President Trump targeted General Motors Co. for a second straight day on Sunday, criticizing Chief Executive Mary Barra in a tweet for the recent closure of an Ohio assembly factory.

Mr. Trump, who is scheduled to visit Ohio this week, posted two tweets on Sunday, following a tweet Saturday, demanding GM reopen its Lordstown, Ohio, factory. The plant ended production this month, one of several factories in North America slated for closure by GM, as the Detroit car company adjusts to slowing demand for traditional sedans.

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Mr. Trump said in a tweet Sunday evening that he spoke with Ms. Barra about the Lordstown plant. “I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING,” he said, adding that the CEO “blamed” the UAW union.

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In a statement Sunday, GM said the future of the factories will be decided during negotiations on a new four-year contract with the UAW, which are scheduled to begin this summer.

A UAW spokesman said the union continues to be focused on its members and is “leaving no stone unturned” to keep the plants open.

Mr. Trump’s renewed attacks come as the administration considers several key policy items that could affect the auto industry, including potential tariffs of up to 25% on imported cars that GM and other auto makers broadly oppose.

The president had eased pressure on GM in recent months, following a torrent of criticism in November after GM announced the closures and workforce cuts.

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Ms. Barra has said the plant closings are part of a larger restructuring that will preserve cash and sustain profits through an expected downturn in U.S. vehicle sales and accelerate investment in electric and self-driving cars.

The auto maker is trying to shift more production to more profitable sport-utility vehicles and trucks as demand for sedans, like those built in Lordstown has slumped in the U.S.

GM’s downsizing actions contrast with other car makers looking to expand their manufacturing operations in the U.S.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said last month it would spend $4.5 billion to boost its factory output in Michigan, building a new assembly plant in Detroit to make Jeeps and adding 6,500 jobs to the state.

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Toyota Motor Co. said last week it would increase its planned investment in its U.S. operations through 2021 by about one-third to nearly $13 billion to build more models and parts in the country.

President Trump praised Toyota’s plans in a tweet—“BIG NEWS for U.S. Auto Workers!”—and said the investment was evidence that a trade agreement hammered out last year between the U.S., Canada and Mexico is fixing what he described as a “broken NAFTA deal.”

Write to Mike Colias at [email protected]


https://www.thestar.com/wsj/business/2019/03/17/trump-again-criticizes-gms-plant-closure-on-twitter.html

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