Trump threatens to cut GM's electric car subsidies because of plant closures

039;You better get back in there soon’ Trump vows to get tough with General Motors over plant closures

A site of the former General Motors Mansfield Ontario Metal Center is seen in Ontario Ohio

"Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland", Trump said in a Twitter post.

GM's shares fell more than two percent in response to the attacks, as CNBC reported.

Trump was particularly frustrated with the prospects of a possible closure of a GM plant in OH, according to a transcript of the interview.

The automaker said it was ending Chevrolet Volt production because the vehicle was meant to be a bridge to fully electric cars when it was introduced about a decade ago.

In a press briefing Tuesday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted that, although GM's massive layoffs are "brutal", the job losses won't affect the economy more broadly. He continued, "We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies", including for electric cars. He did not specify how much GM receives in federal subsidies.

General Motors Co said on Monday it will cut production of slow-selling models and slash its North American workforce in the face of a stagnant market for traditional gas-powered sedans, shifting more investment to electric and autonomous vehicles.

A GM spokesperson was not available to comment, nor was UAW President David Green, who spearheaded a recent campaign called "Drive It Home" to try to keep production going at Lordstown.

Workers of Oshawa's General Motors auto assembly plant, listen to Jerry Dias, president of UNIFOR, the union representing the workers, at the union headquarters in Oshawa, Ont. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Ford said in April it planned to stop building almost all cars in North America, preferring to focus on SUVs and pickup trucks.

GM has been lobbying Congress, along with Tesla Inc, to lift the current cap on electric vehicles eligible for tax credits, but any action by Congress before 2019 is a long-shot, congressional aides said. The fall in new auto sales has troubled auto makers at a time when mainstays of the industry - private ownership and the internal combustion engine - are threatened by plans for shared vehicle schemes and electric cars. The UAW's large-scale contract with GM expires next year and negotiations will begin soon.

"The entire industry qualifies for this".

"The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future", GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in an official statement.

While industry-wide passenger vehicle sales were down 13.2 percent through the first nine months of the year, pick-up truck and SUV sales rose 8.3 percent. Its tax credit will start getting smaller on January 1. The cuts mark GM's first major downsizing since shedding thousands of jobs in the Great Recession. But Barra isn't paying attention to the next election.

Even with the higher spending on electric and autonomous vehicles, GM plans to reduce overall annual capital spending to $7 billion by 2020 from an average of $8.5 billion a year during the 2017-2019 period. But Bob Lutz, GM's former vice-chairman, said the company was facing "hard facts". "They are doubling down on what they perceive as the future so that they don't get left behind". The company has said tariffs on imported steel, imposed earlier this year by the Trump administration, have cost it $1 billion. "They better put something else in", he said.

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