mar 23, 2019

      Straw-man fail. You must be used to conversing with singularly insipid folks.

  • El scotto Another year the Nissan Rogue is safe.
  • John R 4,140 lbs...oof. A quick google of two cars I'm familiar with:2017 Ford Fusion Sport - AWD, twin-turbo 2.7 V6 (325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque)3,681 lbs2006 Dodge Charger RT - RWD, naturally aspirated 5.7 V8 (340 horsepower and 390 lb. -ft. of torque)4,031 lbs
  • FreedMike Ford "Powershudder" DCT? Hard pass...with extreme prejudice. The only people who liked these were the class-action lawyers. With a manual, it'd be a different story.
  • Cprescott I blow on a pinwheel....
  • Jkross22 Looks good in and out, but pricing is nonsensical. Anyone spending in the low to upper 40s and wanting something like this would be better off in a Stelvio and anyone wanting a small, fun SUV would be better off in a Q3, X1 or even X3. All hover around that price.Dodge is getting high off its own supply.