General Motors to invest additional $1 bln in US

General Motors to invest additional $1 bln in US

General Motors to invest additional $1 bln in US

AFP photo

General Motors Co on Jan. 17 confirmed it will invest an additional $1 billion in its U.S. factories in 2017 and will move some parts production from Mexico to the United States that was previously handled by a supplier. 

The investments are in addition to the $2.9 billion the automaker announced last year, GM said.

GM and other automakers have been sharply criticized by Republican U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for building vehicles in Mexico that are imported into the United States. Trump will be sworn in on Jan. 20. 

GM said the $1 billion investment will create or retain 1,500 jobs. The Detroit automaker said details of individual projects will be announced throughout the year. 

“Thank you to General Motors and Walmart for starting the big jobs push back into the U.S.,” Trump tweeted, referring as well to Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s announcement that it will hire 10,000 U.S. workers in 2017 as part of a plan previously announced by the discount retailer. 

GM also said it will begin work on bringing axle production for its next generation of full-size pickup trucks, including work previously done in Mexico, to operations in Michigan, creating 450 U.S. jobs.

The part was previously built by American Axle Manufacturing Holdings Inc. American Axle did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

GM spokeswoman Joanne Krell said the automaker planned to add 7,000 new U.S. jobs over the next two to three years. Krell said the decisions being announced “had been in the works for some time” but she added “the timing was good for us to share what we are doing.” 

The 7,000 figure includes the 450 jobs on axle production, 1,500 jobs tied to the $1 billion announcement and more than 5,000 new jobs tied to engineering, GM Financial and advanced technology. 

GM in 2014 announced it was investing $5 billion in Mexico and doubling production capacity by 2018. GM said last week it had no plans to cancel Mexican investments despite Trump pressure. 

GM said it had added about 6,000 U.S. jobs, consisting of 4,000 hourly and 2,000 salaried positions, since the end of 2015 for a total American workforce of 103,000. 

Since GM’s bankruptcy restructuring in 2009, when it had 77,000 U.S. employees, it has added more than 25,000 jobs as it boosted production, acquired an auto finance company and brought information technology work in house. 

The United Auto Workers union said GM’s new investments “have emerged as a result of the 2015” contract with the union. 

On Jan. 3, Trump threatened to impose a “big border tax” on GM for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze compacts in Mexico - and he has extended that threat to German automakers like BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp over building vehicles abroad. 

Separately, Hyundai Motor Group said on Jan. 17 in South Korea that it plans to boost U.S. investment by 50 percent to $3.1 billion over five years and may build a new plant in the United States. 

Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp, which make up the Hyundai Motor Group, have not been directly criticized by Trump but they may have felt vulnerable because among major brands, they have one of the lowest ratios of cars built in the United States to cars sold.